NFC East hatred is the best hatred in all of sports.
Yes, better than college rivalries like Duke/North Carolina and better than (sort of) dying baseball rivalries like Red Sox/Yankees. NFC East rivalries run deep, and refuse to die in spite of poor play, bad records, or “meaningless” games. While most NFC East trash talk has begun to boil down to “yeah, my favorite team’s no good but at least they’re not as sorry as yours is,” the fans still live and die on every moment.
I even voluntarily watched the Cleveland Browns last week just because I was hoping to see the Eagles fail. That is how important these rivalries are.
There is no bigger NFC East rivalry than that of the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins.
Even the mascot names are juxtaposed and set the stage for hatred, with the Cowboys framed as the “good guys” (depending who you ask) entering Washington looking for blood.
Since the inception of the Dallas Cowboys in 1960 these two teams have met 112 times, with our Cowboys leading the series with a record of 66-44-2. Only the Philadelphia Eagles have seen the Cowboys more than the Redskins, and the Cowboys’ 66 wins over the Redskins is the most they have against any opponent in history.
Historically, the Cowboys own the Redskins. More recently, well, the Cowboys still own the Redskins. Winning 10 of the last 15 match-ups the Cowboys even found a way to beat Kirk Cousins and company with Matt Cassel at the helm last season, in a thrilling Monday Night game which I’m “sure” will be remembered in Cowboys lore.
Cowboys versus Redskins means something. It always has, and it always will. This is a big game no matter the circumstance. But today, the stakes are even higher than usual.
After falling at the hands of the New York Giants at home in the season opener, the Cowboys absolutely cannot afford to drop this game. Not only would it result in the Cowboys being 0-2, but both losses would come against divisional opponents who will almost certainly be in the playoff race this winter.
On top of that, the New York Giants home game against the New Orleans Saints today could be a cakewalk, potentially putting the Cowboys 2.5 games back of first place only 2 games into the season.
I try to be a level-headed, rational fan, but even I will be “freaking out” if this becomes a reality.
Listen, I understand that it is only game two. I understand that even with a loss, the Cowboys have four divisional games (hopefully all with Tony Romo) left to climb back atop the standings.
Regardless, today’s game is as big as it gets in week two, and I hope for the Cowboys sake and our sake as fans, that Dallas can come through.