For The Joe Montana-led San Francisco 49ers it was the Dallas Cowboys of the ’80s and the 49ers would turn the tables and would block the way of the Emmitt Smith-led teams of the 90’s
In the early 2000’s Tom Brady and his New England Patriots would often frequently dash the hopes of Peyton Manning and his prolific Colts teams.
Fast forward to 2011, the one team that has stood in the way of future Hall-Of-Fame linebacker, Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens is the six-time Super Bowl champion, Pittsburgh Steelers.
It is no secret that these two teams despise each other and currently wage the nastiest on-field war since the testy Raiders-Steelers games of the ‘70’s, what isn’t a secret to all is that Pittsburgh seems to have the Ravens number.
Pittsburgh holds a 19-11 all-time series edge over the Ravens, and in all of those games, Pittsburgh—not Baltimore—has always come up with a clutch, game-winning play to foil the Ravens Super Bowl dreams.
Pittsburgh and Baltimore could not be more evenly matched and are identical mirrors of each other, both teams feature formidable defensive lines anchored by Pro Bowlers in Steelers nose tackle, Casey Hampton and Ravens nose tackle, Haloti Ngata.
Both teams feature game-changers at linebacker in Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs for Baltimore and James Harrison and Lamar Woodley for Pittsburgh. Even in the secondary, both teams have game-changers, Pittsbugh has free safety, Troy Polamalu while Baltimore counters with Ed Reed. In the backfield, both teams can count on Pro Bowl-caliber backs such as Ray Rice and Rashard Mendenhall .
The secret to the Steeler’s mastery of the Ravens lies at three key areas, quarterback, tight end and wide receiver.
While Ravens quarterback, Joe Flacco is on the cusp of becoming an elite NFL franchise quarterback in Baltimore, Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger is already making a case for Canton.
If Flacco is to be considered a true upper-echelon quarterback, he must find a way to solve Pittsburgh, especially in the post-season.
Baltimore may have upgraded at the wide receiver position with the recent pick-up of Lee Evans from Buffalo, giving them a deadly one-two punch for Flacco to throw to downfield, the losses of popular veteran tight end, Todd Heap to Arizona, Willis McGahee to Denver and Derrick Mason to the New York Jets may come back to haunt them.
During Pittsburgh’s recent run of dominance over Baltimore, one person that the Ravens seem to never have an answer for is Steelers tight end, Heath Miller who has also been in the right place at the right time to bail out Roethlisberger whenever he is under duress.
Another person that the Ravens don’t seem to have an answer for whenever they face Pittsburgh is the tandem of wideouts, Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.
The ever charismatic and controversial Ward has made a career of tormenting Baltimore, whether it is a clutch third-down catch or delivering bone-crushing hits, as he did to Ravens safety Ed Reed.
Wallace, while still new to the Ravens-Steelers blood-feud has simply torched the Ravens secondary on big plays.
Baltimore has finally taken action to rectify their misery against Pittsburgh by signing All-Pro fullback, Vonta Leach and former Heismann Trophy winner, Ricky Williams in an effort to directly attack Pittsburgh aging defensive line.
While the Ravens free-agency signings look good on paper, Baltimore will get to find out in Week 1, whether or not they will be enough to finally solve the Steelers.