Part of the fun of being a sports fan is getting in on rivalries. Read on to learn about the seven biggest rivalries in sports history.
The New York Yankees are America’s most hated baseball team.
The New York Yankees are also America’s favorite baseball team.
That sounds like a contradiction, but polling indicates that somehow, Americans both love to love the Yankees and love to hate them.
The general sense of hatred among fans is one thing, but the intensity ramps up even more if you follow a team that’s one of New York’s bitterest rivals.
Keep reading for more on seven of the biggest rivalries in sports.
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees.
As mentioned above, there’s no love lost between the Red Sox and Yankees. The two teams are separated by a little over 200 miles, making this a battle for the Northeast.
Nearly 100 years ago, the Red Sox sent Babe Ruth to the Yankees. After that fateful day in 1919, the Yankees were so good and the Red Sox were so hapless that Boston blamed their troubles on the “Curse of the Bambino.”
It took 86 years to break the curse, and to do so, guess who Boston had to beat in the playoffs? Yup, the Yankees. In 2004, the Red Sox were down 0-3 in the American League Championship Series.
Somehow, they found a way to win four games in a row over their hated rivals. Once they got to the World Series, they made quick work of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Red Sox also won it all in 2007 and 2013, but they’re still way behind the Yankees in terms of overall championships. They have 8; New York has 27.
Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers.
The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers had their first meeting all the way back in 1921. They’ll have their next one in December of 2018.
It’s one of the oldest rivalries in all of the NFL, with nearly 200 completed Bears-Packers games. Green Bay leads the series, barely. The Packers also have more Super Bowl titles than the Bears.
The most recent meeting between these two was especially dramatic. In Week 1 of the 2018 season, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers left the game with an injury, then returned in the second half to make up a 20-point deficit and lead Green Bay to the win.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins.
Here we have our first rivalry between teams in different countries. The Canadiens (also known as the Habs) and Bruins are two of the Original Six teams in the National Hockey League.
If familiarity breeds contempt, then it makes sense that these guys would be sick of each other: They’ve squared off more than any other two teams in the NHL.
Sometimes, famous rivalries lead to famous riots. The so-called “Richard Riot” gets its name from Maurice Richard, a player for the Canadiens.
In March 1955, a Bruins player committed a penalty known as high-sticking to strike Richard in the head. Richard had to get stitches for the cut, and he retaliated by first attacking the Bruin with his stick, and then eventually punching a hockey official in the face.
It was so bad that Boston police wanted to arrest Richard. Instead, the NHL suspended him for the rest of the season. Montreal fans responded by rioting, leading to multiple injuries and arrests.
Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady.
These two legendary quarterbacks had their first meeting in 2001 and their final one in 2016. Tom Brady spent all of those years with the New England Patriots, while Peyton Manning started with the Colts and spent the last four years of his career with the Denver Broncos.
Manning fans call him a smarter quarterback who lacked support from his team, while the Brady fans point to his five Super Bowl championships as undeniable proof that he’s the all-time greatest. Manning only has two Super Bowl titles, one with the Colts and one with the Broncos.
Manning and Brady played each other almost every season between 2001 and 2016, whether in the regular season, the playoffs, or both. Brady and the Patriots have won more games overall, but Manning’s team won three of their five playoff battles.
Michigan vs. Ohio State.
You should not wear an Ohio State Buckeyes T-shirt in Ann Arbor, Michigan. By the same token, you also shouldn’t wear a Michigan Wolverines cap in Columbus, Ohio. Anyone who does is trying to make the local fans angry.
The annual Buckeyes versus Wolverines football game is known as “The Game.” There are few college sports rivalries more intense than this one.
They met for the 114th time in 2017, and their 115th meeting will take place on Nov. 24, two days after Thanksgiving. Last year, Ohio State mounted a comeback to stun Michigan in Ann Arbor, so you can expect Michigan to be looking for revenge in Columbus.
USA vs. Russia.
The Cold War ended a while ago, but it’s never over when it comes to sports. During Olympic years, the biggest rivalry in sports is arguably the one between USA and Russia.
America’s hockey team pulled off one of the most famous upsets in history against the USSR in 1980’s “Miracle on Ice” at the Lake Placid Winter Games. The team of no-name Americans won 4-3 against the Soviets in the medal round, then beat Finland in the next game to take home gold.
The two nations are still hockey rivals, but they also compete hard against each other in sports like basketball, figure skating, gymnastics, and swimming.
The Golden State Warriors vs. Everyone Else.
The Golden State Warriors have won 3 of the 4 last NBA titles. They faced the Cleveland Cavaliers in every single one of those NBA Finals match-ups.
Until summer 2018, you could say that the Golden State Warriors’ biggest rival was Cleveland, but former Cavs star LeBron James is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Getting any Lakers tickets just got a lot harder, and getting Lakers vs. Warriors tickets will be all but impossible unless you’re rich.
As an NBA fan in 2018, you have two options: Root for Goliath, or root for another team to rise up and become the David that defeats Goliath.
Beyond the Biggest Rivalries
When it comes to the biggest rivalries, you can’t watch the game from your couch. You need to find a way to get to the stadium or arena and watch the action live.
We can help you get to a game without having to sell an organ. Check out our ticket offerings, then start stocking up on face paint in your favorite team’s colors.