How did you become a Steelers fan?
The first ever NFL game that I remember watching was Super Bowl XLV in 2011. Rather unusually, despite the Packers winning their fourth Lombardi trophy that day it was the Steelers that I had an instant attraction to. The likes of Troy Polamalu, Big Ben, Hines Ward and Heath Miller drew me in to a sport that I new nothing about, which later became a huge part of my life.
Which Ravens player do you think Steelers fans dislike most? And which one would they most like on their team?
Terrell Suggs automatically springs to mind as the Bane to Pittsburgh’s Batman. His constant battles with Big Ben over the last 14 years have been an ever-present of the fixture, with his equally fiery off-field antics a continuous thorn in the side of the Steeler Nation. Despite this, as Big Ben stated this week, the rivalry seems to be built as much on respect as hatred, something which seems to distinguish itself from the Steelers “rivalry” with the Bengals.
When it comes to which member of the Ravens roster Steelers fans would love to have in black and gold, it’s hard to overlook Marshal Yanda. Even with his season ending injury against the Browns, he is without question the best guard in the NFL and a future Hall of Famer.
Which games between our teams stand out most in your mind?
As a Steelers fan the games which stand out most are obviously the games that we won. Last year’s victory on Christmas Day was a special result, securing the AFC North and eliminating the Ravens from playoff contention.
The two playoff games that stand out most are the AFC Divisional Playoff game in 2011, alongside the AFC Championship Game in 2009.
How has your season been since we last played?
A record of 10 and 2 going into week 14, what’s not to love? Well, a lot if you follow Steelers Twitter. Despite the positive results the offence hasn’t always clicked, with the Steelers only scoring 30+ points twice all season. Likewise, the Steelers continue to play down to their opposition, somethings that has riled Yinzers since the dawn of mankind. Despite this, with Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell spearheading the offence it’s hard to complain too much.
The defence has dramatically improved from last year with Cam Heyward and Ryan Shazier having Pro Bowl-worthy seasons. The secondary has also benefited from the addition of Joe Haden; rookie T J Watt is living up to his surname, and the emergence of slot corner Mike Hilton is something no Steelers fan expected heading into 2017.
What are you expecting from Sunday’s game?
I’m expecting a much closer game than the 26–9 result from October. With the absence of Joe Haden and Ryan Shazier through injury and JuJu Smith-Schuster serving a one-game ban it could be another one score game. Not to be too pessimistic, I’m still going for a Steelers win (27-21) with Antonio Brown continuing to prove why he’s the best wide receiver in the NFL.
It would be disrespectful not to mention Ryan Shazier after his horrible injury against the Bengals. I’m not a man for praying but all my thoughts go out to him and his family throughout this process. Some things are more important than the game of football and this is one of them.
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Top photo: Heinz Field by Elyse.
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