Biggest NFL Rivalries
There are various reasons for an NFL matchup to become one of the biggest NFL rivalries. Sometimes it’s history. Sometimes it’s geography. On occasion, it’s from a particular meeting or a duel between specific players that has engulfed franchises and cities.
5 of the Biggest NFL Rivalries
In a sport of direct matchups, player rivalries as every bit as common as team rivalries. Fan bases can get just as swept up in the battle between players as their teams, particularly in the social media era.
On this occasion, we’re looking at the biggest team rivalries in NFL history…
Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots
This conference rivalry is directly linked to the never-ending Peyton Manning and Tom Brady comparisons. Denver and New England first played in 1960, and have had countless classic games over the following decades.
The biggest moments, though, have been since the turn of the century. This became one of the biggest NFL rivalries as the teams met in the 2013 and 2015 AFC Championship Games. The Broncos won both, allowing them to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Most teams view the Patriots as a rival. Whether Denver is the biggest or not is subjective, but it’s certainly been one of the most significant over the last decade.
Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles
The NFC East is renowned for its tough NFL rivalries. We’re giving the Cowboys and Eagles the edge this time round, given how often they have fought for divisional titles over the last few decades.
Playing twice a year, there’s plenty of room for tension to build between organizations, players and fans. The Cowboys and Eagles have more at stake than one win when they’re tussling for the division.
The four postseason meetings just add to the legend of the Cowboys vs the Eagles.
Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers
History is the cornerstone of this matchup. The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have been rivals for the best part of a century, and have combined for 22 NFL titles and almost 50 players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The atmosphere at Solider Field or Lambeau Field when these two teams meet is different. Often picked for nationally televised games, it’s always a special occasion, even with the clubs meeting twice every season.
The Wisconsin versus Chicago rivalry has even spread into other sports with the Brewers and Cubs and Bulls and Bucks.
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks
A newer rivalry than others here, the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks only became divisional opponents in 2002. Their general dislike of each other didn’t flourish until a few years later.
It started as Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh bringing their college rivalry into the NFL. Many massive regular season games followed between the two, and they each had trips to the Super Bowl, with the Seahawks beating the Niners on their way to the Big Game.
After a lull, this rivalry has reignited in recent seasons, spurred on by Richard Sherman’s decision to sign in north California.
New York Giants vs New York Jets
This one isn’t like the others. While sharing a stadium, the Giants and Jets rarely meet. The NFL schedule means teams in separate conferences only play once every four years. The Giants and Jets have 14 games against each other all-time.
It’s often referred to as the ‘shortest roadtrip in the league’. Co-habiting in a stadium is going to fuel any rivalry, and that’s obviously been the case here. They might not be going head-to-head every year, but just like the Mets and Yankees, being the two teams in New York brings a natural NFL rivalry.
The Giants own the longest winning streak in the history of this rivalry, winning five straight from 1996 through 2011.