Cheap Seats: Hammer and Nail
By: Les Barnhart 
Posted: 2004-09-30
Category: Washington Redskins News
When I think of sports rivalries, I think of two teams that hate each other and subsequently beat each other up when they play and their fans share that passion. Some of the great rivalries that jump to my mind are the Redskins-Cowboys, Steelers-Browns, Dolphins-Bills, Penn State-Pitt, Florida State-Miami, Georgia-Florida, Cubs-Cardinals, Yankees-Red Sox and Duke-Kentucky. Part of the formula for a successful rivalry is that it is two sided. As in you can apply the old adage, "you can throw the teams records out when they square off". Leading up to Monday night's Redskins-Cowboys game, I had been thinking a great deal about "the rivalry".

During the game, ABC posted a statistic which detailed the last 13 games between the Redskins and Cowboys. The Cowboys, after Monday nights win, now are 13-1 in the last 14 games played against the Redskins. My guess is that the Cowboys don't hold such an advantage over any other team in the league. It set me to thinking about this "rivalry". A true rivalry has two teams that don't have a decided advantage in one teams favor. One team has as much chance as the other does. Don't get me wrong, despite losing, the Redskins are a much different team that those who played in the previous 13 games against the Cowboys. The problem is the result was once again the same. The Cowboys are to the point where they EXPECT to win the games against the Redskins.

Is this rivalry still a rivalry or is it just anger because we can't beat "America's Team"? We, as Redskins fans will always hate the Cowboys but that may be something that is bred into us. Some Cowboy fans don't share that sentiment about the Redskins and maybe for good reason. Yes, having Coach Gibbs being back will pump some energy into the fans and franchise. But much like in baseball where that sport's most storied rivalry, the Yankees and Red Sox, has lost some of its luster in many Yankee fans eyes, the component that makes a rivalry is that the teams have to beat each other. If not, it is just one team beating up on another. The Red Sox mount their charge, make lots of noise and get their fans riled up but in the end, they lose to the hated Yankees. They lose, not because the Yankees are a better team, but rather because the Yankees EXPECT to win.

I see the rivalry being more of a fan rivalry because we so badly want to have those days back when the Redskins and Cowboys hated each other so bad that even players named Dallas were told to change their names if they wanted to wear the Burgundy and Gold. As it stands though, I see the Cowboys and Redskins as a hammer and nail. For you see, between the hammer and nail, there is no rivalry. One simply pounds the other one flat and they ready itself for the next time they meet. So until the Redskins can stand up and win back some respectability in this "rivalry", they are simply serving as the nails which hold together the Cowboys house of cards.

--Wingman
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