Former Piitsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward didn't hold back on his TV show, The Hines Ward Show, when asked what he thought of the Ravens going into Sunday night's showdown for control of the AFC North.
In particular, he's not a big fan of Ravens coach John Harbaugh's attitude or play-calling.
Can the Steelers win without Ben Roethlisberger?
"I think the Steelers can win with Byron Leftwich. The key thing is they got to go out and play flawless football. For Byron, it’s all about timing. The offensive line has to protect Byron, give him enough time to find his receivers down the field. And Byron says, you can’t play over and beyond his head. Just go out there and manage the game, convert third downs and not turn the ball over. If they do that, and put it in the hands of their defense and special teams, they’ll have a chance to be in this ballgame. ... Get it to his playmakers. Just put it in their hands and let them go out and make plays and not force things down the field and try to do too much, throwing it into double coverage, I think he’ll be fine.
Is Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco elite?
He hasn’t taken his team to the Super Bowl. If he can overcome that hump and get his team to the Super Bowl he will be mentioned in the elite categories as far as the best quarterbacks in the league. … That’s what separates Ben from Joe. Ben has been there and won the big games before and Joe hasn’t.
On what it's like to be part of this rivalry?
A genuine dislike between each other. When it comes down to Baltimore week you’re going to see some tussles out on the field. For players you can’t even wear purple into the facility. If anyone wears a purple sweatshirt or purple shoes its going in the trash can. That’s the hatred between the two organizations. … It’s going to have that playoff atmosphere. Heinz Field is going to be rocking. This is a key game. It’s really a chance for a team to take control of the AFC North. … The greatest thing about the rivalry that I’ll always miss, I remember driving into Baltimore on a Sunday night and seeing a grandfather, a dad and a son –- the son was maybe 4 years old –- all giving us the finger as we were pulling into the stadium. That’s what you love about this rivalry.
On the fake FG the Ravens did against the Oakland Raiders while up 41-17 last week?
That’s just coach Harbaugh. He’s just a cocky coach who just don’t care about anything. Sometimes that can come back and bite you in the tail. You look at guys like (New York Jets coach) Rex Ryan who guarantees he’s going to win the Super Bowl, guys are going to be geared up for you week in, week out … especially when you’re down. For coach Harbaugh, that’s unnecessary. He already had control of the game. To run a fake field goal? I do know that (Steelers) coach (Mike) Tomlin will remember that especially coming into this ballgame.