there is history, the history can't be erased, and Dallas and Washington have more of it than any two teams in football. That's why Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn, who has participated in this rivalry for only four years now, says "It has a feel to it like when you were kids playing cowboys and Indians. I felt that getting ready for the first time I played in it. And growing up, Dallas and Washington was always one of the games you knew about and watched."
What the rivalry lacks is the intensity of the days when George Allen paced the Washington sideline, licking his lips, allegedly sending spies to the Cowboys' North Dallas practice field. It lacks the fire of a provoked Harvey Martin throwing a funeral wreath into the Washington locker room after beating those Skins in 1979, convinced he tossed the circular flowers back from whence they came from. But that doesn't have anything to do with the teams. It has to do with the industry.
Hall of Fame coach John Madden will handle the telecast of Sunday night's renewal with partner Al Michaels on NBC. Speaking on the Cowboys Radio Network on Tuesday, Madden, who knows a thing or two about rivalries, said, "I don't think it's dead. I think all rivalries in the NFL have lost a little because of free agency. Players, and coaches too, move around so much more than they used to. They haven't grown up in the culture. But as far as rivalries exist in today's NFL, I don't think there's much question Dallas and Washington is probably the best one."
And the reason it is so, dear reader, is you. You're the fan. You care about Dallas-Washington and Dallas-Philadelphia more than you do about Dallas-Jacksonville. It's a division opponent. There is history. Maybe you watched with your dad or aunt or grandpa. Maybe there's a game in the history that stokes your furnace. Maybe you just hate the way those nasties hate your team and you by extension.
But when it's Cowboys-Redskins, it matters to you a little more. So there will be more stories written and aired about it this week, and that will stoke the rivalry more.
Rivalry? Absolutely. As long as you say so.