Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, though monitoring the situation of their own team, still enjoy predicting who will make it to the Super Bowl. Football is football. When the Baltimore Ravens stole a victory away from the Denver Broncos on Saturday, Steelers fans understood the agonizing heartbreak that both the Broncos team and their fans felt. With Pittsburgh facing the Ravens at least twice per season in the NFL, that pain is all to real. This year it hurt a little more, with the Steelers not able to pull off wins against their biggest rival in the AFC North.
"I was upset that we lost to Denver at the beginning of the season," said Jimmy Marshall. "I understand how they felt having to watch a game they had pretty much put away get stolen from them by the Ravens."
Denver was the favorite, expected to coast through to victory. Then Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco made a desperation throw of 70 yards to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left in regulation. Forcing overtime, the Ravens took advantage of a pass thrown across his body by Peyton Manning, jumping a route and intercepting the ball. The 47-yard field goal was successfully placed between the uprights by Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker. That field goal ended sudden-death play and the Ravens walked away from the freezing conditions into a warm locker room where they extended Ray Lewis' career by at least one more game.
"Our team is so confident and everything went against us," Lewis said, "but we found a way to come here together and we're leaving together. It's just awesome."
"I just about threw up when I saw Ray Lewis with his head on the Denver turf after the game," said Max Browning. "No one in Pittsburgh has any love for Lewis. He has been a menace to society and every time Pittsburgh plays the Ravens, I wish he'd catch the flu because he ticks me off."
It isn't that Steelers fans are just bitter about the their team not faring well this season. Steelers fans are just never going to give up that rivalry feeling about the Ravens. And Denver fans aren't showing Baltimore too much love Sunday either.
"It was a great game, hard fought in your face football," said Cam Cortez, a long-time Denver fan who still keeps his John Elway jersey in a frame in his 'man cave'. Cortez completely remodeled his house last winter to create a Broncos room where he can host watch parties of every game the team plays. "Yeah, we didn't come through, but I can see why Pittsburgh fans hate seeing those guys twice a year. The game was a pretty clean one and I didn't really see any really bad calls. It was tough luck. But I am not going to tell you what was being screamed in that room amongst my friends. It wasn't something you should print."
Justin Craig lives in a divided house near Aurora, Colorado. He is a Broncos fan; his wife loves the Steelers. Both of them were putting money on the game with his brother-in-law who lives in Maryland. Justin's wife, Kathie, was seething with revenge. She wanted the "rat birds" to go down in flames, purely because Baltimore had beaten the Steelers. Justin felt that the odds were in their favor and his Maryland brother-in-law was so arrogant about the Ravens, he didn't want to hear any more about how Terrell Suggs was going to pick apart Peyton Manning. Thousands of miles apart, the family members were glued to their television sets. "I knew that my sister had no interest in the game," said Katie Craig. "Her husband is the one who is always so cocky about the Ravens. I told my husband that, for once, I would cheer for the Broncos." When the game was over, they got a call. After looking at the caller-ID, they knew what was coming. So, they simply didn't answer the phone. In fact, they took it off the hook and monitored their cell phones. "We'll eventually call him back," Craig said, "but right now, my husband will go absolutely crazy if he has to listen to 'I told you so'. I told him to just even it up through the mail and then I told him 'see, that is what I have to deal with every season'. I think my husband finally got it."
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