Rivals with respect


The Dallas Cowboys have no shortage of rivalries — New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles — but the one against the team’s upcoming opponent, the Green Bay Packers, is characterized by history and mutual respect.

On Sunday, the Cowboys will face the team that eliminated them from two of the last three playoffs and defeated them in six of the past seven meetings. They are approaching this game as their shot at redemption.

“It’s definitely in our head,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s for revenge, but to go get a win, to show them what we’re capable of doing.”

For this game, DallasCowboys.com’s Scout’s Eye lined up three players on the Packers who will present a challenge for the Cowboys:

Linebacker Clay Matthews, with his quick and clever thinking, is “the definition of a relentless player” and “needs to be accounted for at all times.”

Cornerback Kevin King hits hard and is hard to hit. He may not be the fastest, but he is physically tough and “his length makes him a hard guy to get away from.”

And, of course, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a poised and confident player with impressive accuracy. He is known for his ability to “deliver the ball at all levels and arm angles in order to complete a pass.”

“He’s just exceptional,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Rodgers. “I think he has rare athletic ability. Both his feet and his arm talent are off the charts. He’s got a great feel for the game and is an incredible competitor.”

Dallas and Green Bay play each other once every three years. If the teams finish the season ranked in the same position in their division’s standings, they meet the next year.

The two teams, which collectively have nine Super Bowl championships, first met in the 1960s. The Packers won all six of those games, three of which were in Dallas.

In 1966, the two played each other at the NFL Cotton Bowl game. The Packers won 34-27 and went on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs, becoming the first Super Bowl Champions.

The next year, the Packers and Cowboys played a game now referred to as the Ice Bowl on New Year’s Eve at Green Bay. It was 13 degrees below zero in Lambeau Stadium, and the players had their feet covered in saran wrap for warmth. The Packers beat the Cowboys 21-17 and later beat the Oakland Raiders for their second Super Bowl title.

Then came the 90s.

From 1991 to 1996, the Cowboys and Packers played each other 10 times. The Cowboys won nine of those, amassing the longest win streak in this rivalry. The teams were even in the 2000s, but the 2010s saw the Packers winning most of the meetings. The largest victory was in 2010, when Green Bay defeated Dallas 45-7.

To add another layer to their loaded history, the Cowboys and Packers are very different franchises.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has a major presence and is sometimes a spokesperson for Dallas. The team plays in a “glitzy” stadium located in the suburbs of Arlington. Green Bay plays in the league’s smallest market and longest-tenured stadium, and is the only NFL franchise to be publicly owned.

“Part of it is, I don’t think the organizations could be more different,” Packers president Mark Murphy said. “But I have tremendous respect for the Dallas organization and Jerry.”