One of the hardest things for me in life is dating a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. There is this awkward balance between wanting my boyfriend to be happy versus wanting the Steelers to get slaughtered every single week of the NFL season. I am from Baltimore, I have grown up a Ravens fan once they came to Baltimore two years after I was born. I have family members who own season tickets, so when I told them I was dating a Steelers fan, I received a little apprehension and I was a little concerned myself.
Let me help you further understand the life of a die-hard Ravens fan and what that means. Being a Ravens fan means participating in Purple Friday every single Friday during football season by either wearing my Flacco jersey or some type of purple attire. Yes, Purple Friday is a real thing. It means watching every single game decked out in as much Ravens gear as possible. It means not washing your jersey during the playoffs. For my family, it means eating purple (black raspberry) ice cream after a win, stuffing your face with Ravens themed pretzels because they do well when you eat them, and ringing a purple cow bell when we score a touchdown. When we watch the games at my aunt and uncle’s house as an entire family, a fellow Ravens fan will call the house phone yell and scream as we respond in the same way and hang up until the next scoring play happens. Those things may be unique to my family but one thing Ravens fans have in common is showing an immense amount of pride for their team.
Another commonality of Ravens fans is their hatred for the Steelers. Growing up I was taught to never cheer for the Steelers no matter what because they are our biggest division rival. I will never touch a terrible towel or ever willingly put any Steelers gear on my person. The rivalry is considered one of the most intense rivalries in all of sports and even has a Wikipedia page dedicated to it.
The overall record between the two teams is 24-18 in advantage of the Steelers despite the Ravens having the 7-5 advantage from 2010-2014. Seventeen out of the total 42 games (40 percent) have been determined by 3 points or less. During the playoffs, the Ravens have a 1-3 record against the “Squeelers,” as some Ravens fans like to call them. The Steelers hold six Lombardi trophies (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005, 2008) while the Ravens have won the Super Bowl only twice (2000, 2012). Ravens fans like to point out that from 1996, when the Ravens first came to Baltimore, the teams have the same amount of championships.
The rivalry isn’t just among the fans but also between the teams on the field. Famous altercations have occurred between former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, and Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who both openly agree they hate each other. Also Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was fined $20,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Hines Ward aka “Hiney Wart” in a game on Nov. 6, 2011 that the Ravens won 23-20.
Ward has been quoted as saying, “The coaches hate each other, the players hate each other... There's no calling each other after the game and inviting each other out to dinner. But the feeling's mutual: They don't like us, and we don't like them. There's no need to hide it, they know it, and we know it. It's going to be one of those black and blue games.”
Another moment out of the countless moments in this rivalry was when Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin, stepped on the playing field during kick return from former Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones, that possibly would have resulted in a kick return touchdown. That game took place on Nov. 28, 2013 and the Ravens ended up with the 22-20 victory. Tomlin was later fined $10,000 for the incident.
Both teams openly admit they strongly dislike each other and there have been several incidents started by both teams that have led to the hatred.
Another point of conversation between the fans is talking about both teams' off-the-field problems. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger aka “Worthlessberger” or “Roethlisbooger” has been accused of sexual assault on two different occasions but the charges were eventually dropped. Roethlisberger did serve a four-game suspension in 2010 for breaking the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Steelers fans will then not hesitate to bring up Ray Lewis’ murder trial in 2000 or the recent controversy with former Ravens running back, Ray Rice who was suspending indefinitely by the NFL after a video emerged of him punching his now wife in an elevator.
The Ravens-Steelers rivalry will continue Oct. 1, 2015, on Thursday Night Football as the teams face off for their first game of the 2015 season at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. I am looking forward to the hopefully rough, hard-fought game between the two teams that will only fuel the rivalry even more.
To rap it all up, don’t get me wrong, I have family who are Steelers fans and like I said, my boyfriend is a Steelers fan and we have survived three football seasons together. While getting along with them during football season isn’t easy, it is possible with some work.P.S. GO RAVENS!!!!