Why Pittsburgh Steelers Will Outlast Baltimore Ravens the Rest of the Way
Pittsburgh-Baltimore is one of the prime matchups in the NFL the past several seasons, and it's certainly kept its high position this season. Even though the Ravens won both regular-season meetings, the teams are tied at 9-3 atop the AFC North.
There are hundreds of reasons why the Steelers will be on top when the final regular-season gun goes off. Here are but 10 of those:
10: December Is Steeler Time
It's not just the time of year for online shopping and trimming of trees. It's the time where you take your earlier momentum and push it into high gear and fight through the aches, pains and injuries to the playoffs.
Big teams love big games at big times. When the weather turns to football, meaning so cold your breath blocks your vision and each hit stings extra—meaning they have to come out with shovels during timeouts to clear off yard lines, when it's just way too cold for plants to grow—Steelers blossom.
The threat of the NFL office cracking down on their aggressive play hasn’t hurt the Steel Curtain. Bodies are still flying, just not helmet first. The Steelers were able to adjust to the new tone of things.
Really, the only thing that has hurt is injuries. And the fact remains that whatever else you do, you don't want to make James Harrison angry!
8: Quoth the Raven
When is the last time you were ever frightened by anything Edgar Allan Poe wrote?
7: Big Ben
Big Ben (thank heaven for nicknames—his last name is just too hard to type) stands eighth in QB rating as of this week. That's for those of you who have math degrees from Cal Tech and understand the QB rating.
For those who appreciate QB play, Ben is as daring and bold as anybody just beginning his career in Denver, although with a lot more success to show for it. Joe Flacco, meanwhile, continues to frustrate everybody who keeps waiting for his breakout season.
Oh, and just to prove I can do it...Roethlisberger!
6: The Fans
You're either a part of Steeler Nation, or you just don't get it.
5: The Hair
The only thing the hair hasn't done is protect No. 43 from a couple of nasty head dings this season. Troy Polamalu may not be the force he was five years ago, and he's surely closer to the end of a Hall of Fame career than to the beginning, but he's still a force.
Every time tight end Heath Miller catches a pass, home or away, the cry goes up from loyalists. The best NFL fan cry since the days of the Moose.
3: The Coach
During Super Bowl media day last February, I asked Chris Keoamatu how cool head coach Mike Tomlin is.
"So much swagger."
Three words say it all.
2: The Uniform
Home or away, no garish colors, nothing that came off somebody's idea of hot or sexy. Basic black and white, with a hint of yellow. Work clothes. Worth at least a field goal, just as the Yankees pinstripes are worth a run, and the Celtics green is worth two rebounds.
When you're the visitors, and you look across the field during warmups and you see those "lack of colors"...you know you're in for a long day.
Tevye sang about it in Fiddler on the Roof. Tradition! It constantly reminds us of who we are.
In Pittsburgh, it's towels, trophies and winning. Pittsburgh rookies are taught, early on, that they are not just football players—they're Steelers. And there is a difference.
All of the above, and more, is why when the artificial dust settles, the Steelers will take care of business once again.