Torrey Smith: Baltimore-Washington a 'very healthy rivalry' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
What makes a true sports rivalry? If you asked five people, you'd probably get five very different answers.
For some, it's proximity. The Ravens and Washington Football Team certainly have that down, as a mere 30 miles separates the two home stadiums.
For others, it might be a long and storied history. Washington and Dallas are about as far apart as any two division rivals can be, but the history between the two franchises is rich. Playing in the same division allows for more opportunities to hand each other crucial losses, a key element to any good rivalry.
For others, it's plain hatred. This one is hard to get playing once every four years, especially when only one side of the rivalry is regularly contending while the other is a regular at the bottom of the standings.
Whatever you value, it's clear to at least of this local rivalry's former players that Ravens-Washington Football Team is, in fact, a healthy rivalry.
"I think it is. I mean, you share the Beltway, you know. We share traffic," former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith told the Washington Football Talk podcast ahead of Week 4's matchup between the two teams. "You know there tends to be this PG [County] vs. Baltimore thing, Virginia and D.C. vs. everyone else. So I think it’s a very healthy rivalry that I don’t think we promote enough. There aren’t too many places in the country that can say they have two professional football teams right in their backyard."
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While some fans do like to consider Baltimore-Washington a rivalry, it's surprising to hear Smith call it a "healthy" rivalry considering the state of the two franchises. It's particularly surprising considering Smith played for the team that usually is in a better position to contend - and therefore less likely to view it as a rivalry.
But Smith has a unique position as somebody who grew up in Virginia and who played at the University of Maryland - right in Washington's backyard, as he mentioned to the podcast.
He also recognizes the need for Washington to take a step forward to solidify the rivalry's standing.
"If the Washington Football Team was like the New England Patriots, talking about performance-wise and Super Bowl-wise, and the Baltimore Ravens were who they are in terms of winning their Super Bowl this decade, and then also is a team that is competing each and every year, then that would be something that we would be talking about more," Smith said.
Smith has seen his fair share of trash talk between the two teams, especially during his time at Maryland. But simple trash talk isn't enough to create a true rivalry between, even if their fans feel there is one.
Smith knows that winning is the key ingredient necessary for a long-lasting feud.
"When Coach Rivera gets the team back to where they’re supposed to be, then I believe that rivalry will mean a lot more," Smith said. "Because right now there isn’t a lot to talk about between the two teams."