Because this week is different. This week is something special. This week is where everything that happened in the past is simply that. It doesn't matter who is injured. Sure, you could make an All-Star team out of the injury reports for the Steelers and Ravens and that team with Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb could probably beat either of the teams that will march out on the field on Sunday (if they were all at full health). But that doesn't matter. What matters is that on Sunday night at 8:15pm, 46 men will don uniforms that make them look like giant bumblebees and a helmet with a logo on only one side and take the field. They are the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are our team. Would things be better if we had Ben and Troy and Antonio Brown? Of course. But that isn't who we have. We have Byron Leftwich and Will Allen and Emmanuel Sanders. But if you even think for one minute that Byron and Will and Manny aren't going to leave everything they have on the field, well, there's a spot on the West End Bridge with your name on it. Those 46 guys that strap on the helmet are the Pittsburgh Steelers. And they are playing the Baltimore Ravens. Those two sentences should be enough to get your blood racing.
It's the Ravens. It doesn't matter if Ray Lewis is in a hoodie or wearing purple pants. It doesn't matter if Lardarius Webb is lined up opposite Mike Wallace or in a rehab facility. They are the Ravens. We are the Steelers. That is enough. Both teams have injuries, but if you think for even a second that the Ravens are going to take this game lightly just because Ray Lewis isn't playing, you'd better hope Highmark covers brain exams. If you're even thinking about taking a lackadaisical attitude about this game, you have two days to change that. Get ready. Get angry. Support your team. The 46 men that go to battle on Sunday are the 46 men that we have to support. It won't do us as fans or them as players any good if we sit around moping about who isn't playing. What we can do is support those that are playing. We are at home. This is our house. Don't let the Ravens control our house.
I'll turn it over to the all-time leading expert on hatred to close this out:
UPDATE: After watching this, I fully endorse the Emperor's advice:
Here. We. Go.