Great sports rivalries don't need the participating teams to be relevant. They thrive on antipathy.
In a great rivalry, it doesn't matter if one or both teams are out of playoff contention—they will prepare as if they are about to play in the Super Bowl, and on Sunday they will seek to humiliate one another at all costs.
Dallas-Washington is a great football rivalry. Unlike most NFL rivalries, which are ephemeral, born when two teams reach prominence at the same time—Chicago v. San Francisco in the 1980s, St. Louis v. Tampa Bay in the 2000s—Dallas-Washington has stood the test of time. The two cities could not be more different; both teams have always despised each other; even the team names—Cowboys and Redskins—suggest this clash extends beyond the football field.
On Sunday, that rivalry continues when the Cowboys come to Washington for the teams' second meeting of the season. In the first, Dallas prevailed, and since that game, Washington has seen its season implode amidst an odd quarterback situation and a slew of injuries. The Redskins have only pride to play for on Sunday, and while beating the Cowboys won't make fans forget about another season lost, it will make the offseason a bit more bearable.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, have gotten their house in order after an inconsistent start and are flying under the radar. If Jerry Jones' team can continue to improve, they could make some noise come playoff time.
Sports Illustrated and Grantland.com are two sports publications that have named Dallas-Washington as the greatest NFL rivalry ever, and while Redskins fans have had little to cheer about over the past decade and a half, some of the team's most memorable and satisfying victories have come against their hated arch rivals.
To commemorate the latest installation of this gridiron grudge match, here are Washington's six most memorable moments in the rivalry's history.