Some of Sports’ Most Heated Rivalries: A look at two of the biggest rivalries in professional sports.

Rivalries are part of what makes sports so entertaining. Whether you follow a professional sports team or you rep your school spirit as they take on a heated rival, rivalry games always bring an extra flare. Some rivalries are born out of being placed in the same division, others are from playoff losses or off-field history between players and coaches. Regardless, rivalries can bring out the very best in teams, and two of the best examples of this are the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Boston Celtics and the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Baltimore Ravens. 

One of the most legendary rivalries is the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. The two teams have faced off in the NBA Finals on 12 occasions dating back to 1959, when the Lakers were the then “Minneapolis Lakers.”  There was a gap between 1969 and 1984 where the Lakers and Celtics didn’t meet in the Finals, but they have since played five series against each other. The Lakers have won three of the five matchups beginning in 1984, including the 2010 Finals, which went the distance of seven games. The 2010 NBA Finals was the last championship that the late Kobe Bryant won, and he put up 28.6 points per game. 

In the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens are two divisional rivals with a back-and-forth history. The two teams are generally competitive and usually in the playoff race, but the Steelers currently lead the all-time series 30-24. The Steelers have won the last two matchups in 2020, but the Ravens swept the series in 2019, including an overtime victory on a walk-off 46-yard Justin Tucker field goal. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 15-10 in the regular season and 2-1 in the postseason in his career against the Ravens. Despite having a winning record against the Ravens, his statistics take a dip against the same team. In his career, Roethlisberger has a passer rating of 93.9 while posting a rating of 85.3 against the Ravens. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is technically 2-2 thus far into his short career as the Baltimore signal-caller, though he has only started two of those games and is 1-1. The Steelers and the Ravens don’t face off this year until Week 13 before they close out their seasons in Baltimore for their second matchup. Knowing the AFC North, the Week 18 game could have the teams’ playoff hopes up for grabs. 

With the NFL season in full swing, the MLB postseason coming up and the NBA starting up again soon, get ready to sit back and watch some great rivalry games unfold.

Sources: Basketball Reference, The Football Database, Land of Basketball, Pro Football Reference

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