Bitter Rivals: Which NFL Division Harbors The Most Hate?

By Tom Pollin
July 10, 2013 9:23 am
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In the NFL, as in any competitive league, familiarity breeds contempt. That contempt leads to a spike in fan interest, endless content for newspapers, websites and sports talk radio which results in sold out stadiums along with television ratings that keep the dollars rolling in so the cycle can continue.

What raises a game from just another date on the schedule to a contest that has fans ready to kick down the gates of the stadium to be part of? One incident can spark of bad blood between two teams and their fan bases but put those teams in the same division, facing each other twice every season and an intense, bitter rivalry is sure to erupt.

The NFL is entering the twelfth season since the current division alignment went into effect so it's time to rate which divisions have the best rivalry games.

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By Tom Pollin
Senior Writer
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15 months ago
Great article. As a NFC South fan I agree that this division doesn't usually come to mind when thinking about big or great rivalries. However I did like the two matchups you listed, and as a Tampa Bay fan I do agree our biggest rival is Carolina. NFC North is def. the division with the biggest rivalry games. TB had some great when they were in that division when it was the NFC Central.
15 months ago

Yes Tampa Bay did. They stand as an honorary "Black & Blue Division" brother considering they were part of it for 25 years. One thing that used to be crazy about that alignment was, it seemed nearly every season the NFL schedule makers would have the northern teams playing in Tampa during September and bring the Bucs north in November and December.
15 months ago

What stunk about that was TB's infamous losing streak playing in cold weather
15 months ago
NFC South - Chris Simms, not Phil. :)
15 months ago

Hate when that happens! Thanks for catching that one. It's been fixed.
15 months ago

There was another one. Indianapolis Colt used to play in AFC East with Pats, not AFC North
15 months ago

I usually try to be very careful about pre and post-realignment division names but it's been a long week. I'm going to have it fixed, thanks.
15 months ago
I think you're seriously underestimating the hatred the Jets and the Dolphins have for one another.
15 months ago

That's where I was going, lol, my brother is a hardcore Jets fan, and if the Pats spent a couple seasons at 6-10 he would go right back to hating Miami more than any other team.
15 months ago

I agree. Jet fans really hate Miami. If New England wasn't so dominate, which causes so much hate, I don't think this division would be as high.
15 months ago

I didn't realize that the Marino/O'Brien era generated so much bad blood between the Jets and Dolphins. I see there's a consensus forming that this one is hotter.

In the article my goal was to highlight the "throw away the records when these two teams get together" type of rivalries. Jets/Patriots existed from the beginnings of the AFL which I always thought gave that the time to be one of those.
15 months ago

I like that "Throw away the records..." approach. That's why I was a little surprised the AFC West wasn't a little higher. Those teams have certainly had some bad record to throw away. But I'm getting picky. Great article.
15 months ago
NFC West will rise with the Niners/Seahawks bloodbath coming up in Week 2
15 months ago
Since I was born and raised in the AFC West I'd like to thank you for excluding the Chargers from consideration, Tom. Ron Burgundy said it best...

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