Who Is The Cowboys Biggest Rival?

Thinking about the NFC East and the upcoming season, I came across an article on Askmen.com highlighting the greatest rivalries in all sports. The Dallas Cowboys actually made the list twice. Cowboys vs. Steelers ranked sixth, while Cowboys vs. Redskins came in fourth.

That fourth-place finish was the highest for any NFL rivalry on the list. North Carolina vs. Duke in NCAA basketball topped the list.

The article provoked the question for me: “Who is the Dallas Cowboys’ biggest rival?” Instead of looking back, let's look at the present and the future, and see who could be making a Top 10 Rivalry list along with the Cowboys down the road.

Make the jump to read about the candidates.

The Cowboys and Redskins has certainly been a compelling rivalry. You need not look back more than a decade to find some thrilling contests between these two old rivals. The image that I most quickly associate with this rivalry is that of Rocket Ismail hauling in a 76-yard touchdown, breaking a 35-35 tie in overtime on opening day 1999. At the same time, I am haunted by recollections of Mark Brunell twice connecting with Santana Moss on long touchdowns as the Redskins rose from the dead to knock off the Cowboys in Week 2 of the 2005 season.

Cowboy fans who were around for the 70’s and 80’s may appreciate this rivalry more than I do. I began watching football as an 8-year-old in 1990. Since that year the Cowboys have gone 24-14 against Washington. The Cowboys turned in  three consecutive 5-11 seasons from 2000-2002. Even during that stretch of mediocrity, the ‘Boys still managed to knock off the ‘Skins in 5 of 6 contests. The rivalry may be great from a historical aspect, but in my young eyes, the hammer and the nail hath no rivalry.

The Cowboys and Eagles have had their fair share of nail biters in recent history. In 1994, Darren Woodson snuffed out Philly’s potential game winning drive with a 94-yard pick-six. In 1995, Emmitt Smith was twice unable to gain one yard on consecutive downs, leading to a turnover on downs, and a game-winning Philadelphia field goal. In 1997, the Eagles botched a would-be game winning field goal when punter Tom Hutton mishandled a snap. Then of course there was 2005, when an all but dead Cowboys squad capped it’s improbable resurrection on a late Roy Williams interception return for touchdown. 2008’s Week 2 contest wasn’t half bad either.

Any rivalry needs a little bit of bad blood, and there has been plenty between these two teams. We have seen Philly fans throw beer and snowballs at Jimmy Johnson, and also cheer while Michael Irvin lay motionless on the field after suffering his career-ending neck injury. Over the years, marquee players like Herschel Walker and Terrell Owens have switched sides, which always adds an interesting dynamic to a rivalry.

While the Cowboys’ rivalries with Philadelphia and Washington have been fantastic, there may be another great rivalry on the horizon.

I may or may not be alone on this, but from a fan’s perspective, my New York Giants 'cauldron of hatred' is spilling over right now. My disgust for the New York Giants was not inspired by their 2007 playoff victory in Texas Stadium, nor am I jealous over watching them win a Super Bowl that season. I’m really just tired of hearing the Giants talk. If it’s not Cheddar Bob Burress trash talking Terrell Owens, it’s Amani Toomer mocking T.O.’s tearful defense of Tony Romo. Antonio Pierce’s sarcasm is nauseating, and why the hell is Justin Tuck grading the Cowboys’ draft? Even Eli Manning has slipped in a few jabs on Romo.

The Cowboys and Giants have all of the components in place for a long-standing, competitive rivalry. There is no shortage of hard feelings between the two teams. The teams have been virtually trading statement wins, seemingly always on national television. Most importantly, both teams appear to be set up to be strong contenders in the division for years to come. I have never heard anything that suggests that Chris Canty was anything other than a good teammate in Dallas. But now that he has switched sides, it will be interesting to see what type of a role he will now play in this series. Cowboys/Giants ought to be entertaining for years to come.

Who do you think is the Cowboys biggest rival?

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