|"This isn't a rivalry bruh! It's just business!"|
I keep hearing people talking about rivalry games in the NFL like Packers/Bears, Steelers/Ravens or even the Cowboys/Redskins and when I do, I simply laugh! You can't use the term "rivalry" when talking about games in the NFL because the players aren't as emotionally involved as the fans. Sure, they want to win but it wouldn't matter who they were playing for. True rivalries only exist at the college level. Professional athletes don't play rivalry games because they didn't choose to play for their particular team, they were drafted. At any given time they can be traded to the opposing team and it wouldn't make a difference to them as long as the money is right.
The fans are the only one's that would look at the game as being a rivalry like the Bears/Packers match up or today's the Cowboys/Redskins game. Yeah... it's a divisional game but it's far from being a rivalry. In order for a game to fall under the tag "rivalry" the players have to be emotionally involved. Let me break it down bruh.
A true rivalry is born out of years tradition and strong hate for the opposing team. There are years of history tied to them and the story behind why the game is played is usually bigger than the game itself. Most of these games have been played for nearly 100 years and the story lines have existed for much longer.
"The Game", Ohio State vs Michigan is one of the greatest rivalries of all-time. History tells us that in 1835 and 1836 the state of Ohio and Michigan territory were involved in a bloody border dispute called the War of Toledo. Many say that the football game is a modern version of this war. This game more often than not will determine the Big Ten Championship and a trip to the beloved Rose Bowl. Now more importantly, the kids playing in this game have dreamed of putting on those uniforms their entire lives. They have a true passion for their respective teams and a hate for the opposing team. I can understand why the Buckeye fans hate Michigan because two out the three Michigan Heisman Trophy winners have come from the state of Ohio; Desmond Howard (Cleveland), Charles Woodson (Fremont).
Another example of a great rivalry would be the Red River Shootout or Rivalry as they call it now, the Oklahoma/Texas game. There is bad blood for various reasons but the most important is the fact that Oklahoma keeps coming over the border(The Red River) and stealing great Texas players. The Oklahoma roster is full of players from Texas. More than 50% of the OU roster consists of kids from Texas. Not everybody from Texas likes the Longhorns bruh! However, not a single player on the Texas roster is from Oklahoma because all kids from the Sooner state love the crimson and cream except for dull Jeremy Shockey who went to Miami. Lol! Can't blame him the U was hot when he went down there.
The game has been played in Dallas every year since 1900 where it's exactly 300 miles from each campus. The tickets for the game are split down the middle of the field at the 50 yard line in the Cotton Bowl, burnt Orange going south and Crimson going north. The Texas folks often refer to OU as the University of Texas at Norman because they have so many players from the Lone Star state. Many of the OU legends and All-American’s have grown up in the state of Texas; Billy Sims(Hooks), Adrian Peterson(Palestine), Brian Bosworth(Irving), Greg Pruitt(Houston), Ricky Dickson(Dallas) just to name a few.
The kids playing in these games have chosen to attend these universities for the sole purpose of playing in games like these. They weren't drafted, they chose to go play for these teams, so it means more to them. The guy playing for the Bears could easily be from New Orleans and could care less about Chicago or the so-called rivalry. He doesn't even live in Chicago because he goes home after the season is over. However, if a kid is playing for Alabama more than likely he can't stand Auburn and has felt that way his entire life. No way would a kid playing at Miami think about transferring to Florida State. That would be blasphemous!
So when I hear people trying to call the Colts/Patriots game a rivalry, I laugh because Adam Venatieri has played for both teams. It's the NFL and when the rivalry is something that only the fans participate in, it's just a game. In order for it to qualify as a legitimate rivalry the players have to care more than the fans do and they simply don't.
Holla At Ya Boy!
Get @ me on Twitter: @jaygravesreport