Tony Avelar / AP

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013.


What is the best all-time NFL playoff rivalry?

Leading Off: Heated rivalries good for NFL and its fans

Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 - 5:57 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 - 6:54 am

Nothing fuels the NFL playoffs like a testy, traditional rivalry.

The 49ers and Seahawks are building one. The teams don’t care for each other. The coaches downplay their mutual dislike but clearly want to skunk the other.

Rivalry venom is good for the game, good for viewers, good for ratings.

Here’s a look at some all-time playoff feuds:

•  Packers-Giants, 1930s-40s: The teams split NFL title meetings in the late 1930s. In 1944, Packers coach Curly Lambeau heated things up when he accused the Giants of spying on practices before Green Bay beat the Giants 14-7 for the title.

•  Raiders-Steelers, 1970s: “Immaculate Reception,” anyone? Franco Harris scooping the ball off his shoe tops and racing in for the franchise-turning winning touchdown in the 1972 playoffs is listed by NFL Films as the greatest play in NFL history. The franchises are 3-3 against each other in the postseason, with the best duels in the 1970s.

•  Cowboys-49ers, 1990s: Dallas edged the 49ers twice for the NFC title in the early 1970s; the 49ers stunned the Cowboys with “The Catch” in 1982. Then these two played in three consecutive NFC Championship Games (1993-95). Dallas won the first two, the 49ers the third; all three winning teams went on to win the Super Bowl.

•  Tom Brady-Peyton Manning, present: Brady leads Manning 10-4 all-time, including 2-1 in the playoffs. The winner Sunday inches ahead as the best quarterback of this generation.

What to watch

NBA, Kings at Memphis, 5 p.m., Ch. 10: Look for Kings center DeMarcus Cousins to dominate against Marc Gasol, who will play just his third game after missing eight weeks because of an injury.

Today’s poll

What’s the best all-time NFL playoff rivalry?

• Packers-Giants

• Raiders-Steelers

• Cowboys-49ers

• Brady-Manning

• Other

Vote above, or go to

Thursday’s poll results

Who will win the AFC Championship Game?

• Denver: 51%

• New England: 49%

Total votes: 144

Read more articles by Joe Davidson

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