Each NFL division’s most significant rivalry of all time

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /
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Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

AFC North: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

It might be the newest rivalry in the AFC North, but it has been the one that has defined the division since its creation back in 2002. When the Baltimore Ravens take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, expect a high stakes, emotional physical battle between the two most well-run teams in the NFL’s most black and blue division.

Through the 2019 NFL season, the Ravens and Steelers have faced each other 52 times, with the Steelers holding a slight 28-24 edge in the all-time series. Baltimore only came into existence in 1996 when the old Cleveland Browns relocated to the Charm City to assume their new identity. All that was good about the old Browns’ structure came with the Ravens to Baltimore.

Since 1996, these rivals have combined to win 17 division champions. They have represented the AFC in five Super Bowls over that time, winning four of them with the only loss being by the 2010 Steelers in Super Bowl XLV vs. the Green Bay Packers. These rivals have squared off in four AFC playoff games to date with the Steelers winning the first three, but the Ravens winning the fourth.

Overall, this is a rivalry that bills itself on excellence and respect. It’s not as petty or as hostile as others in the division, but it signifies what happens when two well-run organizations clash twice, sometimes even three times annually. This is a rivalry we can all learn from, as this is the preeminent first-class rivalry in the entire NFL. It may be young, but it is still a majestic one.