Some rivalries go back as far as the modern era of professional sports in America. This ranges back to around 1900 in MLB, and 1920 for the NFL. The NBA began in 1946, and the NHL in 1917. In each of these sports, some of the founding teams remain pillars of the sports. And, teams that played against one another in the earliest days of each league continue to play against one another today.
Some of these rivalries are on display now as the NFL playoffs march toward the Super Bowl. The Green Bay Packers are still contenders, as are the Arizona Cardinals (which first played in Chicago).
TickPick recently looked at the biggest rivalries across the four major American professional sports in a study titled “Deepest Sports Rivalries: Exploring How Competitive American Sports’s Rivalries Really Are”.
To analyze sports rivalries, the research relied on a survey of 1,780 fans and data from the last 10 years based on Sports-Reference. Commenting on the study, the authors wrote: “Survey data has certain limitations related to self-reporting. These limitations include telescoping, exaggeration, and selective memory. We didn’t weight our data or statistically test our hypothesis.”
The results included five rivalries from each of the four major American professional sports. The data on these included total games played between teams on the list, the win/loss record of these, and points/goals scored by each team over the period of the rivalry. The top five team rivalries were selected for each sport
The No.1 rivalries by sport were:
NFL: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
MLB: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
NHL: Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators
NBA: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
One rivalry among two teams across the leagues stands out based on “games played”. This is the one between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox which remains heated today. The two teams have played 181 games against one another over the last decade.
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