Washington Redskins fans — it’s time to put away your father’s rivalry.
Silence those “We want Dallas” chants that have softened to a clichéd whisper over recent years, especially when the Cowboys supporters owned the stands and their team owned the field. It’s time to move on from this tired rivalry that many players didn’t even know existed in recent years.
It’s time to hate the Philadelphia Eagles more.
The New York Giants and Eagles were always tied for second biggest rival after the Cowboys, but really only past hype Dallas ahead. Philadelphia and New York are only an Amtrak ride away, while Dallas was forced into the NFC East in 1961 when there weren’t many teams west of the Pecos.
Late coach George Allen made Dallas the team’s top rival over the Giants when arriving in 1971, simply because the Cowboys were the top team back then. Allen knew the Redskins needed to beat the Cowboys to make the playoffs so he put everything into those games. And they were great games, including two NFC Championship victories. Aside Super Bowl wins, the team’s greatest victories in the modern age were beating Dallas twice to reach Super Bowls.
But the animosity seems so forced since coach Norv Turner left Dallas to take over Washington in 1993. Turner loved the Cowboys, even bringing seven players with him that year. He won two titles as the offensive coordinator so why wouldn’t he have fond memories of Dallas? Indeed, Dallas fans pined for his return for many years. Some Redskins fans still think Turner was a Cowboys secret agent sent to destroy Washington.
The hatred shrank under Turner as did the team’s win totals. It’s hard to have a fierce rivalry when the games aren’t for first place. Indeed, the Redskins beat the Eagles to win the 2015 NFC East crown and were eliminated by the Giants in the 2017 finale to miss the postseason. That’s who fans should hate more than the Cowboys anymore.
Ranking the Redskins’ rivals really doesn’t go far past the division. Baltimore, through its closest proximity, is Washington’s No. 4 foe, with Seattle next after a couple of recent playoff losses. Pittsburgh is No. 6, because there are lots of Steelers fans around Washington. Denver moves to No. 7 if the Broncos end up with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Then it quickly gets less emotional. Tampa Bay (preseason finale foe) and old NFC East members Arizona and the Los Angeles Rams round out the Top 10. And in the spirit of 106.7 The Fan host Grant Paulsen, the rivalry pecking order then goes Atlanta, Carolina, Green Bay, Oakland, New Orleans, Minnesota, Kansas City, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, Miami, Indianapolis, New England, Buffalo, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Houston, New York Jets, Cincinnati, Cleveland and the Los Angeles Chargers, respectively.
The Eagles are the NFL’s best and closest NFC team to Washington. It’s hard to prefer Baltimore given Washington only plays the Ravens once every three years, while facing the Eagles six times over that span.
Eagles games are always the most unpredictable games each year for the Redskins. It’s when the weirdest plays and costliest injuries seem to come. If Washington wants to regain its glory, they’ll need to go through Broad Street.
That will make it personal.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.