It started out, oddly enough, with a yet-to-be established NFL franchise and a fight song.
More than 50 years later, the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys continue to do battle twice a year as divisional foes and bitter rivals.
The series adds its next chapter tonight, when the Redskins play host to the Cowboys in a nationally-televised game that will determine the NFC East champion.
It’s perhaps the third most important game in the Redskins-Cowboys series history, right behind the 1972 and 1982 NFC Championship games, both of which resulted in Washington wins.
According to the NFL Films video above — which was originally presented in 1991’s “NFL’s Greatest Rivalries” — it all started in 1960, when the Cowboys were an NFL expansion franchise. The Redskins had been dominating the South airwaves, something that a franchise in Texas would threaten and something Washington owner George Preston Marshall wasn’t going to give up without a fight.
So, because Marshall refused to vote the Cowboys into the league, Dallas owner Clint Murchison hit the Redskins where it hurt the most: their fight song.
Murchison received a letter stating that “Hail to the Redskins” was not patented, so he told Marshall that if he didn’t vote for the Cowboys to enter the NFL, then Washington wouldn’t have its fight song.
And a hated rival is born.
The Redskins won the first-ever game against the Cowboys 26-14 on Oct. 9, 1960, but it wasn’t until George Allen became Washington’s head coach in 1971 that the rivalry got a much-needed shot in the arm. Led by Allen’s “Over The Hill Gang,” the Redskins became a biannual pest for the talented Cowboys. By the time Joe Gibbs took over in 1981, the Redskins seemed to be playing for Super Bowl titles every year until the early 1990s.
But what about the magnitude of tonight’s matchup — and how it relates to the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry? The NFL Network’s “NFL Gameday Morning” took a look at those very topics this morning:
There’s a perception out there that the Redskins take this rivalry much more seriously than the Cowboys do.
But each and every season, as Dallas continues to disappoint its fans with postseason blunders and underachieving teams, you can bet that this rivalry, to them, will get a little hotter tonight.
CHIME IN: What are YOUR favorite memories from the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry? Feel free to comment below.
Tags: dallas cowboys, nfl films, NFL Network, rivalry, washington redskins
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