10 Biggest Rivalries in Sports

By PJ Chandra

Rivalry week. The most intense week of College Football. From the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn to states playing in school rivals like Texas vs. Texas Tech, Washington vs. Washington State, and Florida vs. Florida State, tensions are high all throughout. It’s during Thanksgiving week so I’m sure families who have kids and relatives who have all gone to different schools will be completely calm and rational while the Dallas Cowboys are on as well. There are rivals all over the place, but what are the ten biggest rivalries in all of sports in 2019?


10. Damian Lillard vs. Russell Westbrook 

The rivalry between Damian Lillard, guard for the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA and Russell Westbrook, guard for the Houston Rockets (formerly of the Oklahoma City Thunder where this rivalry started)  is there because of the passion that these guys have for the game and both of these players said they weren’t intimidated by each other. In the playoffs, this past year, Damian Lillard hit the game-winning 3 to send the Trail Blazers to the next round and sent Westbrooks team packing.


9. Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby, hockey player of the Pittsburgh Penguins has three titles and Alex Ovechkin, of the Washington Capitals has one, but on an individual this fierce but media driven has produced epic clashes on the Ice, as they entered the league one year after (Crosby entered a year after Ovehckin), but with constant chipping and fighting on the ice, the Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry pushed by the fact that one is on the Penguins and the other is on the Capitals who hate each other. 


8. Army vs. Navy Football

The Army–Navy rivalry rises from the fact that they play an annual college football meeting in the middle of December often attended by presidents and it is a rivalry because there is insane, intense pride between different branches of the armed forces. All time, Navy leads 60–52–7. 


7. The debate over if Lebron James or Michael Jordan is the GOAT?

Constant media takes from the likes of Colin Cowherd, Nick Wright, Stephen A. Smith, and many more on who the GOAT of the NBA is (It’s LeBron), but the enthusiasm and the constant heated debates in the media makes it interesting and a fierce rivalry indeed.


6. Messi vs. Ronaldo

The two greatest soccer players of our generation, Lionel Messi from Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, have played each other twice on the International level, but they have met 35 times and Messi lead 16-10-9 in terms of wins. Messi is best known for his passing and his free kicks, while Ronaldo is known for his footwork and fancier moves. Hopefully these two can meet in the World Cup in 2022 in Qatar. 


5. India Cricket vs. Pakistan Cricket

Why not throw an international rivalry in here? These two countries have hated each other for decades and whenever they meet in an international game, it is like a national holiday in these two countries. Pakistan leads all time 76-71, but recently including this past World Cup in England, India has been getting the better of Pakistan.


4. Duke vs. UNC Basketball

Roy Williams. Mike Krzyzewski. The ACC. Same state. The rivalry dates back a long time and North Carolina leads 139 - 112 in the all time series. Coach K goes, “the pain of losing that game would be unbearable for the defeated school and its fans,” which shows that families and students have so much pride and energy on the line for this rivalry. 


3. Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer 

In the olden days, what mattered more in tennis was who was the number one ranking at the end of the year. Now, it’s all about who has the most majors. Currently, Federer has 20 and Nadal has 19 (but 12 of them are on Clay so like come on now). They have always had great respect and admiration for each other, but on the court they always are in fierce battles from Nadal’s topspin heavy forehands to Federer’s quick serve and volley tactics, these two may be the greatest tennis players of all time. 


2. Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

This classic NFC East rivalry is all the way at number two because of the fierceness and passion that these teams have. Whenever they play each other in the week leading up to it, it is always referred to as “Eagles Week” or “Cowboys Week”  The Cowboys lead the overall series, 69–52, but they always seem to have a big game late in the season that decides who goes to the playoffs and who is eliminated. “I really want to kill Cowboys fans,” says one anonymous Eagles fan. 


1.Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees

This century old baseball rivalry has produced some legendary fights, postseason moments, incredible players, and just an all around iconic part of millions of fans in the countries. From the curse of the bambino to political rivalries, this rivalry certainly always produces for the media, for the fans, and for its cities. (Yes Boston is better than New York and yes the Red Sox having more titles this century is more relevant than the Yankees having 25 titles before the GPS was a thing in 2000.) 


Honorable Mention: Democrats vs. The Electoral College, Clay Travis vs. CNN, Barstool Sports vs. Liberals, Donald Trump vs. Owning an NFL Team


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