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Redskins Aim to Restore Dallas Rivalry

Casey Rabach is new to the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry, but he has already heard the stories of the two teams' epic battles.

  • There was Kenny Houston tackling Walt Garrison at the goal line to preserve a Redskins Monday night win in 1973.
  • Obscure rookie Clint Longley throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson to beat the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day in 1974.
  • Tony Hill catching a last-minute pass in the final regular-season game in 1979 to spoil the Redskins' playoff bid.
  • The "We Want Dallas" chants before the 1982 NFC Championship Game between the two teams. The Redskins would beat Dallas and advance to the Super Bowl with a 31-17 win at a raucous RFK Stadium.
  • Darryl Grant high-stepping into the end zone after intercepting a pass to secure the Redskins' NFC championship win in 1982.
  • Darrell Green coming out of nowhere in a 1983 Monday night game to catch running back Tony Dorsett on a long run.

Such dramatics are part of the hysteria that has accompanied games pitting the burgundy and gold against the blue and silver.

Before the start of the 2005 regular season, head coach Joe Gibbs brought in Redskins greats Gary Clark, Pat Fischer and Charles Mann, among others, to talk to players about what it meant when the NFC East rivals seemed to collide in momentous games every year.

"They talked about what it was like here when they played and what it can be like here with a winning team and a winning attitude," Rabach said. "They covered all of the bases of the history of the Redskins versus the Cowboys and what it still means today."

Rabach will have his first taste of the rivalry on Monday night, when the Redskins take on the Cowboys at Texas Stadium in a nationally televised affair.

It's been suggested that the Redskins-Cowboys matchup is no longer a premiere rivalry because it's been so one-sided for so many years. Since the mid-1990s, the Cowboys have won 14 of 15 contests and now lead the all-time series 54-34-2.

Even Gibbs downplayed the rivalry aspect of the game in the days leading up to the game.

"We've had some big battles that I've been a part of in the first go-around," Gibbs said. "What I remember about the old days is that when we had real good football teams, they had a knack for beating us.

"But in order to have a great rivalry, both teams have to be competitive against each other and so far against Dallas, we've not been able to do that. Until we start doing that, it's kind of hard to have a modern day rivalry."

Added safety Ryan Clark: "In order to make it a rivalry, it has to be competitive--and the way they have been beating us, it has not been competitive."

Listen closely, though, and you realize that the rivalry remains just beneath the surface, even for those like Rabach who have not experienced Redskins vs. Cowboys yet.

Said Clark: "For us, it's more a matter of pride. When a team beats you constantly, all the time, and no matter what you do they still win, it's frustrating."

Added cornerback Walt Harris: "It's always in the air. No one has come to me, but the atmosphere is more 'Don't talk about, be about it.'"

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