A poll conducted by the Philadelphia Daily News and Temple University asked fans to name their top three most hated rivals from a list of 15 teams in the four major sports and the Cowboys wound up on 87 percent of the ballots. That was way ahead of the Mets (56 percent), the Giants (39 percent) and the Devils (15 percent), even though all three of those teams are closer geographically and, presumably, have more fans that interact with Philly fans on a regular basis.
The reasons for the hatred are familiar to anyone who pays attention to the non-Cowboys view of the Cowboys. Words like smug and arrogant are thrown around, references to the Cowboys running up scores in the 1970's and there's a lot of crowing about Buddy Ryan and bounties thrown around in the Daily News article that accompanies the poll results.
Unmentioned, but presumably fuel for the fire, are the two 2009 Cowboys wins that gave them the division title and a spot in the second round of the playoffs.
The feelings are mutual. Cowboys fans still seethe about Ryan's antics, the way Eagles fans cheered Michael Irvin's injury and the loss in the 1981 NFC Championship game. Getting those two wins last season would have been appreciated regardless of the opposition, but the fact that they came against the Eagles and helped hasten the departure of Donovan McNabb make them all the sweeter. The hatred is there, the only question is whether or not it burns brighter than the ill will felt for other teams.
One of the best ways to measure how much the Cowboys matter in the NFL is the fact that they'd win this contest with several teams. Redskins fans would surely place the Cowboys on the top of their list, Giants fans would probably give them the top spot over the Eagles and even teams out of the division would qualify. The 49ers have never really had a tough rivalry in their division, but their many playoff battles with Dallas would probably make them another entry. Cardinals fans, such as they are, can't enjoy the way Cowboys fans fill their stadium every time the schedule puts them in Phoenix; and then there are the Houston Texans.
That's a lot of hate heading toward Big D. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments about who takes the cake as the opponent you love to beat more than any other.
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