you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall
The Cowboys were humiliated on Sunday, at least the offense was. They were humiliated ... at home ... to the hated Eagles. I'm not sure I'd call that match up a "rivalry," but it got me to thinking about this year's team and what's lacking.
It's not a stretch to think that the Cowboys will make it to the Superbowl this year, but I find myself thinking that there's just a little something missing from a Superbowl run ... a rival.
Winning something is all the more sweet when there's a rival to overcome. Winning in the 90s was great because we got to rub the 49ers noses in it.
I got to thinking about the need for rivals and then to my favorite rivalries. This may be different than "the greatest rivalries" that some sports show may list. Michigan & Notre Dame may be great, but I don't care, so it's not great to me.
--- Be thinking about YOUR favorite rivalries in sports and/or which you think are the greatest. ---
I'll share my favorite rivalries.
Cardinals vs. Cubs - I grew up a Cardinals fan and there's always been great joy in beating the Cubbies. They're the team you love to beat. They're not typically a rival for winning the division, but over the years some great games have been played.
Lakers vs. Celtics (1980s) - After writing a book report about a man named "Lew Alcinder" in 3rd grade, I was forever thereafter a fan of the Mighty Lakers, the new home of "Kareem." How great were those games in the 80s with Lakers (Kareem, Magic, Worthy, Rambis, Scott, Nixon, McAdoo, Cooper, etc.) matching up with the Celtics (Bird, Parrish, McHale, DJ, Ainge, Walton, etc.), particularly in the NBA Finals? That was the Golden Era of the NBA for sure.
Cowboys vs. Redskins - As long as I can remember I've been a Cowboys fan, even while living in Kentucky and Alabama and other parts of the globe that my dad's Army career took us. This rivalry tends to work best when at least one of the teams is good, which is probably why the rivalry has been its weakest the past five years.
Back in the day those 2 teams really hated each other. I remember the recent game where the Cowboys were up by 13 with less than 2 minutes left and the Redskins smoked us with 2 big touchdown passes. I was so mad. But, there were our "paycheck players" yucking it up afterward, smokin' & jokin' with the Redskins as though they were teenagers hanging out at the mall.
Aggies vs. Longhorns - I'm an Aggie, so this one needs little explanation. However, I will point out that the Ags have smoked the t-sips like a cheap cigar the past 2 years in a row. Who's your daddy?
Cowboys vs. 49ers (1990s) - I still rejoice to see the 49ers watching the playoffs on their television screens, but the rivalry has dissipated. With Michael Irvin & Steve Young all friendly-like, you know it's over. I appreciate T.O. trying to resurrect it a few years back when his celebrations on "The Star," but all that did was show us that Emmitt still cared and that George Teague should be in the "Ring of Honor."
Still, in the 90s we had a great rivalry. Remember Kenny Norton, Jr. turning traitor on us by going to San Fran? Remember really turning up the hate meter when Deion left Atlanta for San Fran? Remember how you felt being down 21-3 in the NFC Championship game in '94 inside like the first 3 minutes of the game? I refused to watch the Superbowl that year, knowing that the Cowboys should have been the ones whipping up on the Lightning Bolts to the tune of 55-10.
November 12th 1995 (PM) was the 2nd time ever for me to preach and it was hard dragging my badself up to church to share our obligation to "Serve the Living God" after losing that game, a turning point in the rivalry. Honestly, we were fortunate that SF lost to Green Bay in the '95-96 playoffs so we could play them in the NFC Championship Game instead.
I was not a Barry hater, but I'm thinking that if Jimmy had stayed in Dallas, 5 Superbowls in a row, without a doubt. This rivalry also taught me that the chief characteristic of a fan is rooting for the laundry, a uniform. I loathed nobody more than Deion ... until he became a Cowboy. Then I was a big fan all of the sudden. I'm even warming up to T.O. this year.
Stars vs. Red Wings - This one really kicked in for me in '98 when the Stars were bounced by Wing in the Western Conference Finals. I never had any particular players who bear my ire, but the uniform in general. In both our trips to the Stanley Cup Finals ('99 & 2000) we were fortunate that Lanche knocked off Wing, because I don't think we could have taken Wing in a 7-game series either year. This rivalry died some, but not for me. I got particularly tender (even with the Stars) when Brett Hull AND Derrian Hatcher (my favorite Star) wound up wearing the hated red & white.
Though we've not had any good encounters in the playoffs lately, I still root for the Red Wings to eat it ... Reno-style.
Cardinals vs. disAstros - This one rivals the Longhorns for personal intensity and animosity. In fact, when Rachel was 2 I got in trouble from Mom for teaching Rachel to answer the question, "What do you think of the disAstros?" with "We hate 'em."
During baseball season I check the scores of 2 teams, the Cardinals and the disAstros, and a "W" for the former is just as good as a "L" for the latter. Since the wacky creation of the present divisions, the DisAstros have been the chief competition for the division title.
Honorable Mention: Mavericks vs. Spurs, Rocky vs. Apollo, and the Von Erichs vs. the Fabulous Freebirds.
What are your favorite rivalries in sports? OR What do you think are the greatest rivalries in sports? OR What teams do you love to "hate"?