Today it came to light that San Francisco 49ers fans raised over $9,000 to put up a billboard in downtown Seattle highlighting the team’s past Super Bowl success while reminding Seahawks fans of their lack of such success. This move by the fans of the 49ers came in response to an earlier stunt pulled by Seahawks fans where they paid to have a plane with a 12th Man banner fly over Candlestick Park before a San Francisco game. Seahawks fans also bought a commemorative brick at the new Niners stadium.
Come on, what these fan bases are doing is over the top. It is childish. It is a waste. It is desperate. It is unsportsmanlike. It is GREAT.
I don’t know if people on the other side of the country have taken notice or can feel it, but the Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers rivalry has blown up into a legitimate, big time, heated hate fest over just the course of a couple years. I don’t even live in Washington or California or even inside the route it takes to get from Seattle to San Francisco but I can definitely feel the intensity and disgust between the two sides.
I guess I shouldn’t make myself out to be someone who is so disconnected from the rivalry. I have been a Seattle Seahawks fan my whole life. I am from Washington State. I have lots of friends who are Seahawks fans and who post about it on social media every single Sunday to remind me. I also have many friends who are San Francisco 49ers fans as well, especially quite a few who live here in Missoula. I guess my point was that even though I don’t live in a team’s territory or even though I don’t go to Seahawks or 49ers games or even though I don’t spend my free time coming up with clever memes to bash the other team, I can still feel the heat of the rivalry.
In my lifetime I haven’t seen a rivalry involving a Pacific Northwest professional team that has as much passion and venom as the Hawks-Niners. It is insane. It works perfectly though. Both teams are fantastic. Both teams are in the same division. Both teams hate each other. It also helps that each squad has a young, exciting, and superb quarterback leading the charge…quarterback debates about who is better always adds fuel to a rivalry. It is not necessarily a bad thing either that Jim Harbaugh is such a dislikable guy. You can always loathe a team more when the guy in charge is a jerk (not my words, just the opinion of your typical Seahawks super fan). Conversely, Niners fans have reason to wish nothing but bad things for an opposing fan base that pretty much thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread. Even if the rivalry is relatively new, there is no denying its existence as the most relevant and competitive one in the NFL right now.
I love it that the players from the opposing teams genuinely despise each other and I love it that fans are going back and forth pulling off stunts to one up the other but there is one thing that turns me off a little bit about the rivalry: The way fans act on social media. I can’t believe all the nasty, low blow, classless things that both my friends who are Hawks fans and Niners fans post on Facebook about the opposing team. A week and a half ago when the two teams played I looked in shock at some of the repulsive things that were typed out and posted. If I took a screen shot of some of the stuff my friends put up and showed it to potential future employers they would never be hired again in their lives.
Okay, I got to tell the truth: It really doesn’t bother me at all, I actually love all the social media back-and-forth!!
Here’s to hoping that both teams remain good for many years to come and that this rivalry continues. It is just fun and good for both fan bases, especially the one in Seattle that has not seen a major professional sports championship since the 1970’s (exception for the Seattle Storm). Here’s also to hoping that the two teams meet in the playoffs and that the Seahawks kick the crap out of the 49ers…and that Jim Harbaugh cries. Don’t Blink.