It's no secret that the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers hate each other. Even if one only tuned in for the NFC Championship, it'd be apparent. But this is a budding NFL rivalry -- one of, if not the, best -- that goes beyond just Richard Sherman, Michael Crabtree and Colin Kaepernick, even if those three have had the spotlight lately.
The latest chapter in this story involves Kaepernick, who is in New York for Super Bowl week and making the media rounds. After all the attention was on Sherman following his post-game rant live on FOX, it's Kaepernick's turn. And hoooo boy he mad (via Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post):
"As my dad has always told me, if you have to tell people how good you are, then how good are you really?" Kaepernick added. "If you have to go on national TV and try to say you're the best cornerback in the league, then you've got your own insecurities."
"I don't care who's out there," Kaepernick said. "I had Crabtree one-on-one with half of the field to himself, and I'm going to take that every single time. He made a good play on that ball, but if I throw it a foot farther, it's a touchdown and now you're the goat, Richard Sherman."
Kaepernick also said Sherman was afraid of the 49ers receivers and added a "Go Peyton" as the stamp on the interview, which is all superb.
This is easy hot take material, but let's look beyond that and just appreciate how fun this rivalry is. Here we have players that hate each other, coaches that hate each other even if they won't admit it, fans that absolutely despise each other, and two of the best football teams in the league right now. It's an incredible recipe for entertainment.
The hate goes all the way back to the college level, when then USC head coach Pete Carroll and then Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh had their infamous "What's your deal?" run-in after the latter went for two late in a blowout.
Polite applause and a tip of the cap to Harbaugh for not giving a damn and going for two.
Both ended up in the NFL a short time later, and both ended up in the NFC West. And thus, a rivalry began to fully crystalize as both teams began winning and fighting for the NFC West crown.
It starts with the head coaches and their attitudes: Harbaugh as an explosive personality on the field that demands toughness and Carroll as a free-flowing spirit that seeks out players with a chip on their shoulder and encourages them to be who they are. Sprinkle in a few players on the Seattle team who played for Harbaugh, but don't think so highly of him -- Richard Sherman, step on up -- and it's easy to see why things get so chippy.
Before diving back into the present day, let's remember this amazing (alleged) incident:
It sometimes even spills into the parking lot. Seattle defensive backs Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman claimed Harbaugh honked and waved at the Seahawks' team bus after the 49ers beat them in San Francisco in October.
"He honked his horn at the bus and waved," Sherman told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports after the game. "That happened -- a bunch of the guys told me. Yeah, he was (honking)."
Harbaugh denied the incident, but let's not act like it's out of the realm of possibility. Let's also not try to act like honking at the opposing team bus after beating said team isn't awesome. It's fantastic.
Then, in the first Seahawks-49ers meeting this year, we had this tender moment between Sherman and Harbaugh. Good game, coach.
It looks eerily similar to the "good game" Sherman gave Crabtree after the NFC Championship. The Seahawks-49ers rivalry really is all about sportsmanship.
Without having to rehash all of the takes and analysis of Sherman's post game interview, it's worth just standing in awe of how the Seahawks-49ers hate has evolved. Sherman and Crabtree got into it at a charity event over the summer, reportedly setting off the whole feud that bubbled over at the end of the NFC Championship. A charity event hosted by Larry Fitzgerald, a fellow NFC West player and one of the nicest guys in the game. This is all so amazing.
Of course, Kaepernick was going to fire back at Sherman at some point. And of course, he's not going to be rooting for Seattle in the Super Bowl. He's a competitor, a hell of a quarterback and, most importantly in this case, conditioned to hate Seattle, hate Sherman and probably hate everything blue and green.
And that's great. No further deep dives into what Kaepernick's words mean are needed. Let's just appreciate how outstanding this rivalry is and how much fun it's going to be to watch these two teams try to beat the ever-loving snot out of each other for, hopefully, many years to come.