What are the fiercest NFL rivalries?

Packers vs Bears
The Packers and Bears are one of the NFL's most famous rivalries. Photo from TMJ4.

Watching any NFL game is definitely exciting for many reasons, but tuning into the biggest NFL rivalries adds a little more adrenaline. When these adversaries match up, it’s clear that both teams are dialling up their intensity a couple of notches to ensure their opponent doesn’t get the upper hand. The top rivalries in NFL history usually develop over many years, where teams routinely meet in the regular season or the postseason vying for the same recognition.

Biggest NFL rivalries

With the advent of free agency and trades, it’s a little harder for rivalries to persist considering the players are usually on the move after a couple years. Even so, there are weeks players circle on their calendar knowing the history of the matchup.

Let’s take a look at the greatest NFL rivalries of all-time.

Bears vs Packers

While the Packers have enjoyed the benefits of employing quarterback royalty for the better part of 30 years, the Bears have struggled to remain consistent during that time frame.

However, the Chicago-Green Bay rivalry is the oldest in the NFL, as it literally dates back 100 years to their first matchup in 1921. Soldier Field and Lambeau Field have hosted quite a few memorable cold weather tilts between these two teams, who have played at least twice a year in every season since 1925.

They say familiarity breeds contempt, and that is certainly true for these NFC North combatants. Green Bay holds the edge in the head to head matchup 101-95, with six ties mixed in.

Steelers vs Ravens

This is more of a new school rivalry, since the Baltimore Ravens were only conceived in the 1996 NFL season.

Considering their relatively short existence, it’s impressive that Baltimore has developed such a fierce opposition to any opponent. However, they’ve certainly found a willing sparring partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Throughout the course of this century, both teams have been well known for playing physical, smash-mouth defense. In a lot of ways, the roster strengths of both teams have been a mirror image of one another. It’s no secret that the Ravens and the Steelers are each looking to impose their will on the other team, and usually whichever side does it best comes out victorious.

Pittsburgh leads the all time series with a 30-24 record. But in their last 12 matchups, each side has won six games apiece.

Cowboys vs Any NFC East Team

There is definitely an argument to be made that the Cowboys vs Giants, Cowboys vs Washington, or Cowboys vs Eagles should occupy a spot on this list.

At the end of the day though, the animosity Dallas and their fans receive from each of their three division rivals is significant, and it’s hard to choose which matchup is more intense.

The contention derives from the mid to late 1980’s when all four teams were talented and impeccably coached by the likes of Jimmy Johnson, Buddy Ryan, Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs.

Numerous examples can be found where the Cowboys had something the other teams were trying to steal, or vice versa, and it has led to exciting games for about 35 years. After all, Dallas is nicknamed “America’s Team,” so they will always get their opponents’ best shot.

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About Andrew Pistone 75 Articles
Andrew is a contributor to Franchise Sports, who believes that Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's no look pass while being facemasked against the Las Vegas Raiders was better than any Magic Johnson assist on the fast break.

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