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

Monday Night


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."