When the San Francisco 49ers kicked off against the Green Bay Packers, we all knew it would be one of the better games of the opening Sunday of the NFL year. We had no idea, however, that it would be as explosive as it was.
The tone was set in the second quarter when Clay Matthews ignited a fight by clotheslining 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after he had already gone out of bounds. That play, and the brawl that came after it, epitomized the intensity that the game was played with.
That intensity is reminiscent of the types of the games the Packers and 49ers used to play. What seems like just a little while ago to those of us who grew up watching the old-school rivalry, is, in reality, almost 20 years ago. Back then you had two great quarterbacks battling each other for NFC supremacy; I guess not much has changed since Steve Young and Brett Favre were going at each other.
Today it’s Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers leading the charge, and doing just as good a job as those two did. The battles between the 49ers and the Packers back in the 90′s were hard-fought, but also filled with skilled players.
That hasn’t changed, either. The Packers have been one of the most explosive offenses in the league for a while now, but it’s the emergence of the San Francisco offensive firepower that has made this a great rivalry again. Since the team hired head coach Jim Harbough, they’ve added skill to their passing game. Kaepernick has been the biggest catalyst for the offense, but weapons like Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis had huge games against the Packers.
The 49ers and the Packers have played some of the best games the league has seen in the last couple of years. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of this rivalry this season.