Who doesn't enjoy a good rivalry? From the intensity felt on the field, to the endless smack-talking, from the epic victories, to the heart-breaking losses, rivalries are what fans and players live for!
While the rivalry between some teams is what I would consider, "only on game day," there are other rivalries that I would call "every day rivalries." These are those match-ups you always seem to be hearing about, with teams who seem to constantly have on-going beef with each other, and fans who are constantly getting into social media "trolling" battles. These are the greatest NFL rivalries.
That's what I'm going to highlight today. Without further ado, here are what I believe to be the top seven greatest rivalries in the NFL!
1. Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens
All-Time Record: Steelers, 24-18-0
Streak: Ravens, 1-0
Division: AFC North
Beginning with their first match in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have met 42 times with the Ravens winning their last game. Both teams are known for having hard-hitting defensive lines adding an element of extra physical intensity to their rivalry. The Steelers and Ravens are both out of the AFC North and have met numerous times in the postseason with a Pittsburgh advantage. These are the only two teams in this division who have ever gone on to win a Super Bowl.
2. San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks
All-Time Record: Seahawks, 18-15
Streak: Seahawks, 3-0
Division: NFC West
The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks met for the first time in 1976, but the true rivalry didn't begin until 2002, when Seattle returned to the NFC. They have met 33 times, including meetings in the NFL Playoffs, and the Seahawks hold the most wins overall. In 2011, the rivalry intensified with rival college coaches, Pete Carroll with Seattle and Jim Harbaugh with San Francisco, moving in. The most recent large scale meeting between the two teams came in 2014, as the 49ers and Seahawks competed for the NFC Championship title.
3. Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants
All-Time Record: Giants, 85-79-2
Streak: Eagles, 2-0
Division: NFC East
The rivalry between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles is well-known in the football community. NFL Network has ranked it as the number one rivalry of all-time, Sports Illustrated has it at number four and ESPN has it in its top 10. The Giants and the Eagles have competed in the same division since 1933, and have met 166 times. The largest victory between the two actually came in 1933, when New York shut out Philadelphia, 56-0. However, the Eagles currently hold the winning streak in this rivalry.
4. New England Patriots and New York Jets
All-Time Record: Patriots, 60-54-1
Streak: Patriots, 2-0
Division: AFC East
With 115 meetings under their belts, the Pats and Jets have been rivals since 1960. They have met in both the regular season and the postseason, with the Patriots leading both records. The two teams have often played out the fierce Yankees-Red Sox rivalry that is permanently up north. The largest margin of victory between the Patriots and the Jets came in 1979, when New England defeated New York, 56-3.
5. Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins
All-Time Record: Cowboys, 65-43-2
Streak: Cowboys, 1-0
Division: NFC East
Considered "one of the greatest rivalries in sports" by Sports Illustrated, the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins rivalry goes way back. They are two of the wealthiest franchises in the NFL, and they have won 28 combined division titles and eight combined Super Bowls. The two teams have met 110 times with Dallas winning their most recent meeting. The largest margin of victory between the two teams was Cowboys, 38-3.
6. Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals
All-Time Record: Bengals, 44-39
Streak: Bengals, 2-0
Division: AFC North
Considered "The Battle of Ohio" by their fans, Cincinnati and Cleveland's rivalry has been ongoing since 1970. These two teams are in opposite corners of the Buckeye state, basically splitting Ohio in half. This rivalry has produced two of the eight highest scoring games in the NFL, with the Bengals winning their last two meetings. Overall, the two have met 83 times.
7. Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers
All-Time Record: Bears, 93-91-6
Streak: Packers, 2-0
Division: NFC North
With 190 meetings in this rivalry's history, Chicago leads overall while Green Bay leads with three back-to-back victories. The largest win margin between the two was in 1980, when the Bears defeated the Packers, 61-7. With the two teams sharing a conference, they meet twice each year and it is not uncommon for their matches to decide the conference champion.
What do you think of my list? Is there a rivalry you would have included rather than one of these seven? Would you place them in a different order? Share your opinions in the comments below!
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In 2016, the NFL is dropping the Roman Numerals and presenting Super Bowl 50! Although these rivalries couldn't pan out in the Super Bowl due to shared divisions, these teams have all been Super Bowl bound before and could be Super Bowl bound next year!
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