I appreciate Mike Tomlin's insistence on not providing the Ravens locker room with any sort of bulletin board material, insisting the team's rivalry is based on "mutual respect." While there might be a recognition on both sides that they are playing worthy opponents, there is nothing but undisguised enmity and downright ugly intentions on the part of Baltimore.
This is a team that has threatened injury on a number of occasions to one of Tomlin's starting receivers, going so far as to announce on a radio show earlier this season that the team had a bounty on Hines Ward. This is a team whose defensive leader bragged when he put Rashard Mendenhall out for the season. And how many times has Ben Roethlisberger come away from Ravens games with injuries resulting from cheap, late hits from the likes of Terrell Suggs? There is no concept of respect on the Ravens. They're the same brash, tough-talking band of miscreants they vowed to reform from when Brian Billick left.
Even beyond all this, there's no doubt Tomlin does in fact respect Baltimore. Even if he's never lost a meaningful game to the Ravens, he knows it's the only team other than the Steelers in the AFC North capable of putting together more than one fluky winning season every decade or so. I'm sure he identifies with another young defensive-minded head coach like John Harbaugh, but deep down he and everyone on the team knows this is not just another game between worthy opponents. It's a fucking fight.
The Ravens, even with all their chest-thumbing bullshit, know they can't intimidate the Steelers. In a way, Tomlin's remarks speak to that. The Steelers don't have to resort to the Ravens' level of cheap, idle threats to show their toughness. Those tactics are for losers. Which is very well why you might hear some more cheap, idle threats after Sunday.