Biggest All Time Rivalries in Sports

Considering that 150 years ago today Confederate forces attacked a U.S. military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina starting the Civil War, the rivalry between the north and the south continued for four years which eventually brought the states together to form one of the most powerful countries in the world.

The Untied States still has many rivalries in sports and in honor of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, here is what I believe are the biggest rivalries in sports.


There are some great all time rivalries in Major League baseball, the Dodgers and the Giants, the Cubs and the Cardinals, the Phillies and the Mets, but the biggest rivalry in baseball has to be the Yankees and the Red Sox.

It all began with Babe Ruth who starred as a pitcher for the Red Sox, was sold to the Yankees in 1919 and became the most prolific hitter in the game. Ever since, these two teams and their fans have hated each other.

Pro Football

Once again, some great rivalries, the Patriots and the Jets, the Chargers and the Raiders, The Cowboys and the Giants, but the biggest rivalry in pro football is the Bears and the Packers.

George Halas vs. Vince Lombardi, Mike Ditka vs. Forrest Gregg, the black and blue division in its finest, and these two teams have more championships then any other teams. Once again, they do not like each other, especially the fans.

College Football

I could mention literally hundreds of college football rivalries, Ohio State and Michigan, USC and Notre Dame, Army and Navy, but the biggest rivalry of them all is Alabama and Auburn.

This is a game that puts a whole state on hold as the passion and hate between the two schools does not come close to any other college football rivalry. This rivalry gives the winner bragging rights for a whole state.

Pro Basketball

There is the Spurs and the Suns, the Heat and the Knicks, The Bulls and the Pistons, but this is a no brainer, the biggest rivalry in pro basketball is the Celtics and the Lakers.

The two teams have won 32 the NBA’s 63 championships, have faced off in the Finals 11 times, with four of the 11 series going to seven games.

College Basketball

With any college sports, picking the biggest rivalries is tough because there are so many of them. Utah and BYU, Indiana and Purdue, Kentucky and Louisville to name a few, but the biggest college basketball rivalry is Duke and North Carolina.

The schools are only six miles apart and rank in the top 10 , year after year. In the past 25 years, the two storied programs have combined for 18 Final Fours and six National Championships. Oh and they definitely do not like each other, at all.


In Hockey, some might say the Penguins vs. the Flyers, but it comes down to four of the original six teams on the NHL, The Blackhawks vs. the Red Wings and the Bruins vs. the Canadians. It was tough to pick a winner between these teams, but I will go with the Bruins and the Canadians.

These two teams have faced each other more times than any other two teams in the history of the NHL including 32 playoff series over their 86-year-old battle against each other.


Sure some people would automatically say Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, some may go way back and say Gene Sarazen vs. Walter Hagen, but without a doubt it has to be Arnold Palmer vs. Jack Nicklaus.

Nicklaus won a staggering 18 Major Championships and Palmer won 7, usually head to head against each other.


No use even debating the issue, Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier, enough said.


For men’s tennis, Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi or Stefan Edberg vs. Boris Becker may come to mind, but Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe takes the crown here. The two met 14 times between 1978 and 1981, each winning 7 times.

For women’s tennis, Monica Seles vs. Steffi Graf and sisters Venus and Serena Williams comes to mind, but Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova takes the crown here. Evert and Navratilova played each other 80 times from 1973 to 1988.

Nolan Thomas- Biggest All Time Rivalries in Sports