NFL: Ranking the Four Best Rivalries in the League

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1. Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Dec 2, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed (20) intercepts a pass from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch (not shown) at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have both done well lately, and that has led to some incredible football games.

Over the last five years, the two teams have combined for five AFC Championship Game appearances, three Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl victories. The 2009 AFC Championship featured the AFC North rivals going at it, and the game lived up to expectations.

Pittsburgh won that game 23-14, and it was powered by a crucial pick-six from safety Troy Polamalu. The Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl that year, and they went on to beat the Ravens in the AFC Divisional round two years later.

The Steelers are 3-0 against the Ravens in the playoffs, and they are 7-5 against the Ravens in the last 12 games between the teams. However, the Ravens emerged triumphant in 2012, as they brought home the Lombardi Trophy for the second time.

No team has dominated the rivalry at all, and the games have been tight. Eight of the last nine games have been decided by less than eight points, and seven of them have been decided by three points or fewer.

In addition, there has only been one game in which one team won by more than nine points since December of 2007. When the two teams square off, viewers get to see nail-biters.

And that has only helped the rivalry.

Ravens and Steelers fans heavily dislike each other, and the players aren’t exactly best friends either. Steelers safety Ryan Clark bashed the Ravens after they lost the 2012 AFC Championship Game, and this came after he said that there was no rivalry with the Ravens until Baltimore started winning.

Lately, the Ravens have been winning. A three-game winning streak against Pittsburgh was jump-started by a thrilling win in Week 8 of the 2011 season, one that ended with a 26-yard touchdown catch from wide receiver Torrey Smith with eight seconds left.

To celebrate the win, Gatorade was dumped on Ravens coach John Harbaugh. In the regular season, which doesn’t normally happen. But when the Ravens and Steelers square off, it isn’t just a normal regular season game.

It’s extremely hard to find two teams that play closer games than the Ravens and Steelers, and it’s extremely hard to find two fanbases that dislike each other more.

Baltimore and Pittsburgh bring intense football, and as long as the two teams are in the AFC North, they’ll be giving fans great games. That’s all you can ask for in a rivalry, and that’s what makes this rivalry the best in football.