The 10 Greatest Rivalries in Sports
From boxing’s latest beef to the East Coast’s favorite feud, here are some of the most legendary rivalries in sports.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor
The rivalry between undefeated boxer Mayweather and UFC featherweight fighter McGregor has been taking over the news the past several months. While not a rivalry that has been around for decades, the tension started building two years ago when McGregor was asked if he would take on Mayweather in boxing, and he loudly said yes. From there trash talking and insults started being passed between the two and rumors were started about a potential fight. Now, after two years of talking about fighting, the two new rivals will box on August 26, 2017 in Las Vegas.
Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Considered one of the best rivalries in the NBA, the Celtics and the Lakers have been long-time rivals. The two teams have faced-off in the finals 12 times since 1959. Both teams dominated in the 1980s and their rivalry peaked with stars Magic Johnson and Larry Bird leading their respective teams to eight championships in the decade. The two teams have the highest numbers of championships won between them and the Celtics currently lead 200-159 over the Lakers.
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
Perhaps one of the best known rivalry in MLB history, the Yankees and Red Sox have competed in over 100 MLB seasons and have developed an intense rivalry. One staple event of the tension between these two teams was in the 1919-1920 offseason when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, beginning “The Curse of Bambino” where the Red Sox didn’t win a World Series for 86 years. Yankees vs. Red Sox games continue to be the most-watched out of any MLB game every season.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears rivalry dates back to 1924 and is the NFL’s most-played matchup, playing each other at least twice every regular season. The Packers hold the record for the longest winning streak, defeating the Bears in 10 games between 1994 and 1998. The two teams hold 22 championship titles combined, including five Super Bowls. As of December, 2016, the series sits at 94-94 with 6 ties.
Chicago Cubs vs. Saint Louis Cardinals
The Cubs and Cardinals rivalry, also referred to as the Route 66 rivalry, has stayed consistent since its beginning in 1892. The teams have played each other over 2,300 times, with the Cubs holding a slight lead in regular season wins but the Cardinals leading in World Series wins. One highlight of this rival was in 1998 with the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run record chase, with McGwire breaking the record with 70 home runs and Sosa finishing with 66. The matchup of these two teams each season continues to draw fans and bring competitive play.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins
The Canadiens and Bruins have played each other more than any other NHL teams and their rivalry is largely known. It began in 1924 when the teams met for the first time. The two teams have gone head-to-head nearly every season since, and their rivalry has led to some violent incidences such as the 1955 episode between Maurice Richard and Hal Laycoe. The love lost continues between these two teams who have met a record of nine times in Game 7 NHL Playoff Games.
Payton Manning vs. Tom Brady
For quarterback vs. quarterback rivalry, there’s nothing quite like the rivalry between Payton Manning and Tom Brady. The two have played each other a total of 17 times, with Brady leading the series 11-6. Between 2001 and 2015, the two played each other at least once almost every season. They have also played each other in five NFL playoffs.
Alabama vs. Auburn
The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers hold one of the most intense college football rivalries. The first meeting was in 1893, and they compete annually in the Iron Bowl. Alabama and Auburn are two of the most elite teams in college football, together totaling 35 SEC titles. Alabama currently leads the series 45-35-1.
Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal
The rivalry between Djokovic and Nadal started when they met for the first time in 2006, meeting multiple times every year since. Their rivalry really sparked when they played their first Grand Slam final against each other in the 2010 US Open. They have played 50 matches between them, and though Nadal dominated the rivalry early on, Djokovic leads the series by a slight margin of 26-24.
Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers
The first meeting between the Ravens and the Steelers was in 1996. They compete against each other at least twice a year and have one of the most intense rivals in the NFL. They are the only teams in the AFC North to win the Super Bowl. The Steelers currently lead the series 25-21-0.