When you look at the biggest rivalries in pro sports, it happens when two teams can go head-to-head in every aspect of the game. When the Boston Red Sox win the World Series, the New York Yankees spend over $400 million in free agency to try and compete. When Michigan gets a big recruit, Ohio State looks to get a name bigger than that. When the Pittsburgh Penguins make a move, the Philadelphia Flyers do something to try to match that.
This is what is happening between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos right now. Both of these teams are competing with each other to be the best team in the AFC. They still have the game’s two best quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The Broncos are signing players away from the Patriots (Wes Welker and Aqib Talib the most obvious examples), while the Patriots try to outdo the moves by signing a bigger name. Darrelle Revis remembers the Patriots when they were in a huge rivalry with the New York Jets, and now he is on the other side of it.
The Patriots still have a few moves to make to be considered serious contenders to stop Manning and Co. from going to their second straight Super Bowl. On top of Talib, Denver also added Pro-Bowl DE/LB DeMarcus Ware. With plenty of offensive weapons still on the market, you know that Bill Belichick is going to add some of them to his team.
These two teams just played in the AFC Championship game. Every year, they seem to be the teams to beat. They say all the right things in the media, being the classy organizations that they are, but you know that they want to beat the other. They face off every season, despite being in separate divisions. They usually lock up the No. 1 and 2 seed in the conference earlier than anyone expects.
The only rivalry that can even touch this one is of course the Seattle Seahawks–San Francisco 49ers rivalry. The issue with that is it is a fairly new rivalry. It doesn’t have the same history that Brady and Manning have, or even the Broncos and Patriots have.
Every time the Broncos and Patriots square off it is a spectacle. It is must-see TV. Stay at home moms know about this rivalry. Kids go to school the next day to talk about the games between these two. They have played some of the best games ever, even before the era of Peyton. The game where the Patriots came back and won on Monday Night Football despite taking their own safety was epic. The Broncos ended the Patriots’ dynasty in 2006 with Jake Plummer leading them. Josh McDaniels‘ best moment as a head coach was beating his former team with Kyle Orton to start off 6-0. The Patriots basically ended Tebowmania when they whooped on him and the Broncos 45-10 in the playoffs.
The reasons are endless, but know that the offseason is not done for either team. The Broncos will make smaller moves to fill out their roster, while the Patriots still have some room to make a splash. Either way, both teams will be doing it to try to beat the other. That is why this is the best rivalry in the NFL.