What Elements Make A Good Rivalry In Sports? | KNKX

What Elements Make A Good Rivalry In Sports?

Apr 23, 2016

What makes sports rivalries so contentious, so impassioned and so much fun? KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says that it has a lot to do with proximity and stakes. While Seattle sports teams have often been accused of playing out of "Sound Alaska," Pacific Northwest teams still have managed to develop some consistent contention with other teams, especially if there is a lot on the line. 

The Seattle Seahawks and San Fransisco 49ers, at least for a little while, developed a contentious rivalry. As far as proximity is concerned, the 49ers are the closest team to Seattle. But during the 2013 season, the stakes were also very high. Both teams were good, both coaches hated each other, and both were in the NFC Championship game in early 2014; The winner headed to the Super Bowl.

Fans were after each other on social media, and when the Seahawks won that game, the emotional buildup spilled out of Richard Sherman in a post-game interview. 

In collegiate sports, the Washington Huskies and Washington State Cougars football teams have been rivals for 108 meetings, and while not all games have had significant meaning as far as stakes are concerned, the game is always big among current students and alumni. One of the more memorable Apple Cup games was known as the "Snow Bowl", where the highly ranked UW made the trip to Pullman in a blizzard, with WSU walking out victorious. 

Art Thiel takes a look back at some of these games, and shares what makes a rivalry special.