Two teams out of the rugged NFC West that have a long standing history of battling each other are the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. These two teams are two of the Western-most teams in the league, and have seen some great battles in their history. The rivalry dates back many years, but as recent as this season, they saw some excellent battles.
History of 49ers vs. Seahawks Rivalry
In the NFL, Seattle is the most isolated city by geography as it is approximately 800 miles driving distance from the nearest opponent. The Bay Area happens to have two NFL teams, making the Raiders and 49ers the closest teams. The 49ers belong to the NFC West division along with the Seattle Seahawks, which has created an entertaining divisional rivalry since they both joined in 2002 after an approved conference realignment plan. Up until that point, they played each other twice a decade with The Niners leading the series 4-2 after facing each other in 76, 79, 85, 88, 91 and 97. It was not a significant rivalry before it started to intensify after long-standing college rival coaches took positions in the NFL. Pete Carroll (USC) was hired by Seattle in 2010, just a year before Jim Harbaugh (Stanford) was brought in by San Francisco. Both teams also drafted young, mobile quarterbacks that truly played a role in reshaping this rivalry. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick helped turn both of their teams into perennial playoff contenders as shown by the NFC West champions being claimed by either of these two teams from 2010-2014.
Head to Head Analysis of 49ers vs. Seahawks
There have been 41 total meetings between the 49ers and Seahawks since 1976. The Hawks lead the series with a record of 25-16, which includes their only playoff matchup in which they won by a score of 23-17 in early 2014. More recently, Seattle was on a 10-game win streak from 2014 to 2018 before it was snapped by the 49ers on a field goal in overtime during their last game this season. The Niners’ biggest streak came earlier in the same decade when they won 4 straight and actually had the lead in this series at 14-13 before the Seahawks went on their incredible winning streak.
A Glance at Postseason Success in 49ers vs. Seahawks
As mentioned earlier, they have met each other once in the postseason, with the Seahawks edging the 49ers by 6 points to compete in Super Bowl XLVII. This 2013 NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle was ended in tremendous fashion when Richard Sherman, a former player at Stanford for Coach Harbaugh, tipped an end zone pass that led to a game-winning interception by Malcolm Smith. Seattle went on to win the Super Bowl that year for their first and only Super Bowl Championship as a franchise. In terms of postseason success, not many teams compare with the rich and long history of the 49ers. They have appeared in the playoffs 26 times, due in part to 19 division championships in the NFC West, and they have won the NFC 6 of those times. The 1980s and 1990s were the heydays for the Niners, and that was when they won their 5 franchise rings. Along with the Seahawks’ Super Bowl Championship, they have 3 NFC Championships with 10 division championships. Seattle has 17 total playoff appearances, with the 2000s and 2010s being their most successful decades.
49ers vs. Seahawks Rivalry Outlook
The 49ers had some tough breaks to begin the year—literally. Offensively, they will have QB Jimmy Garoppolo and RB Jerick McKinnon returning from ACL tears. Tight end George Kittle had a break-out year and RB Matt Breida filled in nicely in place of McKinnon, so it will be interesting to see how these 4 progress. The Niners defense is full of young talent with guys like MLB Fred Warner, DT DeForest Buckner, DL Arik Armstead, and DT Solomon Thomas. On the Seahawks side of the offense, they have some talented running backs in Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. For pass catchers, TE Will Dissly and WR David Moore seemed to come into their own this season. On the defense end, learn names like CB Tre Flowers, CB Shaquill Griffin, and DE Frank Clark. I predict there will be some exciting games for their mascots, Sourdough Sam and Blitz, to watch at Levi’s Stadium and CenturyLink Field in the future of this new rivalry.