The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are scheduled to meet in Week 18 in a rivalry that is in its 26th year, with the winner having a shot to make the playoffs if a few other games break their way. By league standards, it is relatively young, but it has become one of the NFL's fiercest that has produced many great games and moments. Here are the five most memorable in the series.
5. The First Meeting
Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Baltimore Ravens 17
Sept. 8, 1996 — Pittsburgh
The Steelers were longtime rivals with the Cleveland Browns, and when owner Art Modell moved the franchise to Baltimore, a new rivalry was born. Pittsburgh won this meeting and six of the first eight games, but this series has become much more competitive since then.
4. Ravens Knock Steelers Out of Playoff Contention
Baltimore Ravens 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
Dec. 29, 2019 — Baltimore
The 13-2 Ravens had clinched home-field advantage and benched many of their starters, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, while the 8-7 Steelers needed to win to make the postseason. Not only did Baltimore finish 14-2, but the team also got to knock its archrival out of playoff contention. The Ravens rushed for 223 yards and held the Steelers to 168 yards of total offense and recovered a fumble for a touchdown for the win.
3. Big Ben Debuts
Baltimore Ravens 30, Pittsburgh Steelers 13
Sept. 19, 2004 — Baltimore
Steelers head coach Bill Cowher had planned for Tommy Maddox to be his starter for the season, but Maddox went down with an elbow sprain in week two against Baltimore. Rookie Ben Roethlisberger replaced him, and although the Ravens won this game, "Big Ben" was unbeaten through the rest of the regular seasons and went on to win two Super Bowls with the franchise.
2. Mike Tomlin Steps on the Field
Baltimore Ravens 22, Pittsburgh Steelers 20
Nove. 28, 2013 — Baltimore
With the Ravens leading 13-7 in the third quarter on Thanksgiving Day, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stood just off the field as his team kicked off to Jacoby Jones, who broke a return down the sidelines. Tomlin had his back turned and did not move out of the way until the last second, forcing Jones to adjust and be tackled. Whether or not Tomlin's act was intentional is still the subject of debate. No penalty was called, but the NFL did fine him $100,000. Either way, Baltimore held on to win.
1. The AFC Championship
Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Baltimore Ravens 14
Jan. 18, 2009 — Pittsburgh
The two teams have met in the playoffs four times, but this is their only conference championship meeting. Pittsburgh won two close regular-season games against Baltimore and took the division by one game. They met for a third time for the AFC Championship and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu intercepted a Joe Flacco pass and returned it for a touchdown for the final and decisive score. Pittsburgh went on to beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo by G. Newman Lowrance, courtesy of NFL.com)