It’s Rivalry Week at SB Nation for the next two weeks, and that means it’s time to look at some of the Detroit Lions’ most-hated opponents and players.
Most rivalries come from divisional opponents. You plays those guys the most, you know them the best, and they’re the ones directly in between you and the playoffs. It’s the whole “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” kind of thing.
But rivalries can come out of nowhere. Sometimes all it takes is one combative game with a heartbreaking finish or one snide comment from a player, and it kicks off the start of a huge rival. Look no further than the Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche for an example that a team’s biggest rival doesn’t always have to come for their own division.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is the Detroit Lions’ biggest non-division rival?
My answer: It has to be the Dallas Cowboys.
Just about every Lions vs. Cowboys game over the past 10 years has been an absolute classic. Let’s break down every game.
2019 - Cowboys 35, Lions 27
With Jeff Driskel at quarterback, the Lions struggled to keep up with Dallas. In the end, they did find themselves down only eight with just over two minutes left and the ball in Dallas territory, but it didn’t amount to much.
2018 - Cowboys 26, Lions 24
In a back-and-forth game, the Lions took the lead with just over two minutes left, 24-23. Unfortunately, a huge pass to Ezekiel Elliott quickly got the Cowboys in field goal position, and Dallas kicked the game-winner with 0:00 on the clock.
2016 - Cowboys 42, Lions 21
Let’s just skip this one.
2014/2015 - Cowboys 24, Lions 20
The playoff game. The picked up PI flag. The home-cooking.
2013 - Lions 31, Cowboys 30
After the Lions went down six with just 1:02 left in the game, Matthew Stafford put together one of the finest last-minute drives in NFL history, ending with potentially his most iconic play ever:
Also, Calvin Johnson had a mere 329 yards in the game.
2011 - Lions 34, Cowboys 30
Lions complete 24-point comeback thanks to two pick-sixes of Tony Romo, and 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
While that may have only resulted in two wins for Detroit, they are a couple of the biggest moments for the team in the past decade. Additionally, the picked up flag in the playoff game remains one of the most painful, frustrating moments in Lions history, and that built up a lot of resent and anger towards the referees and the Cowboys. That’s the iconic moment needed to spark a rivalry.
Now the Lions just need to start winning some of those games again.