Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Icing on the Cake

In the wake of an incredibly disappointing season for our hometown Dallas Cowboys, fans will now be subjected to two of the Cowboys' biggest historic rivals playing for the ultimate prize on our home field. Tom Landry must be rolling over in his grave. Granted the Cowboys arguably have more rivals than any other NFL team. We are essentially the New York Yankees of football, fans either love us, or have a seething hatred for us; there's not much in between. Outside of division opponents (which are all huge rivalries), the 49ers, Texans, Bills, Dolphins, Raiders, and Broncos can all be considered rivals of the Cowboys, among others. But there is no doubt that historically, (besides the Redskins, Eagles, and Giants) the Packers and Steelers are the Cowboys greatest rivals. Of course, as a Cowboys fan, I can root for the Packers without vomiting, which is why I will be pulling hard for them to win this SuperBowl.

The infamous Ice Bowl shot the Green Bay into legend, and sent the 'Boys packing
The Cowboys-Packers rivalry goes way back, and does not have quite the intensity it use to. Nonetheless it is there. As the Packers won one NFL championship after another, the fledgling Cowboys gradually grew to prominence. It all came to a head in the NFL Championships before the first 2 Superbowls, both of which the Cowboys lost. Both games came down to the wire. In 1966, it was in the Cotton Bowl that Green Bay came away with a 34-27 victory after Don Meredith threw the game ending INT in the 4th quarter in the red zone. Then in 1967 came the infamous Ice Bowl at Lambeau Field. Temperatures were as low as -15 degrees with a wind chill of -48. Both teams slugged it out, but in the end it was Bart Starr's QB sneak for a touchdown as time expired that won the game yet again for the Packers. Both years Green Bay went on to win the SuperBowl, creating an enduring legacy. Many have speculated that had the outcome of those two NFL championships been different, teams would likely play for the Landry Trophy, rather than the Lombardi Trophy. 
Hatred runs deep in the Cowboys-Steelers rivalry
The Pittsburgh Steelers were actually the first ever team to play the Dallas Cowboys in 1960. Coincidently, the Steelers became the first ever team to beat the Cowboys in that very same game. It is also worth noting that the Steelers' franchise voted against putting an NFL team in Dallas. The hatred has grown from there. The Cowboys and Steelers were easily the best teams of the 70's. The Cowboys played the Steelers in twice in the SuperBowl in the 70's, with the Steelers winning both close games. The two teams reprised their SuperBowl rivalry in 1995, with this time the outcome being a Dallas victory. Every meeting between these two teams has been intense. Similarities between Pittsburgh and Texas fuel the rivalry and the common hatred as well. 

This year the Steelers tied the Cowboys record for most SuperBowl berths at 8. Two years ago, the Steelers surpassed the Cowboys to become the first ever team to win 6 SuperBowls. I can imagine nothing worse than Pittsburgh extending that lead, winning a record 7th SuperBowl title, and celebrating it on the Cowboys home turf. Cowboys nation can only hope the the Lombardi Trophy goes "home" to historic Green Bay. (Plus that would mean former Horned Frog Marshall Newhouse would get a ring, and TCU SuperBowl Champs are never a bad thing)

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