Ranking the NFL's 10 Best Team vs Team Rivalries

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystJanuary 16, 2013

Ranking the NFL's 10 Best Team vs Team Rivalries

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    There are certain truths in American sports, and this is one of them.

    Boston fans do not care for New York fans, and vice versa, the sport is almost irrelevant.

    That mutual disdain has carried over to the rivalry between the New York Jets and New England Patriots, which has been contested over 100 times since the teams were in the AFL.

    Whether it's Bill Parcells leaving New England for the Jets, Bill Belichick spurning the Jets for the Patriots, Curtis Martin's "poison pill" contract, or the "Spygate" controversy of 2007 there are boatloads of incidents throughout the history of this rivalry that boil blood on both sides.

    The rivalry hasn't lost any steam in recent years even though the Patriots have won five of the last six meetings, with New York head coach Rex Ryan remarking before their first meeting this year that “I’ve never stopped not thinking about the Patriots,” according to The New York Times.

10. San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks

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    Like the Patriots and Ravens, this rivalry is one of the newer ones on this list, but that doesn't make it any less heated.

    The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are two NFC West teams that just don't like one another very much, which may be because they're similar teams that like to pound the ball on offense and dominate on defense.

    Or the rivalry could be an extension of the two head coaches, as the animosity between the Seahawks' Pete Carroll and the 49ers' Jim Harbaugh goes all the way back to their Pac-10 days and the infamous "What's your deal?" game.

9. Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots

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    You know, for all the talking the Ravens seem to do before they play the Patriots, this rivalry has been a one-sided affair, with New England winning seven of the nine meetings between the two teams.

    However, that hasn't stopped the Ravens this week, as in addition to Ayanbedejo's quip, wide receiver Anquan Boldin told the Baltimore Sun that, "We're going to win."

    That isn't to say that the Patriots have been immune to the trash talk, as back in 2010 quarterback Tom Brady said of the Ravens "They talk a lot for beating us once in nine years.’’ (h/t Boston.com)

8. New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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    You could do an entire article just on the rivalries within the NFC East, as the entire division is comprised of teams that have a long history of hating one another.

    The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles have been going at it since 1933 and have met a whopping 160 times, with the Giants holding a slim edge in the overall series.

    However, in recent years, it's been the Eagles who have held the edge, winning eight of the past 11 meetings, including a playoff game in January 2009.

7. Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

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    Like I said, you can basically fill in any two NFC East teams and you've got a rivalry on your hands.

    The Dallas Cowboys are the team that everybody loves to hate, and that goes double for division rivals such as the New York Giants, who have played the Cowboys 102 times since 1960.

    The Cowboys hold the overall edge in the series, but fans of the Giants can just point to their last two Super Bowl wins, as a playoff victory in 2007 and Week 17 win in 2011 both helped propel the G-Men on to championships.

    Ouch.

6. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders

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    Some may say that the downtrodden state of these two franchises should knock them farther down this list, but if anything it just keeps them evenly matched and at one another's throats.

    Since the days of the old AFL, there may not be two teams in football with less respect for or more animosity towards one another than the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders, who have met 108 times over that stretch.

    Running back Harvey Williams, who played for both teams in the 1980's was once asked by reporters to describe the rivalry.

    He responded, "Only one word: Blood."

5. Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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    And back to the NFC East we go! (They REALLY don't like one another)

    Take the franchise that other fans love to hate (the Cowboys), add fans who don't like anything (the Eagles) mix in 103 meetings over the past half-century plus, and you get plenty of ill will on both sides.

    Whether it's Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson accusing the Eagles of putting bounties on Cowboys players in 1989 or Philly fans cheering as Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin was carted off the field in 1999, these are two teams that flat-out hate one another's guts.

    Said Johnson of Ryan, "I have absolutely no respect for the way they played the game, I would have said something to Buddy, but he wouldn't stand on the field long enough. He put his big, fat rear end into the dressing room."

    Ryan replied: "I resent that. I've been on a diet, lost a couple of pounds. I thought I was looking good."

4. New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

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    There are certain truths in American sports, and this is one of them.

    Boston fans do not care for New York fans, and vice versa, the sport is almost irrelevant.

    That mutual disdain has carried over to the rivalry between the New York Jets and New England Patriots, which has been contested over 100 times since the teams were in the AFL.

    Whether it's Bill Parcells leaving New England for the Jets, Bill Belichick spurning the Jets for the Patriots, Curtis Martin's "poison pill" contract or the "Spygate" controversy of 2007, there are boatloads of incidents throughout the history of this rivalry that boil blood on both sides.

    The rivalry hasn't lost any steam in recent years even though the Patriots have won five of the last six meetings, with New York head coach Rex Ryan remarking before their first meeting this year that “I’ve never stopped not thinking about the Patriots,” according to The New York Times.

3. Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

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    Now we've reached the granddaddy of all NFC East rivalries, the rivalry that Sports Illustrated called the greatest in the NFL back in 2008.

    The bad blood between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, who just this season met in Week 17 with the NFC East title on the line, runs so deep that after word got out that former Washington head coach Joe Gibbs spoke to the Cowboys at a chapel session, the furor was so great that Gibbs had to go on the radio and apologize and explain that it was a religious, and not motivational speech.

    According to USA Today when the radio host suggested that there wouldn't be anything wrong with Gibbs giving the hated Cowboys a pep talk, Gibbs shot back, "I would see something wrong with that, because I don't want to do that. I'm a Redskin."

2. Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers

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    They say that familiarity breeds contempt, and if that's the case, then that's all you really need to know about the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.

    Since 1921, the Bears and Packers have met a staggering 185 times, making it the longest such running rivalry in the National Football League.

    In recent years, the Bears have been on the short end of this one, with eight losses in their nine games against the Packers, including the 2010 NFC Championship Game.

    The rivalry is as storied and heated as any in sports, and after that loss in 2011, a suburban Chicago car dealer was fired from his job after showing up for work the next day wearing a Packers tie.

1. Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers may not have the longevity of many of those on this list, but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality.

    According to USA Today Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said of the rivalry:

    "It's almost surreal," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said last season. "All of a sudden, everything's different. You go into this dark place. It's like you're in this globe, in a good way, and suddenly there's nothing outside of that moment, outside of that stadium."

    The feeling is most certainly mutual for linebacker James Harrison and the Steelers, who hold the edge in the series, with Harrison saying, "I hate losing to them. I hate losing to anybody, but to them it's a lot worse."