Boston-New York. LA-New York. Even Philadelphia-New York. We know all about those rivalries, but with the Washington Redskins coming into town to face the New York Giants this Sunday (and the New York Jets just defeating them the other week), what about New York-Washington? What's the history there?
Is the greatest rivalry the Harlem Globetrotters-Washington Generals? Does that even count? Probably not. All those Globetrotter wins skew the all-time series record between the cities if it does, though (and, yes, the Globetrotters aren't really from New York anyway). In football, the Giants have owned Washington, with an all-time record of 91-62-4 (which includes the few years the Redskins spent in Boston). And mixed in all those games was one of the most memorable yet gruesome plays in NFL history, when Lawrence Taylor snapped Joe Theismann's leg, ending the quarterback's career. The two division rivals have only met twice in the postseason, a memorable 17-0 win for Big Blue in 1986 and a not-so-memorable Redskins 28-0 victory in 1943. The Jets have not fared as well against the 'Skins, with an all-time record of 2-8.
The old Washington Senators (both of them) were usually so inept that there really was never any bad blood between the New York Yankees and those former AL teams. But the Senators did unseat the Yanks as AL and World Series Champions the year after the Bombers won their first Series in 1923. And Washington beat the old New York Giants to boot in the 1924 World Series. The Senators repeated as AL Champions the next season, cutting into the Babe Ruth-era Yankees' string of AL pennants, from 1921 to 1928. And when the Bombers usurped the Philadelphia A's run of success in 1932, who was there the next season to beat the Yankees again? Those Senators, who lost to the Giants, though, as New York put them in their place one last time. A Washington baseball franchise never again finished in first place. Meanwhile, the New York Mets and Washington Nationals rivalry has mainly been a battle for fourth place.
The New York Knicks went 15-12 against the old Washington Capitols of the 1940s, who were coached by Red Auerbach, but the Knicks lost in the playoffs to them in 1949, though New York beat them the following year in the postseason. The Knicks have never faced the modern Washington Wizards/Bullets in the postseason, only having met while the team was located in Baltimore, though those teams had numerous legendary battles some forty-odd years ago. The Knicks sport an all-time 161-112 record vs. that franchise, but that includes all incarnations, whether they were the Wizards, Bullets, Capital Bullets, Chicago Zephyrs or Chicago Packers. As for the New Jersey/New York Nets, they went 2-4 against the old ABA Washington Caps in that team's one year of existence (after playing as the Oakland Oaks for two seasons and before transforming into the Virginia Squires). The Nets lost to the Bullets in the 1982 playoffs, and have an all-time record of 77-84 vs. Washington.
The 1980s was a hotbed of New York/New Jersey-Washington hockey playoff matchups. The New York Islanders defeated the Capitals four out of five years in the playoffs during that decade (losing to them the other season) and also in 1993, when Washington's Dale Hunter maimed Islander star Pierre Turgeon. They have an all-time record of 83-84-13-7 against the Caps. The New Jersey Devils whipped the Capitals in the 1988 playoffs, but lost to them in 1990, and are 79-91-13-1 vs. Washington (though we're counting New Jersey's Scouts and Rockies days). And the New York Rangers got the best of Washington in 1986 and '94, but are now seeking revenge for postseason losses in 1990, '91 and, of course, in '09 and just last spring. The two teams, though, are just about dead even in the all-time series, with the Rangers sporting an 84-84-18-5 record.
While the Rangers, Devils and Capitals are all in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Knicks-Bullets rivalry of the early-'70s has long died out, and even the Giants' and Redskins' standing as two perennial NFL powers, as they were in the 1980s and early-'90s, has faded. But there is certainly no love lost between any of the franchises of these two cities. And though Washington is presently at the bottom of the NFC East division, and maybe New York-Washington isn't quite New York-Boston when it comes to mutual loathing, Sunday's matchup between the Giants and Redskins should be another bloodbath between these two longtime rivals.