The rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens has become one of the NFL's signature turf wars over the past decade. Two blue-collar cities, each proud of its football teams and both of which bleed for their respective sides.

However, this rivalry truly started when the Ravens were in Cleveland; the Steelers and the Browns had disliked each other since the 1960s. When the old Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens, the rivalry stayed alive.

The funny thing is that Art Modell, the longtime Browns owner who moved the team to Baltimore, liked the Pittsburgh franchise, having been friends with the Steelers' owners, the Rooney family, for more than 50 years.

The Rooneys had long been part of the Maryland horse breeding scene as the owners of Shamrock Farms -- located right in the middle of Ravens country -- for more than 40 years. It was Dan and Tim Rooney who offered some ideas to Modell on where to live once he moved to Baltimore. Modell and the Rooney family have compared notes on everything from coaching and front office moves to marketing and broadcasting ideas.

Ravens at Steelers
When » Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

When the NFL and AFL decided to merge, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle wanted the Browns, Colts and Steelers to join the new AFC in 1970. It was Modell who went to the Rooneys to get their commitment first. When the Browns and Steelers felt good about the move, then Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom was on board with the deal.

To this day, Tim Rooney has lunch weekly with Modell when the two are in Florida, and they often talk about what is going on now as well as the good old days.

Because of Modell, present Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is quite friendly with the Rooney family and even stated publicly that he wanted to model the franchise after Pittsburgh: to win with class and to run a franchise that is fan friendly and respected by other NFL owners. I think he's accomplished that goal.

So while the fans will be talking smack come Saturday, you can bet the players and the owners will be wanting to win with respect.

Like it or not Ravens and Steelers fans, these two organizations are run the same from the top down.

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!