OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens and Steelers rivalry is highlighted by jarring hits, last-minute heroics and the occasional controversy.
Baltimore's John Harbaugh and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin have been on the front lines as head coaches for most of those games.
This week, Harbaugh and Tomlin will meet for the 25th time — the most among any opposing coaches in the modern era, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The lead up to the games between the Ravens and Steelers has evolved from trash-talking to mutual respect.
"We have great respect for them and their program. Coach Tomlin does a great job," Harbaugh said. "The coaching staff has been intact – pretty much – for the most part for many, many years. They have a very good understanding of who they want to be, how they want to play.
"Their style; they don’t vary from it very often at all. They stay true to themselves, and that’s what they’re all about. So, that’s a mark of a heck of a coach, and obviously Coach Tomlin is one of the best, and we have great respect for everything they do.”
The Steelers lead the regular-season series, 25-23, and are 3-1 in the playoffs. Under Harbaugh, Baltimore is 14-13, including the postseason. The Ravens have won three of the past four meetings.
The Steelers enter this game as the NFL's only remaining unbeaten team at 6-0. Nonetheless, The Ravens (5-1) are a 4.5-point favorite.
The teams could be headed for another classic battle.
“I think in moments like this or in the offseason and things of that nature, you get an opportunity, maybe, to appreciate it," Tomlin said. "But I think much like him, in the moment, they’re nameless gray faces on the other sideline, man. You’re just so caught up in the strategy or the decisions that need to be made. When you’re playing good people, it’s paramount that you play [well].
"So, things like that usually occupy your attention and not the global perspective of the totality of the type of game that we’ve been in and so forth. I would imagine that that’s going to be the same this week. There are going to be enough things going on in-stadium in terms of the challenges that the 2020 Ravens present us that I won’t be looking at it from that perspective.”