Kriens defines a rivalry and breaks down some of sports? best

Travis Kriens

Travis KriensSDSU Psychic

What makes a rivalry?

It’s that one team that you hate the most. The team that you look forward to playing each season and immediately check the schedule when it comes out to see when another chapter to the rivalry will be written. If your team loses that week, you can at least feel a little better about it if your rival also loses. They are the team that when you are up by five touchdowns in the fourth quarter, you hope to score a couple more and keeping on blitzing their quarterback.

You cheer against them no matter what, unless them winning directly improves your chances to get a better seed for the playoffs or they knock out a team in front of yours. And that win can’t help your rival at all when it comes to making the playoffs or making their season more of a success.

A lot of it has to do with the history between two teams. You usually don’t start out as rivals. Somewhere along the way a moment or a game or a player changes how these two teams view each other. They go from just another team or division opponent to the team that if you could only win one or two games all season long, you want it to be against them.

I think that the best type of rivalry is one where both teams are good and something is on the line when they play nearly every time. While there is still the hatred, underneath that is respect that year in and year out, you know that to get where you want to go, you probably have to take care of business on the field against your rival.

But are some rivalries really rivalries.

Probably the biggest rivalry in NBA is the Lakers and the Celtics. In the 80’s I would call it a rivalry. Every year of the decade saw one of these two teams in the Finals, with them winning eight of them combined. They played in three Finals over four years with the Lakers winning two of them. That is a rivalry. But only in the 80’s. Before that they had met in the Finals seven times in 11 years, mostly in the 1960’s, with Boston winning all seven times. That is not a rivalry.

The Bears and Packers is the longest running rivalry in the NFL with at least one games being played between the two in a non strike year since 1921. They have played 182 times with the most recent coming this past Sunday as the Packers won 21-14 to advance to the Super Bowl.

Growing up, I remember how people would say that the Packers and Bears were rivals and I never really got why. The Bears were never any good when I was a kid while the Vikings and Packers always played close, exciting games that actually meant something in the standings. The Packers-Vikings rivalry is noted for being very balanced. In the first 97 meetings, the total offensive yardage, points scored, wins, turnovers and time of possession are all within five percent of each other. These are the closest margins for a rivalry longer than 15 years. Plus the whole Brett Favre thing.

For example, the Bears and Packers have rarely ever been good at the same time. This year was only the fourth time in the storied and much talked about histories of these two franchises that both have made the playoffs in the same year. From 1942 to 1993, neither team made the playoffs in the same season. They have 21 NFL Championships between them, but only two since 1968.

Usually, big time rivals enhance their battles with epic games in the playoffs. Whether it is Yankees-Red Sox, Colts-Patriots, or Lakers-Celtics, these rivals have played each other with as much on the line as possible. The Bears and Packers have done that twice. In 90 years.

For me, I hate no team more than the Green Bay Packers. I can count the number of times I have wanted them to win on my one hand and that’s only because it would have benefited the Vikings without also helping the Packers.

It goes without saying that I will be cheering for the Steelers to win the Super Bowl even though they have won six of them already.