This topic has changed over the years. When I first was old enough to pay attention (about 1977), the Cowboys went 12-2. They lost to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers that year. That invariably made them my least favorite teams. The Cowboys always seemed to split their games with the Cardinals and lose to Pittsburgh (especially in the Superbowl). So I pretty much hated both of them. Still do.
However, by the early 80s, the Redskins had come to the forefront of most hated opponents. Coach Joe Gibbs turned the Redskins into contenders, winning three Superbowls with the 'Skins. It seemed like we split our season rivalry every year. Of course, the Cowboys were in decline through much of the 80s, so it didn't help that I had to watch Washington competing for Superbowls while the Cowboys were lucky to make the playoffs.
Even watching Tom Landry make his famous commercial where he was "surrounded by Redskins" fed into my hatred. From those days until now, the Washington Redskins have remained my most hated team. Each week, I root for two teams and two teams alone - the Cowboys and whoever is playing the Redskins. If the Redskins would go 0-16, I would be ecstatic. I didn't change my opinion when Norv Turner became their coach, still hated them with every coach that came along, from Schottenheimer to Spurrier to the resurgence of Gibbs. I doubt if anything will change my opinion.
In fact, one of the bright spots of the Dave Campo years was the fact that he seemed to have a mastery over the Redskins. No other Cowboys coach has ever had a better winning percentage against them than he did. We ought to give him his due for that, at least. We might have only been 5-11 every year, but two of those victories came at the expense of the team from the Potomac. heh, heh...
Don't get me wrong. There are other teams that I despise. There are 31 of them in fact (yeah, thats right. I am a true Cowboys fan and don't like any other team at all). The Giants, Eagles and Cardinals are way down on my list (even though the Cardinals are no longer division opponents and aren't even any good anymore and haven't been for years, old hatreds die hard). The 49ers, Steelers, Lions, Panthers and Dolphins are also especially hated. But none compare with the contempt that I have for the Redskins.
They are truly my most hated opponent and I wish them a putrid season - again.
There are plenty of candidates for my most hated team. The Philadelphia Eagles and some of the classless fans of that team would be a very worthy choice. Buddy Ryan and his antics. Cheering, while Michael Irvin lay paralyzed on the field. The Cowboys and the New York Giants have had many battles over the years. The San Francisco 49ers, the catch, and a team that many associate with the end of the first great Cowboys era, and the team Dallas battled throughout the 90's for NFL dominance. The Washington Redskins. George Allen. All of the wars in the seventies. Any of those teams are my most hated on any given Sunday. But the one that perseveres, the one that stands out above all the others is the terrible-towel-twirling, linebacker-with-no-teeth, jaw-surging-and-spitting-everywhere-coach and can't-spell-cat-quarterback Pittsburgh Steelers.
The first real painful loss I experienced as a football fan was in Super Bowl XIII. The Steelers first ruined my hopes for an All Texas Super Bowl by destroying the Houston Oilers, and then they beat the team that I thought was unbeatable, the Roger Staubach led Dallas Cowboys featuring Tony Dorsett. That was a game the Cowboys should have won. There were so many plots and sub-plots in that game. Benny Barnes' had a pass interference penalty that shouldn't have been called, and more than any other play, that referee's decision decided the outcome of the game. A Hall of Fame tight end dropped a pass in the end zone that hit him in the hands, a play which Roger Staubach still to this day tries to take the blame. The pass wasn't behind him enough to make a difference. No question that pass should have been caught.
It's not only that the Cowboys lost that game however, it's the disrespect the franchise has received since then that has fueled my hatred. The Dallas Cowboys were the winningest team of the 70's. They won more games and made more playoff appearances than any other team. And yet that four point loss in Super Bowl XIII has somehow tipped the scales to the Steelers favor, far more than it should have. I'm not saying that Pittsburgh shouldn't be considered the Team of The 70's, they beat Dallas twice in the Super Bowl, and even though I will go to my grave knowing that the Cowboys were the better team in Super Bowl XIII, the Steelers won the game and that is the undisputable truth. That game was the battle of the 70's and the Cowboys lost. But they lost by four points and the game could have easily gone either way. And the Pittsburgh Steelers have 9 players from that team in the Hall of Fame, while the Dallas Cowboys have 4, and the only reason the Cowboys have the 4th (Rayfield Wright) is because of the Seniors Committee. Drew Pearson should be in. Cliff Harris should be in. Harvey Martin. Ed Jones. Charlie Waters deserves consideration. So does Herbert Scott.
I'm sure Clint will choose the Washington Redskins and they are a very worthy choice. On Cowboys-Skins day, and plenty of others, I feel they are a team that I can't hate any more than I do. But then I remember the game and the injustices. And those stinkin' towels. And Lambert, too cheap to pay for dental coverage. And Cowher spittin' everywhere.