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We CAN’T Lose To This Team! Counting Down The Top 11 Rivalries In Sports

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By Daniel Friedman
» More Columns

We love our sports teams, which means we hate the ones that try getting in the way. What can we say? We’re passionate about these things. And when our teams aren’t involved, it sure is exciting to watch other rivals square off. Here are the 11 best rivalries in sports:

Honorable Mention: Barcelona/Real Madrid, Blackhawks/Red Wings, Islanders/Rangers, Knicks/Nets, Penguins/Flyers

11. A-Rod/Bud Selig

A-Rod (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images), Bud Selig (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

A-Rod (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images), Bud Selig (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Sometimes, the back-and-forth between these two gets more attention than their own sport.

10. Dodgers/Giants

Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers scores, beating the tag of catcher Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants on July 27, 2014. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers scores, beating the tag of catcher Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants on July 27, 2014. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

They started out battling for supremacy of National League baseball in New York. Migrating to the West Coast hasn’t changed a thing. These two teams still hate each other.

9. Seahawks/49ers

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball as cornerback Byron Maxwell #41 and free safety Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks defend on January 19, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball as cornerback Byron Maxwell #41 and free safety Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks defend on January 19, 2014. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

They’re two of the best teams in football, and they’ll probably compete for Super Bowl appearances for years to come. Oh, and they’re located relatively close to one another.

8. Jets/Patriots

Rex Ryan hugs Bill Belichick after the Patriots defeated the Jets 49-19 on November 22, 2012. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Rex Ryan hugs Bill Belichick after the Patriots defeated the Jets 49-19 on November 22, 2012. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

This one goes back a while, but even though the Jets have been disappointing recently, Rex Ryan has kept the fire burning.

7. Duke/North Carolina (basketball)

Rodney Hood #5 of the Duke Blue Devils watches as J.P. Tokoto #13 of the North Carolina Tar Heels throws the ball in on March 8, 2014. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Rodney Hood #5 of the Duke Blue Devils watches as J.P. Tokoto #13 of the North Carolina Tar Heels throws the ball in on March 8, 2014. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Both programs are usually among the best in the NCAA, and both have a great deal of excellence and tradition. Both can’t be the best, and that’s made for epic competition between the two sides.

6. Canadiens/Bruins

Matt Bartkowski #43 of the Boston Bruins and Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens battle for the puck on May 14, 2014. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Matt Bartkowski #43 of the Boston Bruins and Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens battle for the puck on May 14, 2014. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Two of the NHL’s “Original Six,” the Canadiens and Bruins have been going at it for decades. They’ve met each other several times in the playoffs recently, and it’s abundantly clear that they still hate each other’s guts.

5. Packers/Bears

Tim Jennings #26 of the Chicago Bears breaks up a pass intended for Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers on December 29, 2013. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Tim Jennings #26 of the Chicago Bears breaks up a pass intended for Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers on December 29, 2013. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It’s the oldest rivalry in the NFL, the one that all other rivalries are measured against. Doesn’t matter how much time has passed since it first evolved — it will always be this way.

4. Michigan/Ohio State (football)

Quarterback Devin Gardner #98 of the Michigan Wolverines looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 30, 2013. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Quarterback Devin Gardner #98 of the Michigan Wolverines looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 30, 2013. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

I’ve heard stories about people with Michigan license plates being pulled over in Columbus. I believe those stories, because the rivalry between the two programs is that strong.

3. Celtics/Lakers

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers passes under pressure from Kevin Garnett #5 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics on June 17, 2010. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers passes under pressure from Kevin Garnett #5 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics on June 17, 2010. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

One need not go back to the days of Bird and Magic — just look at what transpired not too long ago, when Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce were fighting for NBA titles.

2. Yankees/Red Sox

Home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora warns both benches after Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees was hit by a pitch in front of Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox on August 18, 2013. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Home-plate umpire Brian O’Nora warns both benches after Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees was hit by a pitch in front of Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox on August 18, 2013. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Babe Ruth, Bucky (f****n) Dent, the 2004 playoffs, Pedro Martinez vs. Don Zimmer. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

1. Canadiens/Maple Leafs

Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens is hammered into the boards by Jake Gardiner #51 of the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 22, 2014. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens is hammered into the boards by Jake Gardiner #51 of the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 22, 2014. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Toronto vs. Montreal is not only one of the deepest-rooted rivalries in pro sports, but it also has several undertones. It’s the French vs. English, blue-collar vs. white-collar and so on. It might not be on your radar, but it should be. This is everything you could ask for and more in a thrilling, dramatic sports rivalry.

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