While the general sentiment regarding the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup in Week 7 was that the rivalry had lost some of its luster, it was clear after the game that the rivalry (though in a new phase) is just as strong as ever.
When the Ravens take on the Steelers, it’s usually one of the most interesting and widely anticipated games of the NFL season. Both teams are usually some of the better ones in the AFC, and the veteran locker rooms legitimately dislike each other. There were, however, some key differences in Week 7.
Many of the characters who played such a huge role in the rivalry (e.g. Ray Lewis, James Harrison, Ed Reed and Hines Ward) are no longer involved. In addition, both teams entered the game struggling to find their identities and without winning records (combined record of 4-7 before the game).
After the dust had settled, it was clear that the rivalry is still alive and kicking.
For one, it was a close game that came down to the wire—something we have come to expect from these grudge matches.
It ended with a game-winning field goal as the clock ran out, and a fourth-quarter rally by the Ravens came up short.
The game may not have been filled with the huge plays and physicality that both teams are famous for, but the reactions of the players afterwards told the whole story.
Terrell Suggs was “disgusted” with the loss, and declared a state of emergency in Ravens Nation, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun.
Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network shared Arthur Jones’ reaction to the loss, and how it stings so much more when it comes at the hands of their biggest rival.
Kinkhabwala also shared William Gay’s answer to a question about whether the rivalry is dead.
There may be many new faces on both rosters, but that just means new players will get the chance to participate in one of the league’s best rivalries.
Players may come and go, but one thing will always stay the same: When the Ravens and Steelers play each other, it will be a battle that goes down to the wire and means more than the usual game.