19 Fiercest Rivalries in Sports History
NHL: New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers
These two teams became rivals in the ’80s when the Devils moved from Colorado to the New York City metro area, becoming cross-river rivals with the New York Rangers and birthing the name “Hudson River Rivalry”. Among the more memorable moments, was the ’95-’96 season’s clashes between the two teams, both of which had won a Stanley Cup victory in the previous two years. This rivalry has been growing fiercer than ever, as both teams are very evenly matched as of late.
Fights are common, and the fans really get into the cross-river hatred. It’s common at all Devil’s home games for fans to cheer and make confetti that says “Rangers suck!” Ranger’s fans are known for taunting the Devil’s Goalie whenever he fails to stop a goal.
MLB: Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers
This rivalry, known as the Lone Star Series or alternatively the Silver Boot Series, began as an inter-league rivalry between the American League Texas Rangers and the then-National League Houston Astros. It’s a relatively fresh rivalry, as the first Lone Star series was played in 2001 and resulted in a tie game. The Astros pulled ahead for the next few years, winning 3 and tying one of the next 5 series. The Rangers then went on to win 6 of the next 7, with the other series resulting in a tie.
Recently, this match-up has converted from an interleague rivalry to a division rivalry, as the Houston Astros joined the American League in 2013. As both teams will face each other more often, this rivalry is likely to grow in intensity in the coming years.
NASCAR: Cale Yarborough vs. Donnie Allison
The 1979 Daytona 500 was the first nationally televised NASCAR race. On their final lap, Donnie Allison was leading Cale Yarborough. Cale attempted to pass Donnie, who blocked him. Cale didn’t give up, and his car entered the muddy grass, causing Cale to lose control of his vehicle. The two cars repeatedly knocked into one another, eventually becoming locked together and crashing into a wall. Both drivers got out and a fight ensued. Their fight made headlines and is credited with a surge in NASCAR’s popularity.