The Ravens and Steelers keep finding new ways to animate their rivalry. Yesterday, it was the Ravens’ Terrell Suggs wearing a t-shirt with “Hey Pittsburgh” at the top and a giant purple hand flipping the bird. (You can see a picture here.)
“When we go down there, they always hit us with the No. 1s,” Suggs said Wednesday. “I don’t know how they [Ravens fans] act here because I’ll be in the locker room by the time all the fans get here. I’m pretty sure we be hitting them with the No. 1s. It’s whatever, man, it’s whatever. We’re just going to go play a football game.”
This is pretty silly. And kind of cool. It has seemed particularly clear this year that the Ravens and Steelers don’t really hate each other. They love the idea of hating each other. That’s how we get stuff like this, or John Harbaugh saying he was glad the Ravens broke Ben Roethlisberger’s nose, while expressing respect to Roethlisberger for playing through it. Or Suggs defending James Harrison against the NFL’s arbitrary fines. Or this from Roethlisberger:
“I hate playing these guys because they are so good, especially on defense,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday. “As a competitor, I like playing against them because they are the best.”
When these two teams are on the field, I’m sure they don’t like each other much. But deep down, members of both teams sound like they know it’s good for their team that the other exists.