Top Five NFL Team Rivalries
The Top Five NFL Team Rivalries
Rivalries. They're what make the NFL, and sports in general, so great.
They often pit man against wife, parent against child, sibling against sibling, and friend against friend.
There's nothing quite like a rivalry game when the players, coaches, and even the fans lay it all on the line. The victors earn bragging rights while the losers have to suffer through the ridicule and trash-talking, knowing there is nothing they can do but wait until the teams face off again.
Throughout the history of the NFL, many rivalries have been created. Some of come and gone and some have withstood the test of time and are still alive and going strong even 30-50 years later.
But what is it that makes a rivalry so strong?
For a rivalry to be considered one of the best in the league it has to have endured over the years. I believe those that dislike each other the most are usually divisional foes due to their frequent match-ups. There are often key player rivalries and key coaching rivalries among the two. Their shared history is built on key moments and storied histories. Some are based on pure hatred while others are based on mutual respect.
Every team in the league has an archrival—someone that they look forward to lining up against all season long. Some teams have multiple rivalries. But which team rivalries are considered to be the best in NFL?
Here is Rant Sports current list of the Top 5 NFL Rivalries. You will see that there is one division in particular that boasts multiple and, as I argue, the fiercest rivalries.
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Cowboys vs. Eagles
The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles have shared a mutual lack of respect for one another for more than 30 years and those feelings are still alive and well today.
Though neither has had much post-season success of late, both teams have remained in a constant battle for the NFC East with the New York Giants over the recent years.
Both the Cowboys and Eagles have had great success within the division, winning 44 titles combined. Though they share eight NFL championships, the Eagles have surprisingly yet to win a Super Bowl, while all of the Cowboys five championships are Super Bowl titles.
This rivalry has indeed had its share of nasty moments, including the "Bounty Bowls" in which Jimmy Johnson accused the Eagles of setting a bounty on Cowboy players, as well as the moment when Michael Irvin was carted off the field with a career-ending spinal cord injury to the cheers and jeers of Eagles fans.
Again, while the teams haven't had a lot of post-season success of late, and the Eagles will soon be in a rebuilding phase after a disastrous season, this rivalry is still alive and well today.
Eagles vs. Giants
There has never been much love between the cities of New York and Philadelphia, and that immense dislike has manifested itself on the football field since the early 1930s.
The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants first met up in 1933 and have been in the same division ever since. The two teams have met over 160 times with the Giants leading the series with an 83-76-2 record. Together, the teams share 11 NFL championships.
Though the Eagles have struggled of late while the Giants have won two Super Bowls in the last five seasons, that hasn't taken anything away from these divisional enemies.
Steelers vs. Ravens
While the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Baltimore Ravens rivalry is relatively new, that doesn't stop the two teams from loathing one another. Perhaps Hines Ward said it best when he stated, "The coaches hate each other, the players hate each other... But the feeling's mutual: They don't like us, and we don't like them. There's no need to hide it, they know it, and we know it."
Since the Ravens joined the league in 1996, this match-up has been one of the most intense in the NFL. Both teams play a similar brand of hard-nosed, defensive-minded football. Though the Steelers have owned the rivalry and have many more skins on the wall, these two teams are in a constant in a battle for the AFC North since it began in 2002.
Again, though this rivalry may not have the history behind it that many others do, the mutual feelings of dislike for one another makes this one of the NFL's best today.
Cowboys vs. Redskins
Yes, I realize there are three NFC East rivalries mentioned on this list, but after much thought and deliberations, I've concluded that the most fierce and intense rivalries in the NFL exist in this division.
The Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins have shared a mutual angst for one another even before the Cowboys ever played a game. This rivalry is one of the most unique in the NFL due to the way it all began.
It all started just before 1960 when Clint Murchison nearly purchased the Redskins from then-owner George Preston Marshall. When the deal fell through, Murchison approached the NFL expansion committee about creating new team. All owners voted yes--except Marshall.
Feeling undermined, Murchison used a bit of trickery to convince Marshall to change his vote, and the Cowboys were born. But first, Murchison "stole" the Redskins 3-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Eddie LaBaron, to lead his new team.
The feelings of ill will between these men spread to their fan bases and a rivalry began.
Since then, the two have met 105 times with the Cowboys owning a 62-41-2 series lead. The teams have a combined 27 division titles and 8 Super Bowl wins. With the recent Redskins resurgence under RG III, the rivalry is heating back up again, half a century later.
(To read the full story of the history of this rivalry, click here.)
Packers vs. Bears
The Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears have the distinction of being the NFL's oldest, not to mention best, rivalry. Unlike most of the others in the league, these two have always shared a mutual respect for one another, despite their on-the-field disdain for one another.
Perhaps the best thing about this rivalry is how successful these two teams have been throughout the history of the NFL. Between them, they have won 22 NFL Championships (including 5 Super Bowl rings) and boast 48 Hall of Famers. They are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in each category.
Ironically, neither team would where they are today if not for each other. During the Great Depression, the Bears' George Halas borrowed $1,500 from Curly Lambeau and the Packers so that he could meet payroll. Years later, the favor was returned when Halas recommended that Green Bay hire a man by the name of Vince Lombardi as their new head coach. And the rest is history.
Years later, these two NFC North foes have maintained a solid rivalry. The Bears hold a series edge of 92-87-6, though the Packers are gaining on them, having won 7 out of the last 8 match-ups. This is a rivalry that has endured over the years and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.