Some of the newest Washington Redskins will face the Dallas Cowboys for the first time in their careers on Sunday at FedExField in an important Week 2 matchup.
The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys played for the first time on Oct. 9, 1960. The Redskins won 26-14 and quickly, a heated on-field rivalry was born. The two teams have met a staggering 111 times since then. Play a team that much and some animosity is bound to arise.
It's a cliché, but of late you really can throw out the records of both teams when they meet. Take the 2014 season first: Dallas rolled into a Week 8 Monday Night Football matchup at home against the Redskins having won six of its first seven games. Washington, meanwhile, was 2-5 and was starting its third different quarterback of the season in Colt McCoy.
The Redskins, who entered as 9.5 point underdogs, pulled off the upset by beating Dallas 20-17 in overtime. The Cowboys finished 12-4 that season. Washington was 4-12.
Fast forward to Week 12 of the 2015 season – again, *Monday Night Football *with a favored team defending its home turf. This time, it was Washington, which went on to win the NFC East, losing at home as Dallas came away with a 19-16 victory. The Cowboys didn't win another game last season.
Some of the biggest fans of the NFL are the players that make up the league itself. The newest members of the Redskins are fully aware of the intensity that surrounds Washington vs. Dallas.
"I've known that it's been a big rivalry for years," said safety David Bruton Jr., who is preparing to start in his first Redskins-Cowboys game. "I watched it on TV when I was growing up, seeing that big rivalry. I know there's a high sense of urgency, especially with a big rivalry game and a division opponent. Being eight years in, it doesn't matter who I was playing for, I understand the importance of a division rivalry and setting the momentum and that tone in the division. No matter what your record is, as long as you win your division, you're in."
Also new to the rivalry is defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, who was signed again by the Redskins Wednesday after spending some time with Washington during the preseason. Although Jenkins is new to a Cowboys-Redskins game, he is far from unfamiliar with Dallas.
Check out images of wide receiver Josh Doctson during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.
Before joining Washington, Jenkins played two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and three seasons with the New York Giants. Each NFC East divisional game has a special meaning
"A lot of hatred, especially amongst the fans," Jenkins said of NFC East rivalries. "(There's a) large fanbase for every team in the NFC East and the fans definitely get into the games and they don't like each other. The players, we definitely feed off of that. We go back and forth. It's definitely a little bitterness amongst each game."
The all-time series rests in favor of Dallas, which has 66 wins to Washington's 44 while the teams have tied twice. However, since 2005, the series has been tight, with Dallas winning 12 games and Washington winning 10.
Prior to 2005, Dallas had won 14-of-15 meetings – an era that Washington, D.C., native Vernon Davis grew up in. Davis, a 10-year NFL veteran, is playing for his hometown team for the first time this season.
"Yeah, growing up I was always a Redskins fan, always wanted the Redskins to beat the Cowboys," Davis said. "And now I'm here. I'm here in burgundy and gold. That's what it's about.
"Everyone's talking about this game. It's a big game. Every game is big, every game's huge. This is a divisional game. We need this one. We have to go out and play as hard as we possibly can, minimize the mistakes and the penalties and try to come with the torch."
Wide receiver Josh Doctson also grew up with the rivalry, but he was in Cowboys territory. Doctson grew up in Mansfield, Texas, roughly 40 minutes from Dallas where many of his family members are indeed Cowboys fans. Although he hasn't played in the game yet, Doctson knows that the rivalry is alive and well.
"Yeah, it's still there obviously, when I first got here that's what all the questions was – to make sure I wasn't a Cowboys fan," Doctson said. "I know the rivalry is pretty huge, so I'm looking forward to it."