Monday, November 7, 2011
Bullets & Broomsticks
Bennett is sick today.
You ever notice how the Medical Community likes to name stuff in a very casual way? 'Pink-Eye' almost sounds fun, doesn't it?
I know because a while ago I actually got it. I hadn't had it in around 15 years. So I know it hurts, but we don't walk around calling it Conjunctivitis like we really should. Come to think of it, I guess the Medical Community really didn't call it 'Pink-Eye'.
OK, so I am not really over the whole Infantile Spasms thing yet. So sue me.
Speaking of getting over stuff, a couple of years ago, in the 2008-2009 NFL Season, the Pittsburgh Steelers made history and beat the Baltimore Ravens three times straight. They beat them two times in the regular season and then again in the playoffs, in the AFC Championship Game.
Not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES A LADY.
That stung. A lot. More than Conjunctivitis.
You might not know this tidbit of history, they also managed to set another record by beating us in three unique uniforms. They beat us in their Home Jersey, their Away Jersey, and in their Retro Jersey (the one with the throwback yellow helmets and white pants).
I'm just full of information today aren't I? Well, I'm passionate about a few things in life, and this is one of them.
The Baltimore/Pittsburgh rivalry is arguably becoming one of the best in the modern day NFL. ESPECIALLY with Peyton Manning getting a bit older and especially this year with him not even playing, the Patriots/Colts rivalry is taking a bit of a powder. With the Packers being SO great, the Packaers/Bears rivalry is also very, very cool.
Because in order for a rivalry to truly BE be a rivalry, there needs to be intense competition, and the one thing that these two teams bring to the table is COMPETITION and intensity. That's why the Browns/Steelers rivalry is kind of dead. The Steelers handle the Browns the way MOST teams handle the Browns. Easily.
But with the Ravens/Steelers, most of the games are NOT decided by that many points. Turnovers are key, defense is critical, and best of all the two teams have a genuine distaste for each other, both on and off the field.
It's fantastic sports entertainment.
On Opening Day of this season, the Ravens handed the Steelers one of the only real lopsided losses the Steelers have had in a very, very long time. I considered it a very flukey thing, one that the Steelers would probably not suffer again. And they didn't. In fact, moving forward, the Ravens are the ones that looked suspect, losing games to some really BAD teams while the Steelers looked like the Steelers ALWAYS do.
Which is why when last night's Steelers/Ravens re-match aired on Sunday night, AT Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, I was terrified to watch the thing. The Ravens had not been playing great, their O-Line was a mess, and Flacco was not the Quarterback that he was on Opening Day.
The Steelers? They just beat the Patriots. Roethlisberger just out-Brady'd Brady. Mike Tomlin, the Steelers head coach who looks like Joh Yowzah from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, out-Belichick'd Belichick.
As 8:00 PM approached, I felt a little like throwing up in my mouth.
The game was tighter than I imagined it would be. The Ravens brought their A-Game and then some. I do not know why I was expecting anything else. Oh I don't know...maybe the losses that we shouldn't have had?
But then there it was, late in the game...OH MY GOD, there was the Turnover That Changes Everything. I have come to expect this. The Steelers take the lead for the first time. My heart sinks as I realize that history always seems to repeat itself with the Ravens when they face their Nemesis.
Well, I thought to myself in resignation as the 2-minute mark approaches and we got the ball back, at least it wasn't a blowout.
Then out loud I turned to Jen and said 'See this is the thing that everyone ALWAYS talks about when it comes to The Kid. He just can't march the team down the field in two minutes for the win. That takes something...special. Brady can do it. Manning can do it. Warner. Favre. Marino. Brees. All the greats. And you KNOW Ben can do it. It takes something...extraordinary. Something you can't record or quantify. Does Flacco actually have it in him? Does he have what it takes?'
I guess he does.
Two minutes and sixteen seconds. Ninety-two yards.
I was floored. Stunned. Shocked. I think everyone in Heinz Field was too. I think Mike Tomlin was. I don't think anyone believed that they were going to do it, because they had never been able to do it before.
But they cast aside many a demon in those two minutes.
And it felt good. It felt...liberating.
It felt even better than the victory on Opening Day. Because it proved something. That first game was NOT a fluke. It was NOT an aberration. The Kid CAN do it. The team CAN do it.
And they did.
Ravens 23 - Steelers 20