(Editor's note: The Baltimore Ravens will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., facing their hated divisional rival for the third time this season. The winner advances to the AFC championship game and a shot at the Super Bowl. But that's not the only thing that Ravens fans are thinking about.
There's the little matter of the rivalry. Ron Cassie, the editor of our sister site Dundalk Patch, culled the Internet and came up with his favorite reasons for football fans everywhere – okay, mostly in Baltimore, Cincinnati and Cleveland – for hating the Pittsburgh Steelers.)
1. Steely McBeam: As one blogger put it, the mascot looks like the deranged offspring of Bill Cowher and Marge Simpson. Two years ago, one of the men who hired to play the mascot was arrested on charges of D.U.I. He had a blood alcohol level of .166 after running a red light. Then McBeam, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, complained the ground wasn’t level after failing the walk-and-turn test three times. Just like a Steeler to make excuses.
Oh, and McBeam was apparently unable to verify his correct address. Heinz Field, right McBeam?
2. Ben Roethlisberger: “Big Ben,” of course, often seems to have the brains of a mascot off the field. Several summers ago, the Pittsburgh quarterback hit a car with his motorcycle, which he was operating without a valid Pennsylvania motorcycle license—or helmet. Of course, that behavior just hurt Roethlisberger.
The quarterback was suspended for six games at the start of 2010 season by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after being accused of sexual assault by a 20-year-old college student.
3. Steroids: All those Super Bowl rings in the 1970s? Remember those Steeler linemen with the tight, short sleeves and huge guns. Hmmm. Among others, Steeler center Mike Webster admitted using steroids. So did tackle Steve Furness and guard Steve Courson.
Jim Haslett, then coach of the New Orleans Saints, admitted to experimenting with steroids as a Buffalo linebacker, and has said the use of those drugs among NFL players started with the Steelers.
4. Terrible Towel: Created in 1975 prior to a playoff game against the Baltimore Colts at behest of the Steelers’ flagship radio executives looking for a gimmick to increase sales. According to the story, Steelers’ announcer Myron Cope went along with the ploy after first protesting against a “gimmick,” to create fan interest. Cope was promised a bonus—if he came up with something that took hold. The rest is misery, as they say.
5. Terry Bradshaw: Overrated quarterback bouyed by some of the best defensive squads ever and a great running attack. Career passer rating: 70.9. Career completion percentage: 51.9 percent. Threw two more career touchdown passes than interceptions. Embarrassing singing and acting career, not to mention broadcast work—wash out anything accomplished on the gridiron.
4. Six-Purgh: Soooo clever. Pittsburgh has won six championships. Got it. Baltimore has four—the 1958, 1959 and 1970 Colts, and the 2000 Ravens. Remember, the Steelers’ won one Super Bowl because Cowboys’ tight end Jackie Smith dropped a wide-open touchdown pass in the end zone. And in another, they squeaked past the Arizona Cardinals. Pittsburgh, which started playing in 1933, also has about 25 more football seasons under its belt, including the years after the NFL allowed Bob Irsay to steal the Colts.
7. Steeler bars in Maryland: If Pittsburgh’s so great, why do Steelers fans keep moving to Maryland? Pittsburgh’s population has fallen from a peak of about 675,000 to a little over 300,000. I’ve been to Pittsburgh and there aren’t any Baltimore sports bars there. Who wants to live in an abandoned town in the Midwest? Meanwhile, so many Steelers fans have moved to Baltimore, they’ve got their own sports bar at the Purple Goose (Oh, the irony in that name), and 19 in Maryland overall, according to www.steelerbars.com.
8. Hines Ward: The Steelers’ wide receiver was voted the dirtiest player in the NFL in a 2009 poll of 296 players. Ward received 11.9 percent of the vote, nearly double that of his closest peers, Albert Haynesworth and Joey Porter (a former Steeler), who garnered 6 percent each. No Ravens made the Top 10, but Polamalu (Reason No. 9 to Hate the Pittsburgh Steelers) came in at, that's right, No. 9.
9. Troy Polamalu: The Pittsburgh strong safety is a great player and seems like a nice guy off the field. Fine. But his Head & Shoulders shampoo T.V. ads are beyond stupid— worse than even Ray Lewis’ Old Spice commercial. C’mon, a football player whose hair is insured with Lloyd’s of London?
10. Yinzers: Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh is also a battle of two of the most peculiar dialects in the U.S. We’re Bawlmer, right? We’re the ‘hon'-belt. Original Charm City. In Pittsburgh, they don't say “you guys," they say, "yinz." Local blue collar fans are known as "yinzers." For real. They pronounce their all vowels flat, like “dahn-tahn, for “downtown,” as one Cincinnati Bengal blogger explained it perfectly. And Pittsburghers say "pop" instead of soda. Not soda pop, just "pop" –which proves they don’t know if they belong in Pennsylvania (eastern state) or Ohio (midwestern state).
Just listening to former Pittsburgh head coach Bill Cowher and University of Pittsburgh graduate Dan Marino every weekend should be enough to make any self-respecting Baltimore Ravens fan sick.
But good luck on Saturday.