Exploring Iconic Rivalries In The NFL
The NFL just like any sport has its rivalries. It is a professional competition where two heated teams, usually sharing a big history try to prove who is best. These games are quite important for the athletes, and most of them would take a win against their rivalry and then win the championship.
Rivalries bring a lot of good for the sport, even though most of the debates with fans that have different opinions can get a bit heated, but it is all good since it brings attention to the sport.
So, what are the biggest rivalries in the NFL? The teams that always go full steam when they face each other? The teams that sell out arenas quicker than you can say ‘touchdown’?
Let’s find out.
How Two Teams Become Rivals in the NFL?
The NFL is home to some of the most intense sports rivalries that go way back to the beginnings of the sport. These rivalries, which have their roots in historical rivalries, divisional rivalries, and close proximity to one another, intensify emotion and excitement in both players and fans. This section will explain what an NFL rivalry is and look at some of the most well-known rivalries in the league’s history.
There are a few reasons why rivalries exist in the NFL, such as:
- Geography: Teams that are near together frequently get a competitive advantage due to overlapping fan bases and coach and player rotation.
- Division alignment: Playoff implications are sometimes involved when teams in the same division face each other twice a season, stoking a fierce rivalry.
- Postseason confrontations: Playoff matches put teams in high-stakes, high-pressure scenarios that can intensify already-existing rivalries or perhaps spark the emergence of new ones.
- Historical roots: Even when rosters and players change over time, certain rivalries endure for decades and never lose their ferocity.
Biggest Rivalries in the NFL
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Within the AFC North division, there is a very strong rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. The two cities’ close proximity and their shared history of intense football games are the main reasons for this rivalry’s ferocity.
These two teams’ games are renowned for their toughness and raw emotion. The Steelers have performed better than most throughout the years, winning many Super Bowls and making multiple trips to the postseason.
The Bengals have often fallen short of the Steelers in terms of overall accomplishments, even with their sporadic victories.
Denver Broncos vs. Las Vegas Raiders
An NFL rivalry between the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders is known as the Broncos-Raiders rivalry. Broncos vs Raiders history goes way back in time and it is one of the biggest rivalries that made NFL exciting. The American Football Conference (AFC) West division is where it all started. The Broncos and Raiders have played each other the most often on Monday Night Football since the American Football League’s founding in 1960.
With the Denver Broncos winning 54 games and the Las Vegas Raiders winning 72, the Broncos and Raiders rivalry has been played 128 times (including two postseason games). Additionally, they have tied twice.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
The matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers is the first historical rivalry that sprang to mind. The two clubs have played nearly 200 games in their rivalry, which began in 1921.
Their matches have always been a sight to watch, with several games ending in ties that leave fans with amazing memories. With the Chicago Bears winning 95 games and the Green Bay Packers winning 106, the Bears and Packers rivalry has been played 207 times (including two postseason games). They’ve also drawn six times.
Over the years, there has been a swing in both the level of performance and competition in this rivalry. It’s one of the most hotly contested rivalries in the league since both teams have seen times of dominance and success.
Dallas Cowboys Vs. Washington Redskins
As part of the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day tradition, two of the oldest and most illustrious teams compete against one another each season. With so many years of mutual games, the Redskins and Cowboys have had ample opportunity to develop a strong rivalry. As part of the NFL’s rotational schedule, the two teams face each other twice a season in addition to being bitter rivals and division rivals.
One of the strongest and longest-running rivalries in the NFL is that between the Cowboys and Redskins. This rivalry frequently escalates into violent altercations, and it has become customary for the game to have at least one significant brawl. Since the 1960s, these two have been embroiled in a fierce rivalry.
Over the years, this rivalry has also yielded a number of famous phrases and sound bites.
New England Patriots Vs. The Indianapolis Colts
The New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts have created a fierce rivalry in the league, but this one doesn’t have as much history as the Packers vs Bears. When the two teams faced off in the 2007 AFC Championship Game, their intense rivalry—which had been simmering since the mid-2000s—got really heated.
In that AFC championship game, the Patriots emerged victorious against the Colts. After the New England Patriots defeated the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, Indianapolis was devastated. Their bitter rivalry with the Patriots began after the Colts’ defeat. The Colts coach, Tony Dungy, fanned the fires of enmity by claiming that New England “did what they had to do to win.”
Dungy’s remarks sparked intense criticism and added fuel to the fire of this budding rivalry. This has resulted in two regular-season meetings and two postseason meetings between the Colts and Patriots, making it one of the fiercest rivalries in NFL history.