Through thick and thin sports have been the one thing that has brought people together, through times of hardships, like the 9/11 attacks or the Boston Bombings. Through times of celebration, yearly NBA Christmas Day quintuple-header and MLB celebrating our great nation playing on Independence Day. But what happens when they don't, what makes sports around the world great are the rivalries that different teams have and the hatred between these two teams. When it comes to these five North American teams, sometimes, the entirety of their season comes down to beating your rivals.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
While the NHL has some iconic rivalries that date back to the late 1800s, this battle between Canadian powerhouses is a must watch every these two play each other. Compared to the other major sports, hockey is the violent, as fights break out on a nightly basis, leading to action every time the pads are strapped on, and its game time. The Canadians lead the overall series, including postseason, 397-317-88-10.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics (NBA)
In the late 1960s and 1970s, the Celtics and Lakers would meet up in the NBA Finals like clockwork. As the turn of the century came, both teams would see success but wouldn't match up in the finals. Just as the series faded away, LeBron James joined the Lakers, and former teammate, Kyrie Irving, was traded to the Boston Celtics, as he voiced his displeasure of playing second fiddle to LeBron on the Cleveland Cavaliers. While there is speculation Irving could sign with the Lakers this offseason, if he re-signs with the Celtics, this old rivalry could be rekindled.
New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)
Of all the rivalries mentioned, this is the youngest and newest of the group, the in the past 5 years, if the Pittsburgh Steelers wanted to make a run at the Super Bowl, it would go through New England, and with the two meeting during the regular season, and has set a tone for the remainder of the season. It doesn't help that two of the best quarterbacks in this generation play for each of these teams. In the Brady-Belichick era, the Patriots lead the all-time series 11-3.
New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox (MLB)
When two of the winningest teams in MLB history have to play each other 19 times a year, why would you think there would be hard feelings. The Red Sox and Yankees have had some of the most iconic moments in MLB history such as Bloody Sock Game, A-Rod vs Jason Varitek, and Aaron Boone miraculous walk-off in the ALCS. With both teams being loaded with young talent, it is safe to say that this historic rivalry will live on for a long time.
Duke Blue Devils vs UNC Tar Heels (NCCA D1 Men's Basketball)
What more is there to say, Duke and UNC (University of North Carolina) are located 10 miles away from each other, and face each other twice a year, and generally a third time in the ACC tournament in early March. Some of the greatest moments in college basketball history over the years, such as Austin Rivers wall off buzzer beater, and just this year, Zion Williamson busting through his shoe in the first minutes of the game. With two of the greatest coaches in college basketball with no plans to retire, these two blue bloods will still be at the top fighting year in and year out.