Frank Deford, a writer for NPR, compares Pittsburgh, PA and Baltimore, MD as follows:
"Pittsburgh and Baltimore are made for each other. It's like looking at your own face in the mirror."
It really seems true. Both cities have similar working-class, industrial histories. Both cities are usually overlooked when people think of taking vacations or spending a weekend. And both cities have insanely loyal football fans. If you don't believe me, see for yourself here: http://www.afc-north.com/rivalry/pitbal.html
Apparently, in the fifteen years since the Ravens replaced the Colts as the hometown NFL team for Baltimore, the Steelers-Ravens rivalry has become one of the most followed in football. Maybe not on the level of Cowboys-Redskins or Bears-Packers, but not too far behind. Part of it is historic from the Colts, but not too much. Part of it stems from the Browns moving to Baltimore, but not all of it. Most of the rivalry has been created since the 1996 season and strengthened almost even year during the playoffs.
Growing up, I missed out on the Colts when they left for Indiana in the middle of the night in March 1984. For years I watched the Redskins with a fervor, even going with my dad to a conference before the 1992 Super Bowl so I could buy an official Super Bowl program. I even had an autographed Mark Rypien card and the full helmet-jersey-football uniform (anyone else remember Hutch?)
But ever since the Ravens rolled into town (and ever since Dan Snyder bought the Redskins), I've always cheered for the Ravens. I had a Ravens bed set, t-shirt, turtleneck, trash can, jackets, sweatshirt (you get the picture). I even got the Girl into the Ravens, and we both have Ravens sweatshirts thanks to Mom and Dad. For the last year or so, we have called our home online "Tales From Astoria," but in this one particular way, I am still very much a Maryland guy.
Of course, we have the Steelers to thank for keeping the Ravens out of the Super Bowl yet again...we'll see how the game goes tonight though....GO PACKERS!!!!!