Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and…..the Denver Broncos? The list of teams I just named all have one thing in common, they are considered to have ‘rivalries’ with the Ravens. Bengals and Browns are division rivals, so they’re a given. Playing the Steelers is like looking in a mirror and have beaten the Ravens in more important games than you can count. The Patriots ‘rivalry’ is relatively new, with them and the Ravens trading blow-for-blow in the playoffs every year. Now, the Denver Broncos are looking to add their name to the list, or at least their fans are trying to.
Now, how can a team that has only played the Ravens 11 times since their creation in 1996 claim that there’s a ‘rivalry’? I don’t consider it a rivalry; I know many Ravens fans that don’t, so it seems there’s a lot of lopsided hate coming from Denver after one playoff defeat at the hands of Joe Flacco and Company, but where is all this hate coming from? I think the recent actions of our good friend Vic Lombardi, renowned poster hater, hold that answer, the media.
With it being the considered the best game of the 2012 season, the Broncos Vs. Ravens AFC Divisional Round game already came with its fair share of media hoopla, but to top it all off it was an upset of the number one seed in the playoffs. If you replaced the Ravens with the Patriots, that’s a formula that could derail the “Tebow Time Hype Train.” So naturally, with the Ravens winning the Super Bowl, a rematch to open the 2013 NFL season is almost required by law to happen and since it’s the season opener, the NFL and all media outlets are going to be talking about it. And that loss is going to be thrown back in the face of Bronco fans. And it’s going to get them angry, really angry. And it’s going to make one hell of a home crowd at Mile High Stadium.
So, should Raven fans return the hate? In my opinion, they have every right to. Peyton Manning has had the Ravens’ number for years now and derailed two Ravens playoff teams. We hate him, but should we hate the Broncos? Should we bring back some old school hate from the Baltimore Colts era? The Colts drafted John Elway with the first overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, only Elway refused to play for Baltimore stating “he would be a garbage collector before he’d play for Baltimore.” and threatened to go into baseball if they didn’t trade him. Many point fingers at this being the start of the decline of the Colts that led to their relocation to Indianapolis. Now that Elway is back with the Broncos as VP of Football Operations, does that give us the right to hate the Broncos? I know I use it as an excuse to despise Elway even more so, but do I hate the Broncos? No, but should Raven Fans hate the Broncos?
In my opinion, no, they have not earned the title of ‘rival’, we have only played them 11 times and two of them were in the playoffs. I believe we need more playoff and close games against the Broncos for it to be considered a ‘rivalry’, but that’s my opinion. Realistically, the Ravens could walk into Mile High and lose or vice versa, which could be the match that starts a forest fire. Bronco/Raven fans would brag, Raven/Bronco fans would fire back, and a back and forth could go on all season, until the playoffs. Then, if the Ravens and Broncos meet in the playoffs, you would get the most talked about match up since Brady Vs. Manning. The Broncos vs. Ravens game could be the start of a great new rivalry. Look at me rambling, talking up this matchup, just like the media, just like the Bronco fans, just like the NFL wants us to do.