Redskins, Cowboys finally have something at stake besides bragging rights
IRVING, Texas — Having spent seven seasons as a quarterback with Dallas in the 1990s, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is well-versed on the team's rivalry with the Washington Redskins.
As for Garrett's players, well, he put that in perspective earlier this week when mentioning his starting left tackle.
“Yeah, players are young,” Garrett said. “Tyron Smith was born in 1990.”
The Cowboys-Redskins rivalry was fierce for three decades — the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s — but since 2000 has fizzled because both teams have experienced their share of struggles.
Sunday night's nationally televised season finale between the Cowboys and Redskins, however, is the next step in reviving the rivalry. The winner claims the NFC East title and will host a first-round playoff game. A Cowboys loss would end their season.
It's been almost 30 years since these two teams have met this late in the season with so much on the line. Both teams entered the game on Dec. 11, 1983, at 12-2 and tied for the NFC East lead. Quarterback Joe Theismann and running back John Riggins led the Redskins to a 31-10 victory, jump-starting their run to the Super Bowl.
“We're pretty damn good,” Theismann boasted after beating Dallas.
That's finally true again. The Redskins have won six consecutive games, and the Cowboys have won four out of their last six to stay in the hunt.
Suddenly, this rivalry has relevance again.
“It's always been a rivalry, but now, there's a little more at stake,” Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware said.
Veteran Washington linebacker London Fletcher agreed.
“There's no love lost between either team,” Fletcher said. “For the younger guys, I'm sure they can feel the intensity.”
Since the Cowboys' first season in 1960, Dallas and Washington have combined to win 27 division titles and eight Super Bowls. However, neither team has won a Super Bowl since the Cowboys won their fifth to end the 1995 season. Also, the Redskins haven't won the NFC East since 1999, and the Cowboys have won the division just twice since 2000 (in 2007 and 2009).
Since 2000, the two teams have combined to miss the playoffs in more seasons (seven) than either has made it (six).
Furthermore, this is only the Redskins' third winning season since 2000. And, how 'bout them Cowboys?
Well, they're 140-140 since they won their last Super Bowl.
Tight end Jason Witten, the longest-tenured Cowboys player, said Sunday night's do-or-die type game certainly will help revive a rivalry that has seemingly been dormant since the turn of the millennium.
“They feel a little bit of hate toward us, and I'm sure it's the same way with us,” Witten said.
Ah, a quote that involves the word “hate.” Maybe these teams are getting somewhere after all.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: In Super city, everything but football matters
- Patriots veterans embrace return to Super Bowl
- Seahawks’ Sherman credits upbringing for building his character
- Normally tight-lippped Marshawn Lynch fires back at critics
- Now a Patriot, RB Blount’s thrilled to have moved on from Steelers
- Ex-Aliquippa, Pitt star Revis finally realizes Super Bowl dream
- NFL notebook: Agent denies Ravens DT Cody injured dog
- NFL notebook: Seahawks warned 15-yard penalty for Lynch obscene gesture
- Getting fired by Patriots led to Carroll’s reinvention
- Patriots not dwelling on last Super Bowl loss in Arizona