Every team has a distinguishable identity. The Steelers are a franchise with rich tradition, a framework established by the character and dedication of the Rooney family.
They are known for great Super Bowl era success, largely buoyed by defense and a blue-collar physicality that makes fans proud members of "Steelers Country."
Like Pittsburgh, fans in other NFL cities and across the world cherish their respective teams' personality, built on years of exciting tradition.
When two teams play each other and rival fan bases enter each others' radar, it's personal. Fans become vocal, making boastful claims and waging a war born from superiority complexes that are only natural. After all, this isn't just a team they defend: it's an identity!
Sometimes, the two sides work like David and Goliath, only the version of the story where Dave gets the exact bloody nose that everybody would expect.
However, occasionally the games are classic affairs, epic contests that make both teams more renowned for having taken part in them. Those are the games that keep the fiery coals of NFL disdain fully and truly hot.
Familiarity breeds contempt, and football makes the adage come to life. Being the most popular American sport, fans are most familiar with the historical intricacies of NFL franchises. No cluster of loyal fanatics want to be second best, and the only way to eclipse all others is simply winning.
In NFL history, some teams have crossed paths more than others. These fateful occurrences with the right mix of ingredients, such as stakes, proximity, and contrasts in style, are the laboratory from which rivalry is born!
With enough intensity and the proper circumstances, instant ire is created. This is what happens when fates collide, and every fan knows the best collisions are between teams that both know success!
As an example, the Steelers had a rivalry in the 1970's whose intensity pales by comparison today. Yet, four decades later, both sides of the fence still see the opponent far differently than they view themselves.
In Oakland, the silver and black (lower-case letters, please!) are considered to be of classic mystique and born of a commitment to excellence.
In Pittsburgh, those Raiders were and will continue to be "the criminal element," a band of misfits made to be beaten and battered.
Not every set of teams are given the opportunity for this type of intensity, their paths not crossing in a manner conducive to sheer, utter abhorrence.
Granted, they'll always hate the Bengals, Ravens and Browns. But even those rivalries have peaks and valleys with respect to their intensity. This countdown celebrates the team's greatest rivalries at the height of their emotion.
The following are the Black n' Gold's 10 most hated rivals of the Super Bowl era.