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Instead of fearing matchups against Super Bowl-winning teams headed by John Riggins and Art Monk, Cowboys fans have recently looked forward to games against a franchise that has cycled through seven head coaches and just three winning seasons during the 12-year tenure of owner Dan Snyder.

Fans of both teams, however, assure that such a one-sided outlook on the rivalry is misleading. Hatred for the Redskins still runs high in Big D, where burgundy and gold sightings are not overlooked by the city’s proud fan base.

“I’ve done a lot of work in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, and I’ve worn my Darrell Green jersey and walked the streets, and I promise you I’m not seeing any apathy when I’m down there,” said Ken Meringolo, a contributor to Redskins blog Hogs Haven. “They definitely care. It’s a juvenile thing to suggest we care about it more than they do.”

Nick Stewart, 22, a Dallas resident who describes his support for the Cowboys as a lifestyle, says that while many younger Dallas fans now view the Philadelphia Eagles as a bigger rival, antipathy toward the Redskins endures. Much of that, he says, stems from the rivalry’s competitive nature. After all, the final margin of the past nine contests between the two teams has averaged less than a touchdown, and the Monday night record is even at 7-7.

“Every year, no matter how good the Cowboys are, you go into a game against the Washington Redskins and it’s a battle,” Stewart said. “It goes down to the wire, no matter how bad either team is. That’s why I don’t think the rivalry is in decline. If you’re a true Cowboys fan, it’s always a big game, no matter what the record is for either team.”

With Washington riding high on a 2-0 start and Dallas reeling from injuries, many Redskins fans believe Monday night presents a prime opportunity to reinvigorate the rivalry even further. A win might change Dallas fans’ perceptions of their division foes - no longer the team they are supposed to beat, but the team they need to beat.

“There were a couple of years there where I would walk in the store and they would just kind of look at me and roll their eyes and not even say anything,” Costa said. “Whereas now, they’re starting to initiate it. The last two years, we didn’t beat them in Dallas, so they still think they own us.

“They still have that cockiness, but that will change if we beat them Monday night. And I think we will.”