After last night’s battle between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago bears, which the Packers took 35-14, it got me thinking about some of the epic rivalries we have been blessed with across the sports world. From huge scoring showdowns to brawls on the field, here are the best rivalries in sports (in no particular order).
Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Of course this makes the list, and last night’s game was no exception. The two have played each other about 200 times since 1921. No NFL team has won more championships (13 for the Packers and 9 for the Bears), and none has placed more players in the Hall of Fame than the Packers and the Bears. One of the more storied rivalries in sports.
Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. These two teams have been trading punches for years now, constantly switching off who owns the most NBA titles. Boston edges out LA right now 17-16, having met each other in the finals 12 times. This rivalry has seen legend after legend come through, featuring Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain and Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird.
Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. There’s bad blood between all New York and Boston teams, and this is surely no exception. Besides all the brawls (like when Varitek punched A-Rod in the face), bad blood, and legendary players, there’s that infamous trade almost 100 years ago. The Red Sox sold then pitcher Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920. Ruth went on to become “The Bambino” hitting home run after home run. The Red Sox then boasted an 86-year World Series drought, which finally ended in 2004, after coming back from a 3-0 hole to beat the Yankees in the ALCS and would go on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. The battle of Pennsylvania. This rivalry dates back to 1967 when the NHL added six teams to the league. The fans heavily participate in this in state rivalry with wild behavior and bashing chants toward the opposition. The star power of Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux only adds fuel to the fire. The Penguins and Flyers have met six times in the playoffs, with the Flyers taking most of the meetings. The Penguins, however, have the most league success, adding another championship this past season.
Ohio State and Michigan Football. This is my favorite rivalry because of how involved the fans and students get. Last college football season, students at Ohio State University censored out all the “M”s on campus the week they were playing. They have been playing each other annually since 1918 but before that, in 1835-36, troops from Ohio and Michigan had a run in at the border, which became known as the Toledo War. Needless to say, this has been a war for centuries.
Duke and UNC Basketball. College basketball royalty! Dick Vitale sums this rivalry up with the 3 P’s. Power: these teams are always always good. They have either been 1 or 2 seeds in every March Madness except one since 2004. And before that, at least one was in every Final Four from 1988-2001 except one. Proximity: these schools are located just down Tobacco Road from each other in North Carolina. Passion: these fans are C R A Z Y. Do yourself a favor, watch Duke vs. UNC this year, you won’t regret it.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Team rivalries are good, but individual rivalries are better. Patriots vs. Colts was a great rivalry, but when Peyton went to the Denver Broncos in 2012, the Brady/Manning rivalry did not fizzle out. Brady has the edge head-to-head, winning 11 games out of 17. Brady and Manning threw for a combined 9308 yards and 73 touchdowns in their 17 meetings. This rivalry was a consistent storyline in the AFC for years, as the playoffs often came down to these two’s teams. No matter who you’re a fan of, this was one of the most exciting things to look forward to every year.
Rivalry weeks are the best weeks in sports. Whether you’re a die hard fan, or just catching a game at a bar, you can’t miss the intense passion of the fans and the players. Unfortunately, the Brady/Manning era is over, but you can catch Ohio State at Michigan on Saturday, November 25, 11:00 AM CST and keep and eye on the MLB playoffs for a possibly Red Sox/Yankees series.
Did I miss any? What are your favorites? Let me know by commenting below or sending me a tweet @beauty_cleats9
Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica