Sports are so much better when there is a big rivalry between the teams or competitors performing. I know, that’s not some shocking revelation, but it certainly is true. And although not every big rivalry is an in-state rivalry, one can certainly make the point that in-state rivalries are the most fun to watch.
Take, for example, North Carolina and Duke basketball. These two teams have a bitter rivalry that has been going on for a long time and when one team gets the edge over the other they have serious bragging rights within the state of North Carolina.
I’m not diminishing other classic out-of-state rivalries like the Yankees and Red Sox or Ohio State and Michigan — I’m just making the point that there seems to be something so much more authentic and special about in-state rivalries.
In light of all this, let me bring you into my personal life for just a brief moment. I grew up in a household full of Pittsburgh Steelers fans. My dad was born and raised in Pittsburgh and although I never lived there I still feel like it’s home to me. I say all that to say that I really love my Steelers.
Now, the Steelers have some incredible rivalries already. There is a growing rivalry with the Cincinnati Bengals and of course there is the rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens, which might even be the best rivalry in the NFL — and yes, I despise the Ravens, but that’s another topic.