Submitted by otssupport on Thu, 09/08/2011 - 01:00
slideshow: 12 of the most heated team rivalries in sports
Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat
The brewing rivalry between the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat was jump-started last year when the highly favored Heat were pitted against the Mavs, the team Miami defeated in 2006 to win its first NBA title. Mavs guard Jason Terry started the trash talk by questioning LeBron James' ability to carry the Heat through the series. James and Dwyane Wade responded by making fun of flu-stricken Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki. After a few in-game scuffles, Dallas had the last laugh, defeating Miami 4-2 to win its first NBA title.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins rivalry may not be the oldest in hockey (that distinction belongs to the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs), but it is arguably the most entertaining. For years, Philadelphia's blue-collar, bruising style dominated until Pittsburgh refined its offense with high-scoring superstars Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. With the rise of Penguins mega-star Sidney Crosby, the rivalry has been rekindled.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts is a modern rivalry that is usually billed as a showdown between two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But the rivalry isn't just about who has the best QB – the Patriots and Colts have won a combined four Super Bowl titles since 2001.
USA vs. Mexico
For decades, Mexico's soccer team dominated the CONCACAF region: North America, Central America and the Caribbean. In the early '90s, the United States made major strides in improving its game, sparking a hard-fought rivalry that resulted in plenty of in-game skirmishes
. In 2002, the U.S. defeated Mexico 2-0 in the World Cup, prompting U.S. fans to use the phrase "dos a cero" as a taunt. In the last two CONCACAF Gold Cups, Mexico has defeated the United States: 5-0 in 2009 and 4-2 in June of this year.
Brazil vs. Argentina
One of the fiercest rivalries in world soccer, Brazil vs. Argentina features two South American powerhouses that consistently produce some of the best players in the game. Most mentions of the rivalry will also bring on a decades-long debate: who is the greatest player ever
? Brazil's Pele or Argentina's Diego Armando Maradona? The debate will rage on, but for now, Brazil currently holds bragging rights with five World Cups to Argentina's two.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Dallas Cowboys may be "America's Team," but they get no respect from the "City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia. The Eagles, known for their die-hard yet pessimistic
fans, absolutely loathe their NFC East counterparts in Dallas. The feeling in Cowboy country is mutual. After the NFL and AFL merger, the Eagles stopped winning championships. The Cowboys, however, hold five Super Bowl wins – second only to the Pittsburgh Steelers. .
Chivas vs. América
When América and Chivas meet in Mexico's Super Clásico, most of the country stops what it's doing. Mexico City's América, known for spending cash on top players, and Guadalajara's Chivas, known for fielding only Mexican players, are the two most popular teams in the country. If you love one, there's no choice but to hate the other, and the players, who have been in many fights over the years, agree.
Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
The oldest rivalry in the NFL, the Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers, features two teams with die-hard, blue collar fans who will sit through rain, snow and freezing temperatures to see their team get a W. The rivalry became legendary in the '60s, with Hall of Fame coaches Vince Lombardi and George Halas battling it out for supremacy. Last year, the rivalry heated up once again, when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears on their way to a Super Bowl victory.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona
Much like América vs. Chivas, Spain's Real Madrid vs. Barcelona is a battle of philosophies: Real Madrid spends millions on buying the top players in the world while Barcelona looks to pluck future stars from its talented youth ranks. The rivalry is further fueled by politics: during the Spanish Civil War, Real Madrid was considered Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's team while Barcelona and its supporters maintained a fierce anti-Franco stance.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are the most successful franchises in the NBA, with 33 NBA titles between them – more than the rest of the league combined. In the '80s, the emergence of superstars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson led to one of the most heated rivalries of the decade. In 2008, the rivalry was renewed when the Celtics defeated the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Two years later, the Lakers beat the Celtics in a hard-fought seven-game NBA Finals.
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Giants vs. Dodgers rivalry dates back to the 1890's, when both teams were based in New York. After the Giants moved from Manhattan to San Francisco and the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, the rivalry endured, with the two teams becoming bitter division rivals. If the Giants and Dodgers aren't fighting for a pennant, they're fighting for bragging rights or looking to play spoiler at the end of the season.
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
The rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, which is now in its 100th year, is arguably the greatest rivalry in American sports. There is no love lost between Boston and New York fans, and they wouldn't have it any other way. During the '90s, Boston fans watched as the Yankees won World Series after World Series. But in 2004, the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino
, beating the Yankees in dramatic fashion on the way to their first World Series title since 1918.