Football Friday: When Rivalries Regress

Posted: November 18, 2011 by dontbeskerritt in NFL

In all aspects of competition, whether it is sports or business or life in general, the rivalry brings out the best in opponents and spectators.  From sibling rivalries, battles between royal families, Shakespearian rivalries, Craig vs DeeBo, everyone loves to see how the battle between two nemeses will shape out.  No matter how mismatched the two rivals may be, there is always the sense that either side could take their opponent that day.

Ah the Good Ol' Days

This week my Washington Redskins takes on their arch-rival, the Dallas Cowboys.  Except I don’t think anybody knows.  Nobody is hyped for the game.  There is no, “we can go 2-14 as long as we sweep the Cowboys” type emotions in this game.  Even when the Skins were down in the dumps (pick a year, any year of the last 20 years) I still felt that if we could beat the Boys, the season would be alright. 1995, when we beat the eventual Super Bowl champs at Texas Stadium.  2002, when Stephen Davis fumbled away our first win of the year on Monday Night.  2006 with us blocking the Cowboys FG, Sean Taylor with the run back, and then our own winning field goal.  All of these seasons we were sorry, but as a fan, I always got up for a Cowboys game and I hoped my Skins would do the same.

This Sunday is different though.  There is no trash talk.  No side bets.  By the end of the third when Gross Rexman has thrown his third pick, and DeMarco Murray has 150 yards, I’ll yawn, kick up my feet and sip my Yuengling.  This rivalry is comatose.  It’s comatose because the Redskins refuse to be a competitive franchise.  They cannot bring the best out of the Cowboys anymore, because they can’t bring the best out of themselves.  The team is a lifeless lot.  The Skins let Matt Moore look like a young Matt Hasselbeck last week.  The franchise had a QB competition between the Master of Panic John Beck, and the Master of Disaster Gross Rexman and tried to sell it to its fanbase.

I don’t think the Cowboys even care about the Redskins anymore.  Maybe Jerry Jones, and Troy Aikman when he calls the games cause he remembers Lavar Arrington knocking him into the both.  But do you think that DeMarcus Ware hates the Redskins?  He probably will call Tashard Choice and console him on Monday for being with a sorry bunch.  Do you think that Dez Bryant will give his all against DeAngelo Hall the way Rocket Ishmail would torch Champ Bailey?  The Cowboys are just checking off dates until their Sunday Night showdown with the Giants right now.  It has come to the point that the Cowboys look past the Skins, and it’s actually alright.

Oh what it would be like if Dallas-Washington rivalry would resemble the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry.  The thing is, that is what the rivalry was back in the day.  The Skins-Boys was always a big deal.  NFC Championship games, Monday Night football, stealing fight songs, accusations of cheating by coaches, the rivalry had it all.  The games were intense, passionate, and awesome to watch.  Now its just another game out of 16, after the game you look to who your next opponent is, no passionate postgame interviews afterwards.

It’s a shame when a great rivalry like this regresses.  I look at Chicago-Green Bay.  I don’t think those two teams have played a meaningful game in my lifetime before Week 17 and the NFC Championship Game last year.  The Miami Heat and the New York Knicks used to have street brawls back in the late 90s when they took the court.  But as the Knicks fell into the abyss, the rivalry faded into old youtube clips.  Now with Melo and Amare in the Big Apple, and the Big 3 and their talents in South Beach, the rivalry has new life.  That gives me hope that if the Skins finally turn the corner and become a real NFL franchise again, Dallas Week can have the meaning it once had.  Because right now, on both sides, it has turned into just another game.  Games of the week on the other side of the video, as always best games in bold, second best in italics, if you are watching the third game you need to spend more time with your boo.

Saturday, November 19

12-3pm: Nebraska vs Michigan (ESPN), Cincinnati vs Rutgers (ESPNU), Wisconsin vs Illinois (ESPN2)

3:30-7pm: Penn State vs Ohio State (ABC or ESPN), SMU vs Houston (CSN+), Miami vs South Florida (ESPNU)

8pm: USC vs Oregon (ABC), Virginia vs Florida State (7:30pm ESPN2), Oklahoma vs Baylor (ABC)

Sunday, November 20

1-4pm: Cincinnati vs Baltimore, Tampa Bay vs Green Bay, Dallas vs Washington

4-7pm: San Diego vs Chicago, Tennessee vs Atlanta, Arizona vs San Francisco

  1. LBC says:

    Completely looking pass this game you are absolutely right skerv. The actual rivalry now is only seen between those fans who really don’t follow their franchise and this game is honestly the only thing that matters. I am definitely looking forward to that Giants vs Boys game, and don’t let Philly beat the gmen Sunday night. I will be super amped for that game.

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