Steelers or Cardinals?

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*Who should Ravens fans root for in Super Bowl XLIII, the Arizona Cardinals or the Pittsburgh Steelers? BR.com staff members debate!

Real Ravens Fans Don't Root for the Black & Gold*by Geoff Peckham, Contributing WriterIf you think about it logically, rooting for the Steelers this Sunday in the Super Bowl might make a little sense. But since when is football logical, especially after this season?

This is the Pittsburgh Steelers we're talking about. Think about that for a moment.

I'll say it again: it's the Pittsburgh Steelers.

You can't honestly think it's a good idea to root for them on Sunday, can you?

Fewer words will arouse such contempt out of the greater Baltimore area than uttering the name of the Ravens' greatest rival in the AFC North. It's been said countless times before, but it bears repeating: these two teams hate each other with a passion. And as respectful a rivalry it is between professionals and warriors, the word* hate* still needs to be enunciated.

This is how the best rivalries in the world work. Would the Red Sox ever root for the Yankees? Would Batman ever root for the Joker, or would Han Solo ever root for Boba Fett?

Would Michael Scott root for Toby Flenderson (For those who watch The Office)?

The answer is, of course, no.

These two teams are built in the same fashion, so to see Pittsburgh make it to the championship game (after beating the Ravens three times in one season, no less) while Baltimore stays home is painful for all involved. To see the Steelers fall on the grandest stage of all would likely ease some of that bitterness going into the offseason.

I understand the argument that if the Steelers win, it will make the Ravens look good in the sense that while they lost, they lost to the best team in football; that there's no shame in being number two.

That logic might fly if it were any other team in the AFC, but not the Steelers. Rivalries transcend logic. Besides, there's already no denying that the Steelers are a good team, and that they can beat the Cardinals. They've gotten this far, haven't they?

But it doesn't mean they will. The knowledge that they are capable of being Super Bowl Champions should be enough for Ravens fans. Physically seeing it happen is unnecessary and would just rub salt into the wound.

And let's not forget about Arizona. As much as Ravens fans should root against the Steelers, they should also root *for *the Cardinals. Kurt Warner is a winner and a classy guy. Larry Fitzgerald is a beast on the field (well-spoken and a sharp dresser, too). Everybody loves rooting for the underdog, and the Arizona Cardinals have been the epitome of underdog for years now. The phrase "anything is possible" will take on new meaning if they win on Sunday.

To those who think a sixth Steelers championship would make the Ravens look good, think about the last three times the Ravens played them. Think about the smug looks on the Steelers fans' faces as the play clock ticked down to zero. Think about how utterly annoying those terrible towels are, especially being waved at M&T Bank Stadium.

Still rooting for the Steelers on Sunday?

I didn't think so.


A Steelers Victory Makes the Ravens Look Good
by Sarah Ellison, Contributing Writer*Rooting for the Steelers this Sunday does not make any Baltimorean less of a "die-hard" Ravens fan. The motive behind rooting for the Steelers is purely self-interested. It's simple, if Pittsburgh wins, the Ravens are the second-best team in the National Football League.

Looking at it from the other perspective, if a Ravens fan is rooting for Arizona to win, the only motive is bitterness or rivalry "hatred." But, in no way does a fan's hatred for the "enemy" make the Ravens a better football team.

Throughout this season I have received hundreds of "You Said It" emails from Ravens fans complaining about Baltimore not getting enough credit with the national media. If fans want that national attention, the Ravens have to compete with, and beat, the best.

It's the same logic that former Raven Jonathan Ogden uses when he roots for fellow conference team, and hated rival, USC. He has stated several times that he will root for USC in a bowl game or in the National Championship because it brings more legitimacy to the PAC-10 and more name recognition to UCLA.

Would the Yankees root for the Red Sox? No. But that's because the Yankees are already considered the best. They don't need the Red Sox to win in order to be more legitimate. Each year, the entire nation expects both teams to be playing against one another in the Pennant. That's what the Ravens are working toward, but this team isn't there yet.

If the Steelers lose, then the Ravens gain nothing. If the Steelers win, the Ravens have more legitimacy and more respect from other teams, players and the media.

Perhaps Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti said it best:

"I'm glad that I get to say that I know there's this word 'hatred' for the Steelers in Baltimore, and you can say what you want, but it is respect. It is the kind of team that we want to be.

"Three out of three contests ended in their favor – I would say that they're a notch above us now. I'm thrilled that arguably the best team, or certainly one of the top three teams, in this league is in our division. It's something for us to shoot for."

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