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|11-06-2011, 08:54 AM||#1|
A Son of Martha
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Mesa, Arizona
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On the Steelers: Any wonder Baltimore hates us?
On the Steelers: Any wonder Baltimore hates us?
Sunday, November 06, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The 1971 and '79 World Series victories and the 2008 AFC championship all denied Baltimore its own celebrations.
Even if the Baltimore Ravens beat the Steelers at Heinz Field tonight, they will have one more hump to conquer, and that would have to wait until the postseason. Because when it comes to the postseason, Pittsburgh is Baltimore's daddy.
Pittsburgh's major pro sports teams are 7-0 against Baltimore's through the years. That includes the Steelers' 3-0 record against the Ravens and their 2-0 record against the old Baltimore Colts. Add the Pirates' two World Series victories over the Orioles, and it's a clean sweep.
If anyone in Baltimore cares to claim the Washington Capitals as their home NHL team, the Penguins are 7-1 against them in the postseason.
The one time Baltimore was able to truly derail Pittsburgh came in 1976 in Baltimore. It was a strange day. The Steelers easily beat the Colts, 40-14. Seconds after the game ended, a man buzzed the playing field in a single-engine plane and then crashed it into the upper deck of old Memorial Stadium.
Maybe it was an omen for the Steelers because they came out of that game with injuries that would send their chances of winning a third consecutive Super Bowl into a nose-dive. Their three top running backs -- Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier and Frenchy Fuqua -- were injured in that game and did not play in the AFC championship game at Oakland the following week. (I remember that game. It was a heart breaker because both Rocky and Franco were over 1000 yards that year we were on track to win our third super bowl in a row. - mesa)
The Steelers' makeshift, one-back attack failed and the Raiders won, 24-7, going on to win the Super Bowl. (It wasn't just a one back attack it was a three tight end offense which didn't work. - mesa)
So, indirectly, Baltimore did have a hand in keeping the Steelers from becoming the only team to win three Super Bowls in a row.
The modern Baltimore football team has found nothing but frustration trying to go through Pittsburgh to reach its second Super Bowl. The Ravens lost in the playoffs last season in Heinz Field, 31-24, after they blew a 21-7 halftime lead. In 2008, the Steelers beat Baltimore in the AFC championship at Heinz Field, 23-14. And in 2001, the Steelers beat Baltimore in the playoffs at Heinz Field, 27-10, denying the Ravens a chance to win a second consecutive Super Bowl.
Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs suggested that seeing the Steelers celebrate some of those victories may have prompted the Ravens' over-the-top reaction to their 35-7 victory in this season's opener.
"We remember how they partied after they won the AFC championship twice," Suggs said, forgetting that last year's playoff game preceded the actual championship game. "In 2008, we remember seeing them party. And last year after they beat us, we remember seeing them party. We don't really care. We were just really excited that we got our first win of the season against a rival. If you win the game, I guess you get to celebrate how you want to."
Grass is always greener ... and safer
Dan and Art Rooney have long maintained they prefer grass at Heinz Field instead of artificial turf because they believed it to be safer for players. They did this even though the condition of the grass field has been ridiculed on occasion. It reached a crescendo during the "Four Rivers Stadium" game played in the muck in 2007, a 3-0 Steelers victory over Miami, a game whose lasting memory was a shot of the nose of the football stuck in the mud after a punt.
Turns out, the Rooneys were right to resist installing artificial turf, at least as it pertains to player safety. A new, exhaustive 10-year study of injuries throughout the NFL will be released soon and will show that most severe injuries to the knee and ankle occur on artificial turf.
The study also will be used to try to educate players around the league as to the proper shoes to wear when they do play on artificial turf. While the colors must be correct, players have free choice as to the kind of shoes they wear. Many still insist on wearing spikes designed for grass on artificial turf rather than the plastic nubs designed for the fake surfaces, and that, the study will show, can lead to more injuries.
Heinz Field is 100 percent grass after the DDGrassmaster weave originally installed was ditched a few years ago. The entire field will be re-sodded after the high school championship games played there after Thanksgiving.
Odds and ends for Week 9
• Three cream puffs on the schedule have turned into some of their most difficult opponents, all on the road -- at Cincinnati (5-2), at Kansas City (4-3) and at San Francisco (6-1). Remember that the next time those strength of schedule analyses pop up. The Steelers' schedule was supposed to be soft this season and particularly so after they finish up with the Ravens.
• The Steelers will wear those ugly throwback uniforms and garish yellow helmets today. They no longer can wear anything pink even if pink uniforms would look better on the Steelers than their throwbacks. At least they're not as bad as some other NFL throwbacks, like the Green Bay and the old New York Titans unis. Someday, maybe someone will look back at some of the current NFL uniforms and consider them just as ugly. But then there are many who should make their throwbacks permanent, such as the San Diego Chargers.
• Turn on any sports talk radio show these days and you cannot hear a discouraging word about one of the favorite punching bags on the Steelers, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Most Steelers coordinators were never popular among the fans. Tom Moore left after criticism that his offenses in the 1980s were too stodgy and wound up being pretty creative on offense in Indianapolis with Peyton Manning. Go ask Joe Walton at Robert Morris about offensive coordinator critics in Pittsburgh.
Arians believes his own offense has been hitting its stride over the past four weeks and that it can morph into different identities and is not pegged to a certain philosophy.
"I think we've been able to do that for the last month," Arians said. "There are certain games we had a running game going good and we stuck with it. No matter which way you decide to go, you have to hit third down; our goal is to hit 50 percent."
Ed Bouchette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11310...#ixzz1cw9IuyZM
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