Gowin: Redskins Rivalry Different But Anything Can Happen

Sports Illustrated

named the Cowboys-Redskins matchups as one of the greatest sports rivalries of all time.

At one time, Jacksonville's Toby Gowin was caught in the crossfire.

"I was always looking for a reason to step up my game," Gowin laughed. "Some of those fans, I would try to watch and to see if anything would set me off a little more, just to give me more incentive."

The former Cowboys punter said the games are always intense, but the rivalry itself has changed a bit.

"The rivalry has not been what it was in recent years," Gowin said. "It's kind of dropped off a little bit. But, what makes that such a big game obviously is it's a division opponent."

Gowin said great matchups like Darrell Green versus Michael Irvin, a combo he witnessed first hand, may not be replicated any time soon.

"There's such a turnover of players and coaches, especially in Washington," he chuckled. "They've been turning it over quite a bit up there. So players aren't real familiar with each other and to me that's what makes a good rivalry. It's when you play somebody over and over."

"The media likes to play up the rivalry and the fans get in to it. But as a player, for me, I tried to focus on my job and say, 'hey, I'm going to take this returner out, that's my job.' "

Still, Gowin said the Cowboys defeat last season in Washington and the

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upset three years ago are proof, the rivalry will live on.

"In 2005 when Santana (Moss) came up big, you thought the game was over. I went to bed! I was like, 'Oh, this games over.' You can appreciate the division games. The fact that you never know what's going to happen."