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5 of the Biggest NFL Rivalries

Photo of an old leather football sitting next to a red football helmet. Sports

Some of the biggest NFL rivalries are based on proximity. Others are inspired by a single play that leaves a bad taste in the mouth of an entire fanbase. Either way, these rivalries inspire fierce competition on the field and palpable tension in the stands. 

Before the season begins, let’s take a look at five of the biggest rivalries in the NFL. 

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

The first game between these storied franchises actually dates back to before the existence of the NFL and the Chicago Bears moniker. The Green Bay Packers met the Decatur Staleys on Nov. 27, 1921, and fell 20-0 in an American Professional Football Association matchup. In 1924, after the Staleys changed their name, the rivalry game produced the NFL’s first-ever ejection for fighting as Chicago’s Frank Hanny and Green Bay’s Tillie Voss each got tossed.

Ahead of the 2023-24 NFL season, these two squads have won five Super Bowls and have 67 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Both teams currently play in the NFC North.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders

The Kansas City Chiefs (previously Dallas Texans) and Las Vegas Raiders (previously Oakland Raiders) met for the first time in 1960. The rivalry developed later in the decade, however, when the Kansas City Athletics baseball team moved to Oakland. Kansas City got its own MLB expansion team in 1969, but the Royals were placed in the same division as the A’s making things personal between the two cities. 

One particularly tense matchup came in 1970 when the Chiefs held a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Chiefs Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson ran for a first down and fell to the ground to run out the clock. A Raiders defensive end dove and hit Dawson with his helmet, which prompted retaliation from a Kansas City wide receiver and started a bench-clearing brawl. After penalties were assessed, the Chiefs were forced to punt and the Raiders tied the game with a field goal. Both teams play in the AFC West and each has three Super Bowl titles.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Although this is one of the league’s newer rivalries, you can still expect plenty of bad blood between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens on game day. Part of the conflict comes from proximity as both are a mere four-hour drive away from each other. That makes cities like Harrisbug, Pa., become a battleground between franchises. 

Both teams have established themselves as defensive powerhouses, making for a very physical matchup every year. There is also a lot on the line as they battle for the AFC North title. Both teams have won two Super Bowl championships since the rivalry began and the Steelers hold a narrow 33-25 lead in the series going into the 2023-24 season. 

Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Commanders

This rivalry features two of the league’s winningest teams: the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders. Since 1960, they have met more than 120 times and have combined to win 37 division titles and eight Super Bowls. The Cowboys and the Commanders are also two of the wealthiest franchises in the league, both playing out of the NFC East.

In 1958, Texas oil tycoon Clint Murchison Jr. actually tried to buy the Washington team from George Preston Marshall, but the deal fell through at the last minute. Through a wild turn of events, Murchison ended up with the rights to Washington’s new fight song and used it to convince Marshall to vote and approve a new franchise in Dallas in return for the rights to the song. 

On the field, there have been a number of highlight-reel-worthy moments including a last-minute comeback in 1974 with rookie backup Clint Longley under center for the Cowboys and Washington’s surprising 1992 victory, which was aided by a fourth-quarter fumble recovery.

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

This is another great regional battle that transcends football and affects other sports like baseball and hockey as well. The New York Giants routed the Philadelphia Eagles 56-0 when they met for the first time in 1933. The scores, and the overall record, have been much closer since then and the Eagles now hold a slight 93-88-2 lead entering the 2023-24 NFL season. That includes five postseason matchups.

In 1960, Giants running back Frank Gifford sustained one of the hardest blindside hits in NFL history as he was knocked unconscious. Another historic moment was “The Fumble,” which occurred in 1978 when the Giants dropped a handoff and Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards ran it back for a game-winning score. It’s often called The Miracle at the Meadowlands. The Eagles scored a similar walk-off touchdown in 2010 when DeSean Jackson returned a punt 65 yards with no time left on the clock.

NFL Tickets

From preseason matchups to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, Nev., you can watch your favorite team take the field this season with NFL tickets from TicketSmarter. If you want to catch a road game, make sure to check HotelPlanner for exclusive travel deals across the country.