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Intense rivalries have played an integral role in professional sports since professional sports began. While the competitive pressure affects players, coaches, and managers, it is perhaps felt most by the fans. Although often manifested in friendly competition, matchups occasionally lead to serious violence in the game and also in the stands. Shown here are 127 rivalries (shown as thin lines) between 121 teams (shown as circles placed almost geographicly) in six major North American professional sports leagues.
Canadian Football League
Major League Baseball
Major League Soccer
National Basketball Association
National Football League
National Hockey League
Number of Games Won in Head-to-Head Matchups

Each circle marks a team’s location and is sized by the number of wins against the team to which it is connected (a rivalry)

Rivalry Intensity
Original Six
Types of Rivalries
Geographic Rivalry (2485 games played) - San Francisco Giants (1237W) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (1202W)

These two teams orginally played across town from each other in Brooklyn and New York City beginning in the late 1800s. Their ability to remain foes after a cross-country move and keep the balance has led to this being called one of the greatest rivalries in sports.

Original Six/Franco vs Anglo (732 games played) - Toronto Maple Leafs (338W) vs Les Canadiens de Montréal (293W)

The oldest in the NHL, the Leafs-Habs rivalry is symbolic of a country divided: the Quebecois Francophones against the Anglophones of the remainder of Canada. The two largest Canadian cities have won the most Stanley Cups of any team, facing off for the cup five times.

Historical Rivalry (358 games played) - Boston Celtics (199W) vs Los Angeles Lakers (159W)

While not the most contested in the NBA, this rivalry involves two of the league’s most storied teams. They have met a record twelve times in the championship series, while their combined 33 trophies account for almost half of the 68 in NBA history.

The Banjo Bowl (221 games played) - Winnipeg Blue Bombers (126W) vs Saskatchewan Roughriders (91W)

Known as the Banjo Bowl (when played on Labour Day) since 2004, this rivalry is older than the Canadian Football League itself and extends far beyond the field, fueled by traditional competition between the two prairie provinces.

Divisional Rivalry (187 games played) - Chicago Bears (94W) vs Green Bay Packers (93W)

The longest-running in the NFL, this rivalry began in 1921 and is characterized by the balance between the two teams. The mutual Chicago- Wisconsin hatred has sparked similar rivalries in the MLB and NBA, as well as at the collegiate level.

Storied Rivalries