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Women's World: Fueling The Rivalry

Posted Oct 3, 2013

Welcome to Women's World. Brandyn Campbell is the founder, editor and writer of the Philly Sports Muse. Every Thursday, Campbell will offer a unique perspective as she shares her passion for the Eagles ...

As the Eagles' unsuccessful visit to the Mile High City came to a close on Sunday evening, the FOX broadcast switched to the end of the Cowboys-Chargers game. Even though Philadelphia had been walloped by the Broncos, we were able to see the Cowboys handed a loss by the Chargers immediately afterwards.

And it made us feel better.

Dallas' misfortunes did nothing to change the outcome of Philadelphia's brutal loss to Denver. But still, we absolutely loved seeing it. The only bearing the Cowboys' loss had on the 1-3 Eagles was to signal that, in what has thus far been an unfortunate year all around for the NFC East, Philadelphia is only one game out of first place.

Ah, the beauty of the divisional rivalries.

The Eagles will head to Metlife Stadium to face the New York Giants on Sunday in a must-win game for Philadelphia. A “W” must be secured for a number of reasons, but probably the best one for fans is, simply, because it's the Giants. With a delightfully dreadful 0-4 record, Big Blue's season is off to a miserable start.

What’s better than beating the Giants? Beating them on their own turf. And what's even better than that? Embarrassing them, at home, and seeing the realization on their players and fans’ faces that their record will fall to 0-5. It's the stuff of dreams, really.

LB Trent Cole

Why do we dislike them so much? I tried to take a serious look at this question and came up with no real answers. It just IS. When you're a fan of certain teams, you're hardwired to have a strong distaste for others. It doesn't matter the year, coach or personnel - the fact remains the same season after season. You just don't like 'em.

In some ways, it's like the little brother or sister you taunted mercilessly as a kid, but without the love. Or, the person at your job who you can't stand and constantly revel in their failings. Not very nice, maybe, but it is what it is.

Perhaps tensions are highest against divisional opponents in part because the games mean more - they directly impact the chances of making it to the playoffs. Beating a rival NFC East team soothes the soul as well as factors into which teams will see action in January.

Familiarity certainly breeds contempt. The Eagles have faced the Giants since 1933 and have played them more than any other team in franchise history. The rivalry goes waaaay back. But more relevant to today's fans, year after year we see the likes of the Giants and other NFC East foes two times over a 17-week period. You just get sick of seeing them.

With the most wins in the division being two games by Dallas, you would think there wouldn't be much room for trash talk. But, that is absolutely not the case. There's always room when you're talking about the likes of the Cowboys and Giants.

The great thing about the Eagles’ rivalry with teams like the Giants is that it's not just the fans who want to beat them really, really badly. When it comes to the division, you hear players openly talk about their dislike of other NFC East teams. Trent Cole’s favorite quarterback to sack? Eli Manning. We’re united in our disdain.

Divisional games and their inherent rivalries certainly bring an added level of passion with them. All matchups with other NFC East teams are must-wins, for the simple fact that you will not stand for the look of satisfaction on the opposing players’ faces.

As I teach my two month-old son about many things, including Eagles football, I certainly don't want to teach him to hate anyone. But, he may one day come close when it comes to the Giants. Will I actively teach him not to like New York? We’ll see. But the sentiment will sink in as he's surrounded by Eagles fans. It’s something that you just know. And one day he, too, may briefly wonder what it is about the Giants that makes us loathe them so.

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