This post appeared originally two years ago but the logic still holds and we still wait.
We can’t take sole credit for the following. The concept of an NFL Rivalry Sunday has been around for a while and though folks like Peter King of SI.com have championed it we offer our own take in order for our support to be memorialized on the pages of BwD.
One of the reasons why the NFL is king and far, far ahead of both the NBA and MLB is their willingness to try-out new innovations, tweak the rules and generally be open to new ideas.
When baseball went to inter-league play some 10 years ago, one of the things it was able to take advantage of was some natural geographic rivalries like the Angels vs. the Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants vs. the Oakland Athletics and of course the Yankees vs. the Mets. This last culminated in what we thought was the best idea of the inter-league era: a doubleheader with one game at Shea Stadium in Queens in the afternoon followed by the nightcap at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in the evening. Of course, it was such a great idea, baseball dropped it.
Anyway, we believe the NFL can take a page from MLB’s inter-league book and devote one Sunday to geographic inter-conference rivalries. We found what we thought was a good a fit for 11 matchups which leaves 10 teams wanting on Rivalry Weekend. These 10 teams will just have to suck it up and take one for the League.
Here’s our matchups:
•Oakland Raiders v. San Francisco 49ers
•NY Giants v. NY York Jets
•Houston Texans v. Dallas Cowboys
•Kansas City Chiefs v. St. Louis Rams
•Washington Redskins v. Baltimore Ravens
•Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers
•San Diego Chargers v. Arizona Cardinals
•Jacksonville Jaguars v. Atlanta Falcons
•Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Miami Dolphins
•Carolina Panthers v. Tennessee Titans
•Cincinnati Bengals v. Cleveland Browns (This is the only in-conference match-up but it’s one that’s gotta be. Call it the Paul Brown Bowl)
And in a happy and unintended consequence, two of the left over teams are the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. These two recently-minted rivals can be matched up each year as well, leaving only 8 teams out of the party for the near-future.
We urge NFL commish, Roger Goodell to make this happen. Now that the NFL has flexibility in the televised games later in the season, put the most attractive match-ups on your prime time games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights. It makes sense, it would be a lot of fun and it would create a huge amount of buzz upon which the NFL could capitalize.