Behind NFL's biggest rivalries is more than just a game of football. Fanbases are born and bred to hate some teams more than others, and it could be for something as simple as geographical proximity, or because your head coach in waiting signed his resignation letter on a napkin and joined a hated rival. Whatever the reason, let's take a look at the biggest rivalries in the NFL.
10. New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
The Patriots have absolutely dominated the AFC East in recent times and head into 2022 with a 12-game win streak over the Jets. Despite their dominance, the Jets and Patriots have had an intense rivalry since 1960, when both teams were a part of the American Football League.
The Patriots-Jets rivalry has a long and controversial history of coaches tradings sides. In 2007 things got fiery when Jets' coach and former Patriots assistant Eric Mangini exposed New England illegally videotaping New York's offensive and defensive signals. Belichick was fined $500,000 and the Patriots fined $250,000 in addition to being forced to forfeit their first round pick of the 2008 draft.
Belichick's own arrival at the Patriots was controversial. he was an assistance coach at the Jets and was lined up to take over the head coach role after Bill Parcell's resignation following Super Bowl XXXI. Belichick however, sensationally resigned with his letter written on a napkin, then announcing it during a press conference which was originally organised to announce him as the Jets head coach for the beginning of the 2000-01 season.
Bill Parcell's own New York arrival in 1997 was controversial, the Pats accusing the Jets of tampering in order to sign him in which they'd agree to forfeit multiple draft picks across three years as compensation. Parcells would get the Jets to the 1998 AFC Championship Game, turning around a team that finished 1-15 before his arrival.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
The Steelers-Browns rivalry is the oldest and one of the fiercest in the AFC, dating back to 1950. Pittsburgh and Cleveland are separated by just 135 miles and is about a two hour trip. Between both teams, they've won 10 NFL Championships and have each had their own periods of dominance. In recent times the Steelers have owned the rivalry and are some way ahead in the all-time series.
In 2021 the Steelers and Browns would meet for only the third time ever in a play-off game, the Browns blowing out the Steelers 28-0 in the first quarter before winning 48-37 at Heinz Field. It was Cleveland's first play-off win against Pittsburgh and the first playoff win for the Browns in 26 years.
8. Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Packers and Vikings are vicious NFC rivals which began in 1961 when the Vikings were established as an NFL expansion franchise. Fans in Western Wisconsin suddenly had their loyalties divided, friends and families now becoming rivals as they picked their allegiances.
Although the Packers-Bears rivalry is considered historical and arguably one of the greatest in the NFL, it's the Packers-Vikings that's considered more important in determining the winner of the NFC North, with the Vikings a more successful team against the Packers than the Bears and Lions have been.
...I'll be back tomorrow with Part 2 of the 10 Biggest Rivalries in the NFL. Who's on your list?
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