The Baltimore Ravens Are a Waste of a Playoff Spot

Will JeffersonCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2010

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 18:  A fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers hangs a replica of a Raven with a noose against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Championship game on January 18, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Well, after losses to the Bears, Chiefs, Raiders, and Browns, it's hard for Steelers fans to argue our team should be in the playoffs.

If the Steelers had made the playoffs, you can bet AFC playoff teams would be leery. Wins over the Chargers, Vikings, Ravens, and Packers are an indication of how the Steelers fared against playoff-bound teams.

The Ravens, on the other hand, are another story.

Of course, as a Steeler fan, I hate the Ravens.

I hate them even more because I think they are a lot less tough and a lot more cheap than they or their fans think. In my opinion, tactics like tackling receivers at the line of scrimmage, leaping on players who are already down, dirty blocks, and constant offensive holding are a disgrace to the integrity of the game.

I'm not surprised the Ravens are the league's most-penalized team. I'm surprised they get away with as much as they do.

So, yes, it rankles me that the Ravens are in the playoffs and the Steelers are not.

And, it sours me even more that the Ravens were the ones who in fact eliminated the Steelers from playoff contention, by squeaking by the Raiders in Week 17.

But the worst part has nothing to do with my allegiance, it's just based on the facts: The Ravens are such a waste of a playoff spot. This is clearly not the Ravens team of '99 or '06 or '08...

Other than a win over San Diego in Week Two during the Chargers' annual early-season slumber, the Ravens haven't beaten a single good team all year.

There's no other playoff team that you can say that about.

Before any of you Ravens fans say anything about beating the Steelers, are you really going to claim that needing overtime to beat a Pittsburgh team with Ben Roethlisberger out and an utterly raw and inexperienced rookie QB at the helm, who threw the decisive interception that handed the Ravens the win, counts as an impressive victory?

Aside from that, the Ravens' wins have been against the Raiders, Bears, Browns, Lions, Broncos, and Chiefs. You won't find any of those teams in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, they lost to the Steelers with Roethlisberger, and also lost to the Packers, Colts, Bengals, Vikings, and Patriots.

After that Week Two Chargers win, the Ravens were 0-6 against playoff teams. The Steelers were 4-3.

Upset losses by already-clinched AFC playoff teams New England (in Week 17) and Indianapolis (in Week 16) essentially sealed the Steelers' fate. 

No doubt those teams didn't lose any sleep over dimming the prospect of having the Steelers as a potential playoff opponent, especially one with Troy Polamalu back. The injured safety would have returned if the Steelers made the playoffs.

The Steelers did what they could to stay alive, beating the Ravens and Dolphins in must-win situations.

As for the Ravens, who only had to beat either the Steelers or Raiders, they had trouble closing the deal. They lost to the Steelers. And were it not for the injury departure of Raiders starting QB Charlie Frye at halftime of the season finale, the Ravens might well have coughed up their playoff spot.

As it is, I'm sure the other AFC playoff teams aren't too broken up about the Ravens getting in instead of the Steelers.

The Dirty Birds should make a nice feast for some lucky playoff team who gets to face them and all their tough squawk.