The End Of A Classic Ravens, Steelers Rivalry

January 7, 2022

This coming Sunday, the Ben Roethlisberger era comes to a close. Ben is closing the final chapter of his storied career in the place where it started. M&T Bank Stadium. That fateful day in 2004. September 19, 2004, to be exact. The Baltimore Ravens had injured starter Tommy Maddox, which resulted in the debut of rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry has been a classic for the better part of 20 years. Ben Roethlisberger has played an integral part in the rivalry. Ben has a career record of 16-10 versus the Baltimore Ravens. Roethlisberger was involved in some infamous moments of the storied rivalry over the years. Haloti Ngata famously broke his nose during a sack. The countless returns from injury to play his heart out.

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Big Ben has been a constant thorn in the side of the Baltimore Ravens. Ben has had the uncanny ability to avoid sacks. He has taken ruthless beatings at the hands of some vaunted Ravens defenses and still stood tall. The fact that he withstood a hit from Bart Scott, who had a clear path, is incredible. Ben may be many things, but tough is the first word that comes to mind.

Big Ben Versus Ray Lewis and Co.

The rivalry has featured several Hall of Fame players. Ben played alongside Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Casey Hampton, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu, to name a few. On the Ravens sideline, Ben has faced the likes of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, and Bart Scott. These players and countless others have created lasting memories for generations to come.

Ben Roethlisberger’s impending retirement signals the end of the classic rivalry. Number 7 will be taking his final snaps as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the end of his career, the rivalry ceases. Ben is the glue to the rivalry. Big Ben is the last of the old guard in terms of the rivalry. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens will forever be synonymous.

Present-day NFL and player friendships have killed the rivalry. Pittsburgh has more TikTok stars than football stars. The Baltimore Ravens lack the aggression and willful hate towards Pittsburgh. Players like Ryan Clark and Willis McGahee made this rivalry work. They weren’t friends. You would never see LeRon McClain being buddy-buddy with LaMarr Woodley.

Enemies to the Bitter End

Players on both sidelines had mutual respect. There was no love lost between the storied franchises. Players such as Ryan Clark and Willis McGahee defined the rivalry. The sheer animosity and ill will were astounding. The lack of care for their bodies, let alone the opposing player’s bodies were poetically animalistic.

Ben Roethlisberger riding off into the sunset marks the end of the historic rivalry. Perhaps the greatest modern football rivalry in NFL. This Sunday, Big Ben starts the clock to Canton in the place where it all began. Charm City. It’s only fitting that Terrell Suggs will be honored as the Ravens Legend of the Game on the same day Big Ben steps on an NFL field for the very last time.

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