The NFL has borne witness to some of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. Whether it’s a long-time division rivalry or historical battle for supremacy, a special type of animosity has festered between a select few teams. Here is a list of five of the greatest rivalries in the NFL.
5. Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Though seemingly random at first, the Redskins and Cowboys share one of the fiercest rivalries that traces back to the 1960s. The two teams faced each other for the first time in 1960 and the vicious rivalry expanded both on and off the field. In 1961, a few plucky Cowboys fans crept into the Redskins’ stadium and scattered chicken feed throughout the field, planning to release a flock of chickens during the halftime show. Their plan would be thwarted just moments before halftime when a Redskins’ representative found the crates of birds. In the 1980s, Dallas head coach Tom Landry would film several commercials poking fun at the Redskins. In one commercial for American Express, Landry entered a saloon and was immediately mobbed by Washington players, stating “you’ll never know when you’re gonna be surrounded…by Redskins.”
4. Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
One of the more recent rivalries in the NFL, the division rivalry between the Seahawks and 49ers didn’t intensify until 2012 during Russell Wilson’s debut and Collin Kaepernick’s second year. The peak of their rivalry came during the 2013 NFC championship, which ended in a crushing defeat for the 49ers after Richard Sherman batted away an intended endzone pass to Michael Crabtree that would have resulted in a trip to the Super Bowl. Since then, these teams have toggled back and forth for supremacy in the NFC West. Both have had their fair share of heated moments with dogged plays and vicious scraps.
3. New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia-New York rivalry is classically common throughout a range of sports, from baseball’s Phillies vs. Mets to hockey’s Flyers vs. Rangers. The same goes for the Giants and Eagles, with no love lost between the NFC East rivals. From their numerous meetings, each team has experienced devastating losses and triumphant wins. Combined with passionate fanbases on both sides, it’s no wonder why the Giants and Eagles share one of the greatest rivalries in the NFL.
2. Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
The Packers and Bears share one of the oldest existing rivalries in the league. The two first met in 1921 when the Packers shut out the-then Chicago Staleys in a dominating 20-0 victory. It’s been ardent ever since. The pair’s competition has incited everything from rule book changes to wily pranks. In 1985, the Packers gifted the Bears with horse manure in their locker room at Lambeau Field. Karma would rear its head when the Bears not only went on to win the game 16-10, but also won the Super Bowl later that year. Either way the bad blood between these long-time rivals won’t be fading anytime soon.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Ever since the Steelers and Ravens met in 1996, there was a seemingly instant competition that grew into perhaps the greatest rivalry the NFL has ever known. They play each other with a fiery intensity and a competitive edge unlike any other. Though the Steelers have racked up more Super Bowls under their belt with six championships, both teams share two wins since the Ravens were inaugurated. No matter their records, whenever these two teams meet it’s a guaranteed ruthless division battle.