For awhile now, the feeling was there in the back of my head that the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers were the two best teams in the NFC.
They survived the gauntlet that used to be laughingly referred to as the NFC Worst and have advanced through the rest of what the conference had to offer.
The 49ers got by the Green Bay Packers and then pretty much ground up and spit out the Carolina Panthers in the second half on Sunday.
he Seattle Seahawks found an opponent in the New Orleans Saints that tried to out-tough them, which was a surprisingly dumb mistake by coach Sean Payton, who usually has a pretty good grip on understanding that you can’t beat anyone trying to be something you’re not.
So it’s down to the 49ers and the Seahawks and—news flash—they don’t like each other very much.
Then again, I kind of have to laugh at the inane nature of that statement. It’s football, not a quilting bee. There is very little about knocking heads with a bunch of other guys for 60 minutes that lends itself to singing “Kumbaya” at the end of it.
And in the NFL, there is nothing that breeds contempt quite like familiarity. This will be the third meeting between Seattle and San Francisco this year and even the fanbases chirp at each other.
A group of Seahawks fans purchased a 12th man banner to fly over Candlestick Park for the team’s December game there.
A group of 49ers backers upped the ante by purchasing a billboard in Seattle emblazoned with five Super Bowl trophies and asking the question, “Hey Seattle? How many you got?”
So, yeah, it’s not exactly afternoon tea when these two get together.
The Seahawks have reportedly blocking ticket sales in all but six Pacific Northwest states, the idea being to try and prevent an influx of non-neon green fans from descending upon CenturyLink Field for next Sunday’s NFC Championship.
We’re here now, in a season that seemed to be inexorably counting down to this matchup, in that stadium at this stage of the playoffs.
It’s what you hope for as a fan, whether you have a rooting interest or not.
They’re so similar, these two teams.
Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh can be seen as really annoying to some fans, particularly those of the 31 other teams that don’t employ them—even more so because they win all the bloody time.
The players are brash. The defenses are stingy.
San Francisco is convinced its front seven is the best in the NFL. Seattle is just as certain its secondary is the best in the game.
The 49ers have the “hot team” mojo going for them—they’ve won eight in a row, including two straight road games in the playoffs.
So yeah, Seahawks-49ers III should be a fun game. Carroll and Harbaugh have a history that dates back beyond their current jobs, back to when they were at USC and Stanford.
Few of the players on either side are shy about chirping at one another.
And the winner gets to go to New Jersey in February (Super Bowl tickets can be found here.)
OK, let’s not focus on that last fact so much.