This just in: the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will be “must-see TV” this weekend. The fact that they will play each other in the NFC Championship Game this coming Sunday makes this the next best rivalry in the NFL.
The NFL and its fans (that would be us) needs another great rivalry to chew on. It makes for great theater and ratings – and even better publicity.
Lets face it: we fans can rattle off some historically great NFL rivalries. Patriots-Jets. Packers-Bears. Saints-Falcons. Cowboys-Redskins. Giants-Eagles. Chiefs-Raiders. Steelers-Browns. Broncos-Chargers. Patriots-Colts. Titans-Ravens. Steelers-Ravens.
Speaking of Steelers-Ravens, the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry in my mind is the perfect successor to that brutal AFC North rivalry.
The Steelers-Ravens rivalry is primarily based on two things: intimidation and brutality. Both teams like to show other teams who is boss on the field. In the Ravens’ case, they would also TELL YOU how they will impose their will on another team. The Steelers and Ravens are mirror images of each other, which leads to more loathing (and respect) between the two teams.
The 49ers and Seahawks follow the same Steelers-Ravens blueprint. San Fran and Seattle aim to intimidate and force their wills on opponents. And while the 49ers would rather show you how they will impose their will on a team (as do my Steelers), the Seahawks would rather TELL YOU how they would beat you down into submission (as do the Ravens).
And the most beautiful part of the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry is this: they can’t stand each other, as do their coaches. In fact, they hate each other – and that’s a good thing (for fans). If y’all want to know just how nasty this rivalry has become, check out this gem from the Seahawks’ motor-mouthed All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman:
“There’s no love lost and there’s no love found. I don’t know if there’s going to be handshakes after this one. It’s going to be intense and it’s going to be physical.”
49ers stud linebacker Patrick Willis had this quote on the rivalry with the Seahawks:
“No question there’s a lot of hostility between us”.
And if those quotes aren’t enough, both coaches (the Niners’ Jim Harbaugh and Seahawks’ Pete Carroll) hated each other since their college coaching days. I mean who could ever forget this:
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what a rivalry is all about. As a Steelers fan I’d never thought I’d say it, but Steelers-Ravens eat your heart out!