Redskins vs Cowboys: Thanksgiving Day Game Called 'Top Rivalry of All Time'

John BibbAnalyst IIINovember 19, 2012

There is no love lost between these two teams in their 52-year rivalry.  Their last meeting in 2011 was nearly too much for even the officials to handle.  Dallas won 27-24 in OT.
There is no love lost between these two teams in their 52-year rivalry. Their last meeting in 2011 was nearly too much for even the officials to handle. Dallas won 27-24 in OT.Rob Carr/Getty Images

For any Redskins fan, it is "The Game."  It doesn't need any clarification or explanation.  The best time to get anything done in and around the suburbs of Washington, DC—guaranteeing a smooth, hassle and traffic-free moment of serenity—is during a Redskins vs. Cowboys game.  Everybody is home watching.

The storied rivalry between these teams dates back to 1961 when the Dallas Cowboys entered the NFC East.  Thus began a tense, twice-a-year battle on the gridiron where the Cowboys hold the advantage 62-40-2.  

Toss in the fact that this year's matchup is on Thanksgiving Day.  Nationally broadcast during dinner time for most of the country (4:15 p.m. ET) and declared by Sports Illustrated as the top rivalry of all time and "one of the greatest in sports,"  this is indeed, the big game.

Oh, did I mention the Cowboys have never lost to the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day? 

The NFC East division rivals play one another twice each regular season. The Redskins have won only three of the last 10 meetings.  Last year the Cowboys won both games by a combined five points. The last meeting on Nov. 20, 2011, was not decided until Dallas won in overtime, 27-24.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan spent much of the time during his 15-minute press conference Monday discussing what happened in the previous day's drubbing of the Eagles. Shanahan also told reporters that in preparing for the Cowboys game, he and his staff spent two days, Nov. 8-9 during their bye week, studying and formulating a game plan for Dallas.



Shanahan mentioned some injuries sustained during the Eagles game that raised some eyebrows, however.

Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather is out for the season and will need surgery to repair an ACL tear in his right knee. Meriweather had missed nearly all of this season with a left knee injury.  

In his ability to see the good in an otherwise bad situation, Coach Shanahan explained that Meriweather, "should be back next year, ready to go."

Update:  The Redskins signed free agent CB Jerome Murphy this week to replace Meriweather.

In addition, Redskins' LB London Fletcher is in risk of having his streak of consecutive games played (234) jeopardized.  Fletcher suffered an ankle sprain and was not practicing Monday, hobbling around Redskins Park wearing a protective boot. He has never missed a game in his 15-year NFL career.

Update:  Fletcher did not practice Tuesday and is expected to rest his injured ankle Wednesday. Fletcher told the Washington Post that his playing status Thursday will be a game-time decision.

Every Redskins vs. Cowboys game is important in the NFC East standings, especially when played in the last half-dozen games of the regular season.  The teams meet for their second time in the last game of the season, Dec. 30.

On a lighter note.  It was legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, shortly after being fired by then, new owner Jerry Jones in 1989, who took this rivalry to new heights.  Landry acted in a television commercial for a hotel chain in which he sang a portion of the Willie Nelson/Waylon Jennings song, "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be (long pause) Redskins."

Landry then joked, "You didn't think I was going to say Cowboys did you?"

The Thanksgiving Day tradition resumes Thursday, Nov. 22 at 4:15 p.m. ET from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX on FOX.