Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse — a survey of fans across the NFL, powered by SurveyMonkey. Each week, we send 32 polls to 100+ plugged in fans from each team. Patriots fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.
After two decades of dominance, every team wants a chance to take on the New England Patriots and very few are successful. No teams have a winning record against the Patriots since Bill Belich took over in 2000 and only two teams even crack .500- the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants, who both have 3-3 records against the Patriots.
But despite the fact that no team has been able to go toe-to-toe with the Patriots on a regular basis over the past 20 years, fans of every team still like to consider themselves to be a rival of New England.
In this week’s Fan Pulse survey, fans were given an opportunity to rank their rivals and the Patriots were listed as a primary rival for a whopping nine teams. The Dallas Cowboys were also ranked by nine teams. No other team exceeded six lists.
Both the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets ranks the Patriots as their biggest rival, while the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills had the Patriots as their second-biggest rival. The Dolphins listed the Jets as their biggest rival and the Bills listed the Dolphins as their biggest rival.
The Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Ravens all consider the Patriots their third-biggest rival, which is a real honor since they rarely play the Rams and the other three teams have been the class of the AFC over the past 20 years. New England is a combined 34-16 (0.680) against these four teams since 2000.
New England ranked behind the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks for the Rams; behind the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs for the Broncos; behind the Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals for the Steelers; and behind the Steelers and Bengals for the Ravens. Apologies to the fanbases of the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, and Cleveland Browns.
And finally the Chargers ranked the Patriots as their fourth-biggest rival, clearly a remnant of the LaDainian Tomlinson era. New England ranked behind the Chargers’ three division rivals.
Of these nine teams, who would you consider to be the Patriots biggest rival? Peyton Manning, while the correct answer, isn’t an option.
The Broncos (9-10) and Dolphins (13-24) are the only teams to play more than seven games against the Patriots and win a third of them. The Steelers have been the second-best team in the AFC since 2000, while the Ravens seem to be the consensus “don’t want to play them in the playoffs” team every year.
So who do you choose as the Patriots biggest rival?