Ben Roethlisberger named Baltimore Ravens top villain
Erik Lambert of FanSided’s NFL Mocks did a great post which picked a villain for each NFL team. Ben Roethlisberger was picked as the Baltimore Ravens top villain:
The Baltimore Ravens villain was always going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. That’s the way of the world. The Ravens biggest rival is the Steelers, and not even the Patriots are big enough rivals to truly debate that. Ben Roethlisberger was an easy choice for the Ravens biggest foe.
One reason Roethlisberger is such a good foil for the Ravens is that he has a personal rivalry with Terrell Suggs. Since 2003, Suggs has seen Roethlisberger twice per season (sometimes with a third meeting in the playoffs). Nobody has his Roethlisberger more than Suggs, and the two players have a very respectful but contentious relationship. You can’t tell the story of Terrell Suggs without talking about Roethlisberger, which makes Big Ben an essential enemy.
Breaking this down:
It’s interesting to note that Mr. Lambert did not put a Raven player on the list as the Steelers biggest villain. That title went to George Atkinson, the Safety of the Oakland Raiders in the 1970’s. It’s fair that the Steelers have such a long history, and the Ravens rivalry is just a part of that. This being said, the Ravens-Steelers rivalry has become so heated, that it was surprising to see that Suggs or Ray Lewis wasn’t the Steelers biggest villain.
Here is what Lambert wrote about Roethlisberger in regards to him being the arch enemy of the purple and black:
"“In his career, Roethlisberger has led a 4th quarter comeback 32 times in his career. Five of them have come at the expense of Baltimore. He’s often the one directly responsible for them not being able to even make the playoffs as last season showed with his 506-yard performance service to knock them out of contention.”"
This is a fair point. Roethlisberger has orchestrated moments that have made Ravens fans cringe and even cry. The Steelers number seven isn’t going to win a popularity contest in Baltimore. He is respected, but absolutely despised.
Must Read: 5 reasons Ravens vs. Steelers in fiercest rivalry in spots
But is Big Ben the real top villain:
There is a better candidate for the Ravens top enemy though. Troy Polamalu was the difference in the early battles of the Harbaugh/Flacco era.
Whether it was Polamalu stripping the ball from Joe Flacco in a brutal regular season loss, or picking him off in the 2008 AFC Championship game, he was at the center of the Ravens misery. The Steelers really owned the power and the upper hand in this rivalry from the start of Flacco’s tenure in Baltimore. Polamalu made Flacco miserable. Number 43 was the last thing Flacco needed to see.
Yes, Ben Roethlisberger has had the longer impact on the rivalry, but Polamalu had such a significant mark on the rivalry. The Ravens knocked on the playoff door from 2008 all the way until they won it all in 2012. The Ravens lost in the AFC Championship game in 2008, and that was all about Flacco’s trouble with the Steelers’ defense. Polamalu was the hurdle the Ravens couldn’t get over, which is maybe the most under looked reason that the Ravens couldn’t get past Pittsburgh.
The Bottom Line:
It had to be a Steelers player that was the top nemesis for the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger is a fair and reasonable choice for the Ravens greatest villain. Troy Polamalu would be a fitting choice as well.
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Overall Erik Lambert’s piece was a very interesting read that shows key enemies in every NFL team’s history.