The Oakland Raiders face off against their old American Football League rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the Black Hole in Week Eight of the NFL 2013 season. Both teams come into the game with 2 – 4 records.
All football games count, but some football games count more than others, and this is one of them – if not for the impact it will have on the standings, then for pride.
You have to be getting on in years to remember, but if you were around in the 1970s, you will know that the Raiders and the Steelers were the talk of the nation – and I DON’T just mean the Raider Nation.
They were the two baddest teams in football. And they often came face to face in the post season. And there was NO love lost.
The Raiders and the Steelers have played each other 20 times in the regular season and six times in the post season.
The Raiders won 11 of their regular season matchups, and the two teams have split the post season series three games a piece.
What the Coaches Have to Say
1. “I think it’s a great rivalry, great tradition in this game, and our guys are looking forward to taking part in it. think as a team they’ve played better football. They’ve put an emphasis on the run game, offensively, which has kept them on the field a little bit longer. They’ve controlled the time of possession and they’ve protected the football. Then their defense has done a great job of keeping the ball in front of them and not giving up the explosive plays. When teams have gotten down to the red zone, they’ve done a great job of making them have to kick field goals. This is a good football team that we’re playing, make no mistake about it. They understand how to win. They know what the formula is to win in this league and they’ve done a really good job of it the last couple of weeks,” said Oakland Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen in Raiders.com.
2. “Obviously they’re a group that provides some concern for us for a lot of reasons, starting with on offense. They’ve got a quarterback that can create. He’s really doing a nice job of staying within himself. His number one target is Moore, a young talented wideout out of Tennessee. They’ve got some unique, multi-talented, big athletic bodies, whether it’s Reece, a rookie from Tennessee Rivera, their fullbacks, their tight ends…shoot, Reece has even run the ball some. These guys can carry it, they can run, they can block; they’re match-up problems. I think Reece was a former wideout at University of Washington so he has that type of skill-set and couple that with the fact that he’s 250 pounds and he can run,” said Pittsburg Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin in Raiders.com.
What John Vella Has to Say
3. “Nothing exists today that equals those legendary Raiders-Steelers matchups, with Hall of Famers on both sids of the ball. Beginning in 1972, the teams met in playoff gams for five consecutive seasons … If it weren’t for the Steelers, we would have had five Super Bowl rings in the 70s instead of one,” said John Vella, said Oakland Raiders Offensive Linesman (retired) in the San Jose Mercury News.
4. The Oakland Coliseum “is a great place to play. The fans are awesome. The stadium, it’s old. There is so much tradition and history there that you enjoy going to places like that because you think of all the greats that have played there before you,” said Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Rothlisberger in the San Francisco Chronicle.
5. “You always know Pittsburgh is going to play hard-nosed defense. That will be the case on Sunday, but we heve somethings we want to do so hopefully we can make some plays against them. A physical game fits my style. I love running in these games,” said Oakland Raiders Running Back Darren McFadden in the Contra Costa Times.
6. “Look for the wildcat offense again in Oakland today. The Steelers might use it, with some new wrinkles, but the Raiders definitely will. That’s because Terrelle Pryor is the wildcat offense. When you have a quarterback who can run like Pryor, there’s no need to bring in a runner to take a snap because you already have one,” wrote Sports Reporter Ed Bouchette in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
7. “The Steelers are suddenly on a two-game win streak, and up against the inconsistent Raiders,” wrote Sports Reporter Maggie Hendricks in USA Today.
8. “Oakland’s baseball team was eliminated from the playoffs, so the Raiders have the Coliseum to themselves. That means no more infield dirt and no more worn-out grass. The stadium is hardly perfect, with raw sewage occasionally seeping into the clubhouses, but it provides a home-field advantage. And the Raiders, with an emerging offense, can probably bring recently soaring Pittsburgh back to earth,” wrote Sports Reporter Benjamin Hoffman in The New York Times.
Abandon All Hope, Yee Who Enter the Black Hole!
9. “Saying that the Pittsburgh Steelers shouldn’t take the Oakland Raiders lightly Sunday would be parroting one of the most tired sports cliches. In this case, there’s some truth to it. That’s because, if the Raiders beat the Steelers in their Week 8 matchup at Oakland, it won’t be an upset. It sure was an upset last year, when the Raiders won, 34-31, on a last-second field goal at Oakland in Week 3. It was one of just four wins for the Raiders in 2012,” wrote Featured Columnist Mike Batista in the San Francisco Chronicle.
10. “The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to win their third consecutive game when they square off against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum. The Steelers are 2.5-point favorites over Oakland, with an over/under of 40.5, according to OddsShark.com,” wrote Matt Verderame in SB Nation.