MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 4: Head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys talks with referee Don Carey and line judge Carl Johnson #101 during action against the Minnesota Vikings at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 4, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings 35-31. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
What makes the degree of disdain between the Cowboys and the Giants so intriguing is that it's relatively new.
The Cowboys have hated the Redskins, literally, before the Cowboys were a team, and retained its inherent animosity for fifty seasons since, regardless of the competitiveness of the games in a given year. The Eagles have hated the Cowboys for nearly as long, a product initially of uber-competitive match-ups in the seventies and eighties.
But the current state of mutual emnity between Dallas and New York, really, only got it's start a few years ago. The reason for this, as Wade Phillips touched on in his press conference today, is a mix of familiarity and a high level of competitiveness. (The smack talking that's gone on for the past few years hasn't hurt, either.)
"I think it's similar in each division," Phillips said. "You know each other better and I think that's a big part of it. You're going to play against a guy twice that year, and every year for a lot of guys. [There's] more contempt, just more backyard, 'We're gonna go out there and fight them again,' that kind of thing. You know, there's a group on the other side that you're going after, and you're going to have to do it more than once."
With more than 100,000 people watching on Sunday night, the greatest stadium in the country will be opened and very likely fawned over, albeit for good reason. But more importantly, in the context of the 2009 football season, it will be the year's first installment of the best, and youngest, rivalry in football.