There are a lot of great things in professional sports, particularly the grinding gladiator atmosphere of the NFL. Is there anything better than a great rivalry? The Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers are developing a fabulous level of disdain for each other, which hopefully will continue in 2013. If you think about it, many of the elements of a great rivalry are already here.
You have two great teams that have the potential to be very good for a number of years. There are stars like Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. In addition, there are marquee coaches and in the modern age of electronic communication, a lot of smack talk. This rivalry is setting up to be a multi-season grudge match that could have some legendary battles.
Fans that follow college and professional football know that the relationship between coaches Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll goes back a few years. When Harbaugh was at Stanford and Carroll was at USC, there was the infamous “What’s your deal?” episode.
Now, Brandon Browner wants to put his hands around Harbaugh’s neck, and Richard Sherman has made quite clear that he does not have a relationship with his former college coach. Awesome. Now all we need is for the ‘Hawks to beat the ‘Niners so that Sherman can run up to Colin Kaepernick and stage the sequel to “U MAD BRO?”
Of course, Vernon Davis is saying nice things about the Seahawks, namely that they are assembling the pieces of a dynasty. Is he really displaying respect or is it something else? I smell some gamesmanship. One has to assume that Harbaugh enjoyed using Seattle’s drug suspension issues as an opportunity to distance his team from the squad that occupies noisy CenturyLink Field.
Understand that this rivalry is still fairly new and will need to evolve. The rivalry has gained momentum quickly, but it does lack the long history of other rivalries in the NFL. Those that are a little older know that the Seahawks were not always in the NFC West. In fact, Seattle started in the AFC West, and the rivals were very different.
In the 80s, fans of the Seahawks probably had the most disdain for one particular team: The Denver Broncos. Also that secondary-shredding quarterback, John Elway. I should know. I owned, and proudly wore, a “Bronco Busters” t-shirt. That shirt is long gone, but apparently I could replace it through an online auction.
This competition between the Seahawks and the 49ers has all the makings of a nice, long rivalry. Obviously the two teams will both have to stay competitive and even elite for most fans to care. Rivalries are at their best when two teams can actually put together a competitive contest on the field.
Now, enough smack talk from the players and coaches. Soon enough, they will be able to settle it on the field. Circle September 15, December 8 and the NFC Championship Game?