Much has been said about the Steelers and the Ravens. Known as two physical, bone-breaking teams, the Steelers/Ravens playoff game this weekend is widely expected to be THE one to watch.
Will Ben get his nose broken? Will James Harrison flatten Flacco? Will Ray Lewis stab someone and stuff their body in his trunk? We don’t know. But we can all bet that shit is going to get broke. This is, after all, one of the best rivalries in the NFL.
There are those who say that this rivalry stretches back to 1995, when Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Maryland. The Browns and Steelers had a storied past, and it was assumed that past helped to ignite the fierce and violent match-ups that have followed the Ravens and Steelers ever since.
This is wrong. To get to the real reason that the Steelers and the Ravens can’t stand each other, you have to go back. WAY back. To the mid 1730’s to be precise.
Perhaps you are familiar with the name Penn? William Penn? Founder of Pennsylvania? Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t name the commonwealth of Pennsylvania after himself, but rather after his recently deceased father. Because that is how Pennsylvanian’s are. Quiet. Unassuming. Not prone to displays of fancy. (Sidenote: Penn was also a Quaker, and part of that lasting legacy is we had to wait to until fairly recently to be able to buy beer and liquor on Sundays, and we still can’t walk into a 7/11 and buy a 40, so, there’s that.)
Compare this to a certain Lord Baltimore. Sound familiar? As in BALTIMORE, MARYLAND? A town named after the long line of Calvert men, Lord’s of Baltimore, founders of Maryland, and general assholes.
A land dispute erupted between Lord Baltimore and William Penn. A border that had been laid out by the King of England came into contention when Baltimore claimed to own the land that included Philadelphia. AS IF.
Violence actually broke out, in a conflict that came to be known as Cresap’s War. I am not sure who started it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was a long lost relative of Terrell Suggs.
In order to resolve this border issue, Penn’s sons and the latest Lord Baltimore decided to play football. Ha ha. Just kidding. They brought in two Englishman, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, to resolve the land dispute. The two established the Mason-Dixon Line, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Pennsylvania went on to abolish slavery, produce Ben Franklin, and be the Cradle of Liberty, while Maryland went on to … not do much. Although Edgar Allen Poe did work there, and is buried there, and lends the name of one of his most famous poems to the Baltimore Ravens, an honor I am sure would just have Mr. Poe spinning in his grave. In a desperate attempt to burrow his way to PA.
So this weekend, when we gear up to play some smash-mouth football, and some ESPN talking head tries to tell you that this rivalry stretches back to 1995, you can just nod your head and look superior. Because you know the REAL story.
That’s right, Baltimore bitches. We owned your asses 281 years ago, and we will own them again this weekend. And once we kick the Ravens back over the Mason-Dixon Line where they belong? We will take on New York or New England. And I bet with some time and Wikipedia, I can find something that we kicked THEIR asses with a couple of hundred years ago.
Till then, GO STEELERS!!