What are some sports teams that have a large number of rivalries?
April 15, 2014 3:28 PM   Subscribe

I am a fan of the New York Rangers hockey club. Part of the fun of being a Rangers fan is that the team is a part of an unusually large number of heated rivalries. Or maybe it's not so unusual. What other examples are there of sports teams that have many different rivals?

The Rangers have a minimum of three big time rivals and, depending on who you ask, more like six or seven of them.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Regardless of how exactly you count it, that's a lot of rivals. I'm not a native New Yorker and none of the sports teams from where I'm from originally had anything like that going on.

I was curious what other sports teams might be out there that have an exceptional number of rivals.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Miami Heat

Celtics, Pacers, Spurs, Mavs, Cavaliers
posted by LaunchBox at 3:36 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Many of the bigger college teams have a few different rivals of various levels of rivalry, largely depending on how good each team is at the moment.

The three main Florida teams (UF, FSU, UMiami) all consider each other rivals while UF also has SEC rivals.

USC has UCLA (local), Stanford or Cal (NorCal, if one of them is "up") and Notre Dame.

Michigan has Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan State (especially the last several years) and theoretically Minnesota (The Little Brown Jug).

Notre Dame has a boatload of teams that consider them their rivals, even if Notre Dame doesn't really think that (Michigan, most recently, got dropped from ND's regular schedule in favor of ACC teams; Miami doesn't play ND much, but they haaaate each other).
posted by Etrigan at 3:37 PM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

If the Rangers articles are counting "historical" rivalries, I would look at the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball as having some similar qualities: Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, New York/San Francisco Giants
posted by AndrewInDC at 3:44 PM on April 15, 2014

The Miami Heat

You're forgetting two of the big ones-- Knicks (historical) and Thunder (now)

The Lakers have a ton of rivals too.. Celtics, Spurs, Kings, Suns, Pistons, Clippers, Sixers...
posted by acidic at 4:00 PM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Packers? Is 4 enough?
posted by freezer cake at 4:03 PM on April 15, 2014

Notre Dame immediately comes to mind. We hate:

- Michigan (Unmitigated loathing)
- U$C (Bush Push)
- Boston College (Backup College)
- Miami (Catholic vs. Criminals)
- Stanford (Smart vs Smart)
- Navy (Not a heated rivalry, but we've played them FOREVER and they usually give us a run for our money).
posted by SoulOnIce at 4:08 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dallas Cowboys. If you're America's team, you're everyone's rival. Same for the GB Packets.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:19 PM on April 15, 2014

Manchester United have at least five. We have three big historical rivals:
- Liverpool, Manchester City, Leeds United. These teams will always be our rivals, even if we're in different divisions.

We have two major contemporary rivals:
- Chelsea, Arsenal. These teams may not be our rivals in the future. The rivalry is more about being in competition for the same trophies. That said, the rivalry has been strong for 10-15 years now.

Notwithstanding the comment above, Tottenham are certainly not rivals of Man United.

And smaller English clubs in the Manchester region would consider themselves to be United's rivals, but it's a one-sided thing rivalry as most United fans probably wouldn't care:
- Blackburn, Bolton, Oldham etc.

You could maybe consider Barcelona and Bayern Munich to be European rivals, as we've played each of them several times in the knockout stages of European trophies (but fans of those clubs might not see United as true rivals).
posted by Pink Frost at 4:21 PM on April 15, 2014

The "Tobacco Road" schools in college basketball all pretty much hate each other. (That's Duke - North Carolina - NC State - Wake Forest). The intensity of the rivalries varies with the quality of the teams they're fielding at any given time, though.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:03 PM on April 15, 2014

Professional cycling. The Tour de France is the most well known of the major races. This year in the TdF there will be 22 teams competing with each other every day of the 21 day race. Among them there are 5 or 6 significant contenders and rivals.
posted by X4ster at 7:30 PM on April 15, 2014

In cycling the biggest direct rivalries would arguably be amongst these teams;
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Garmin Sharp (USA)
Katusha Team (Rus)
Movistar Team (Spa)
Team Sky (GBr)
Tinkoff Saxo (Den)
posted by X4ster at 7:41 PM on April 15, 2014

"The Lakers have a ton of rivals too.. Celtics, Spurs, Kings, Suns, Pistons, Clippers, Sixers..."

Does it count as a rivalry if the Lakers don't know it's a rivalry?
posted by klangklangston at 7:53 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Depends I'd say the niners have a number of rivals old and new. Seahawks, Rams, Packers, Cowboys, some would say the Raiders and Cardinals too, I've met people who would include the Giants given our post season history. So it depends as the Cowboys is more of a historic rivalry and isn't super active anymore vs the Seahawks which is much more active.
posted by Carillon at 8:17 PM on April 15, 2014

St. Louis Cardinals of MLB
--Chicago Cubs and StL have been rivals forever. It's good natured, though Cardinal fans love to rub in the suckiness of the Cubs.
--Cincinnati Reds: Cueto and his kicking at StL's players with his spikes during a fight a few years ago really got things going.
--Houston Astros: They're out of the NL Central and into the AL now, so it's more a historical thing, but five or ten years ago, it was pretty intense when both teams were good and were gunning for the top spot in the Central Division.
--Boston Red Sox: StL and Boston have met up in the WS a few times now in the 21st century. Cardinal fans have been slow to forget Jimmy Fallon's movie Fever Pitch and is conclusion taking place on their home field just after they lost to the Red Sox. Not cool.
--New York Yankees: More a rivalry by comparison as StL due to its winning ways.
posted by Fukiyama at 8:37 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think rivalries can depend on perspective: From a NE Patriots perspective, they probably count the NY Jets and the Denver Broncos as their current main rivals (Jets are their top division challengers, and the Broncos have Peyton Manning). However, the Bills and the Dolphins would probably call the Patriots their main rival, as the Patriots are the top team in their division. A case could also be made for the NY Giants as a Patriots rival, as they STOLE two Super Bowl rings from the Patriots (note: non-Pats fans may dispute the use of the term "stole").
posted by joelhunt at 5:35 AM on April 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

All of the Original Six hockey franchises can be considered to be rivals of one another, I'd say.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:54 AM on April 16, 2014

The Rangers think of the Bruins as a rival? With a straight face? And they're basing this on the number of fights they've had? That's a very loose definition of the word rival.

Without even thinking too hard: Montreal, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vancouver, Hartford (even with no current team)

In other words, with that definition of a "rival", no, I don't think it's an unusually large number. It's more like "teams the Rangers have played a lot".
posted by bowmaniac at 10:21 AM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Feisty. You wanna go, bowmaniac? ;)

The hockeyfights link was a bit of a joke. I was amused by how well that list tracked to the list of teams that I personally consider the Rangers top rivals.

Thanks for the responses everyone.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 1:03 PM on April 16, 2014

I really think the geographical location of the Rangers, really provides the huge amount of rivalries. The Flyers, Devils, Islanders, Bruins, etc are all close. Heck, even the Penguins and Sabres could be thrown in the conversation. Then you also have the fact that they are an original six team. They automatically have rivalries with Montreal, Boston, Toronto, Detroit and Chicago!

I think Philly has some good rivalries, both through geography and others. In football the Eagles and Cowboys are always a thrilling game, along with any game against the Giants. I know that the Flyers and Penguins rivalry has also heated up in recent years.

The LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks have become quite the rivals as well. Regardless of who your team is, or who you hate, rivalries are good for whatever sport we are talking about. Makes the games more exciting and the sport grows in popularity because of it.
posted by SCarey at 12:52 PM on December 10, 2014

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