Isn't it the best feeling when you check your team's schedule and see that matchup with your most hated rival coming up? There's just something about rivalry games, everyone gets excited for them. It doesn't matter where the teams are in the standings, or who's playing and not playing, you know both sides are going to give everything they have for a victory. Rivalries in sports make for the most compelling storylines, the best trash talking, and the most exciting games to watch. Fans become so invested in these types of games and rivalries that if their team loses, it may actually be bad for their health.
There are countless instances of individual rivalry in the world of sport. Some of the most popular examples of this are Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. However, for this list, I have decided to narrow it down to only team rivalries. The reason for this is honestly because I think teams have the best rivalries. They last longer, have a more storied history, and in my opinion, the hatred is stronger from each side. These teams have all of those attributes and then some, here are the ten most famous sports rivalries.
Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines (College Football)
I'll kick off this list with one of the most well-known and longest-running rivalries in college football. The Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes rivalry has pitted two states against each other. When Ohio and Michigan play, everyone knows about it. These two teams can't stand one another and it's been like that for years and years. Here's hoping it stays that way.
Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins (Hockey)
Next on my list of the ten most famous sports rivalries, we come to two original six teams. The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have been going after each other for decades. This rivalry has had it all: fights, high-scoring games, controversial moments, incredible playoff series, and even goalie fights. Whenever these two teams meet it is must watch TV, you will be sure to see fireworks.
Real Madrid and Barcelona (Soccer)
The first soccer entry on my list of the ten most famous sports rivalries, and the one every soccer fan knows of. El Clasico is the name given to the games when Real Madrid and Barcelona meet, and they never disappoint. Although they've been rivals for a long time, the feud has really hit its peak over the last decade. This is mainly because the two best players in the world have been front and center for every game. Cristiano Ronaldo has led Madrid while Lionel Messi has done the same for Barcelona. Every game is hard fought, intense, and full of tremendous skill. Let's enjoy this rivalry for as long as we can, it may be a while until we see one of this class and quality again.
Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers (College Football)
"Roll Tide Roll" has gone up against "War Eagle" for as long as anyone can remember. And they've despised each other for just as long. It is amazing to think these two fan bases survive in the same state. If you're from Alabama, you pick a side and live with it for the rest of your life. Trying to avoid these two forces is almost impossible, they're almost like black holes. They suck everything in around them and nothing can escape. The craziest participant in this rivalry received three years in prison for poisoning Toomer's Corner oak trees at Auburn. Will it get crazier than that in the future? Almost certainly so.
New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox (Baseball)
What would a list of the most famous sports rivalries look like without the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees? I don't know, but I would have to assume it would look grotesque and unnatural. The rivalry has been a part of popular culture in America for decades. As the two teams are World Series contenders most seasons by utilizing their deep pockets, this rivalry sure isn't going anywhere. If you're ever in either city rooting for the other team, be smart, don't ask for directions from locals or anything else that will come back to bite you, it's common sense at this point.
Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics (Basketball)
A battle between so many hall of famers, the basketball hall of fame should have a section just for this rivalry. Let's run through the cornucopia of players who have participated in this rivalry: Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. And those are just the names that met in the NBA Finals... Yeah, that's insane. The two teams have the most championships in NBA history (17 for the Celtics and 16 for the Lakers) and have gone head to head in the finals a record 12 times. These two teams are locked in a rivalry of ultimate NBA supremacy that may never end.
Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears (Football)
The longest-running NFL rivalry is next up on my list of the most famous sports rivalries. The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears have gone head to head more times than any two other teams in league history. Their rivalry has spanned generations and has officially become football lore. From Vince Lombardi and his numerous Super Bowl victories to Mike Ditka's 1985 champion Bears who featured, arguably, the best NFL defense in history, this rivalry has been outstanding. While it has faltered in recent years, it will always remain one of the best NFL matchups to watch.
Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings (Hockey)
Another matchup of two original six teams finds its way on our list of most famous sports rivalries. The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings have been going at it for almost 100 years. Their rivalry has had no shortage of star power, it has included names like: Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and more recently, Pavel Datysuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane. Hopefully, the list of superstar players in this battle will continue to grow and the two teams never get along.
Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball)
The most recently revived entry on my list of famous sports rivalries goes to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. I say "revived" because the Cubs finally broke the their championship drought (the longest one in sports at the time) and have become a stacked club with a bright future. The Cardinals are in playoff contention every year and last season's "failure" of missing the playoffs (they still won 83 games), shows you how committed to success they are. With both squads being legitimate contenders for the first time in a while, get excited to watch this rivalry for the next couple of years.
North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils (College Basketball)
As I finish my list of most famous sports rivalries, we come across another college basketball feud. The North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils do not like each other, to put it simply. The two superpowers of the college basketball world always seem to come together and create the biggest moments. Both chase UCLA's record 11 championships and will continue to do so (and hate each other) for the foreseeable future.