A sport as physical as football is bound to create great rivalries between teams; big hits, bruised egos, embarrassing losses, personal stories, all of these things get added up to produce rivalries that span time and conferences. The “top” rivalries are not only those that have maintained the test of time, but are also the new rivalries that have sparked recently as new powerhouses come into play. Below are some of the top rivalries in today’s game.
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
This is an old rivalry going back to the 1960s when the Giant’s and Cowboy’s intense game ended in a tie. Since then bridges have been built and burned to keep the rivalry hot, and recent developments have thrown fresh wood on the fire. Tom Landry played as a defensive back for the Giants in the 1950’s and went on to be the defensive coordinator there. He later moved to Dallas where he eventually became the head coach of the Cowboys and the Landry Era proved to be prosperous. He led a winning campaign for the team, including his matchups against his old home town Giants. This rubbed the them the wrong way and the New Yorkers have prevailed in recent years, as the Giants have punched their tickets to two Super Bowl wins and are closing the gap with the Cowboys. In the week one season opener, the Cowboys got some retribution and beat the defending Super Bowl champs on their home turf in a decisive statement. The Giants will be looking to return the favor when they travel to Dallas in week eight.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The tough nose defense of these two teams and their close games makes this rivalry one of the most fun to watch. The AFC North is known as the most physical league and this is largely in part to these two teams. Both boast big quarterbacks with Steelers Ben Roethlisberger and Ravens Joe Flacco who command heavy rushing offenses. But both teams battle to lead the NFL with their big, gritty defenses who relish big hits and tough games. Since they are both in the AFC North (and only separated by 250 miles) they are guaranteed to meet at least twice, and often go on to meet each other in the playoffs. The games boil down to who plays the same style of game better, and are often incredibly close; often being determined by one play or possession. The heavy weights will meet each other on weeks 11 and 13 this year, and the quick turnaround will be sure to have the losing team going out for blood in week 13.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
A recent poll has shown that the Packers are considered “America’s Team” over the Cowboys, and for good reason. There are few, if any, teams that share the history and success that the Packers have been a part of, but that kind of success brigs about bitter rivalries. When the Minnesota Vikings were created in the early 1960’s there was immediate bad blood as the Viking’s coach, Norm Van Brocklin, a player from the previous year who had beaten the Packers in the NFL Championship. The Packers would dominate their rivals, going 9-1 in the first seasons, but the Vikings gained a foothold in the conference and have since made the matchup very close. The rivalry came to a head when Viking’s receiver, Randy Moss faux mooned Packer fans after a touchdown, and years later when the legendary Greenbay quarterback Brett Favre came out of retirement to play for the Vikings. In a Monday Night Football matchup, Favre would lead his longtime rivals to a prime time victory over his former team.
Fans of any NFL team have their opposing team they can’t stand, but these are some of the highest profile rivalries that are ongoing in today’s game.
Jerome Manson is a sports enthusiast who enjoys both watching games and writing about them. When he is not cheering on his team from the stands, Jerome is blogging about The NFL for selectaticket.com.