Raiders-Steelers: Rivalry Is All But Dead

Al's WingmanAnalyst IDecember 3, 2009

Considering the history of the NFL, there are few rivalries as nasty as the Steelers vs. Raiders. In the distant past, such matches were blood feuds with playoff implications.


Rules of the game were different than they are today. For example, there is no way the Immaculate Deception would have occurred in today’s instant-replay environment.


Another example was George Atkinson’s forearm blow to the head of Lynn Swann.  In today’s league, Atkinson would be suspended and fined. Instead, he filed a lawsuit for defamation of character after Chuck Noll made a “criminal element” comment to reporters. In true Al Davis fashion, Atkinson played the loyal lapdog and managed to drag everyone though endless days in court, wasting everyone’s time.


If you ever heard him as a commentator for preseason games, then you know George Atkinson is still a waste of time, but that’s another story.


In the 70’s, Steelers vs. Raiders was as ugly as a football game could get. Some say it was more violent than the Cowboys vs. Steelers. But gone are the days where anything resembling a rivalry exists between the Steelers and the Raiders.


As for this Sunday's game, Steelers fans hope that Big Ben does not throw four interceptions, as he did in a 2006 game against the Raiders and that their team gets back on track and hit the playoffs in good form, without a letdown game.


After all, the Raiders have beaten two good teams thus far this season, so it’s not safe to look past them. 


Meanwhile, not a peep of any kind of enthusiasm from Raider Nation exists in this supposed rivalry game. Raiders fans are hoping for the unexpected, like a few touchdowns for a change.


Anything is possible, but the Raiders have backed themselves into a corner with so much inconsistency. The Steelers meanwhile, pretty much know what they are doing and it’s just a matter of getting it done. 


We expected the Bengals to be the same caliber team as the Steelers this season and look what happened there; the Raiders overachieved and came away with a win. Would that have happened on the road in Cincinnati? Who knows. 


The Steelers usually play very well at home so it will be a battle for Oakland all game unless Big Ben does the un-thinkable and hands the Raiders the game, as he did last time.


This game has all the makings of a good day for Steelers fans to remain upbeat. We’ll find out if the Raiders have any fight left in them to spoil that. And who knows, maybe such a defeat would rekindle the lost rivalry.