With the prolonged lockout forcing the Ravens to cancel their annual training camp at McDaniel College, the atmosphere for the season opener against the Steelers should be electric.

That would be a welcome sight for David Rather, owner of Ravens hangout Mother's in Federal Hill.

"I'm ecstatic," Rather said. "I'm ready to celebrate."

And celebrate they will. Rather said Mother's is planning to throw a party Wednesday to revel in the return of football. He admitted the end of the lockout is "huge for [his] business."

"As we got closer and the dates passed by, I was nervous," Rather said. "One game wouldn't have been as major as losing half the season. But the Steelers game is going to be great."

Fabian, who plans to attend the Sept. 11 contest at M&T Bank Stadium, is looking forward to a sea of purple.

"[The Ravens-Steelers game] is going to be crazy," Fabian said. "You usually find some Ravens fans who sell their tickets to Steelers fans, [but] I don't think that's going to happen this year. I think Ravens fans are going to be out in full, and we're going to be ready. The Steelers better watch out."

With the Browns and the Bengals facing multiple question marks on both sides of the ball, many experts have predicted the Ravens and Steelers will once again duke it out for the top spot in the AFC North.

But this year, Fabian said, the tables will be turned.

"We're going to the Super Bowl baby," Fabian said. "No doubt in my mind."

xcxcbranch@baltsun.com

xcxrlevin@baltsun.com