What a difference a few years makes. 3 years ago, the NFC West was the worst division in NFL history with no team finishing better than 500. It was saved a little bit by Seattle’s improbable victory over the New Orleans Saints, which was the game where Marshawn Lynch’s fame started. Remember his 67 yard touchdown run. If not, look it up. Flash forward three years where the NFC West is arguably the most competitive division in the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are arguably 2 of the top 3 teams in the NFL. Not only that, but this is the best rivalry in the NFL and possibly in all of sports.
So, what makes this rivalry so special. First, start with the head coaches; Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll. These guys try to hide that they don’t like each other and don’t elaborate in press conferences about one another, but we all know that these two don’t like each other. Ever since Harbaugh’s Stanford Cardinal blew out Carroll’s USC Trojans a few years ago the feud between the two started. When the coaches met at midfield, Carroll said “what’s your deal” ,which led Harbaugh to respond “What’s your deal.” This dislike has continued in the NFL as they consistently call each other out for different things that might not seem like big deals at all. For example, this past offseason while Seattle has had a number of players suspended for Performance Enhancing Drugs and Adderall, Harbaugh said “If you cheat to win, you’ve already lost”. He also said that he doesn’t tolerate drug use on his side. Of course, this would irk a response from Seahawks Cornerback Brandon Browner.
The hatred that Carroll and Harbaugh share has certainly rubbed off on the players. Although the Seahawks players, in particular former Stanford player Richard Sherman has said some things about Harbaugh like “I don’t have a relationship with him, I don’t try to go any route with him. I don’t deal with him — he is not my coach. I deal with what is going on in Seattle and I keep it there.” He also referred to Harbaugh as a bully as well. “Sometimes, man, when the bully gets bullied, that’s how that happens,” he said via Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times. “He’s the same guy who said the other guy was irrational and ignorant for talking about the refs.” Sherman said. Seahawks Wide Receiver Golden Tate has also said things as well as Seahawks Corner Brandon Browner. The dislike that these two teams have for one another is what makes this rivalry so intriguing.
Another definition of a rivalry from a media standpoint is that the game will get viewers. Whenever Seattle and San Francisco play there’s going to be a lot of viewers tuning in. Recently, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick decided to do a little friendly bet between the two of them. The bet was that the loser of the game would have to shave off one eyebrow. The bet was influenced by the New Madden Commercial in which both Wilson and Kaepernick were participating in. That’s a little weird, but that adds a little extra incentive. Also Anthony Dixon and his former college teammate K.J Wright got into a little exchange over Dixon referring to the Seahawks as Seachickens. Wright responded with the rest of the locker room will be ready for the 40 whiners.
Another reason why this rivalry is so cool is that these teams are built in basically the same way. They both have stud defenses, power running games and young dynamic quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. The last 4 times these teams have played the Niners have won three and Seattle has won one, but the games the Niners have won were competitive and hard fought and neither team was as good as they are now. These two teams are so close from a talent standpoint that whoever wins the two games these teams play could ultimately win the NFC West and more than likely get home-field advantage throughout the Playoffs.
The first time these teams will face off this season will be this Sunday at 5:30 PM in Seattle. The stadium will be rocking as the Seahawks have already said that they are going to try break the Guinness World Record for the loudest decibal level in a stadium. This game will be the first of two regular games. There’s also a high probability that both these teams will face off in the NFC Championship game as well. The Niners are returning to Seattle after being walloped 42-13 the last time these two teams played in Seattle so the Niners have a little extra motivation to prove that they are the best team in the NFC West and the NFL.