Leading Off

Leading Off: 49ers-Seahawks rivalry has longtime evolution

Word is the 49ers and Seahawks have the most intense rivalry in the NFL, and anecdotal evidence supports that assertion.

The teams both are excellent, well-matched and none too fond of each other.

The record also speaks volumes:

• The teams have played each other 30 times since the Seahawks joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1976, and they each have won 15 times.

• Seattle has the longest winning streak in the rivalry, fashioning six consecutive wins and sweeping the season series from 2003 through 2005.

• The 49ers’ longest winning streak in the series was four games, from 2010 to 2012.

• In the past 10 games – going back to the first meeting of 2009 – the 49ers are 6-4 against the Seahawks, and in the past two seasons and four games the home team has won.

This rivalry starts on the sidelines and works its way toward the center of the field. Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers coach who often seems at odds with pretty much everyone not a 49er, and Seattle coach Pete Carroll, whose bearing seems geared to get under people’s skin, lob Scuds toward each other with comforting regularity.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin, both fine players, seem hard-wired to keep up a steady stream of game-time barking. And their friends join in.

And the fans? They’re ready to go to war. From the comfort of their stadium seats and couches and bar stools, of course, which is a very good system.

– Brian Blomster


What to watch

NBA, Kings at Minnesota, 5 p.m., CSNCA: Matchup between bigmen DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love alone is worth watching.

Today’s poll

What is best about 49ers-Seahawks rivalry?

• Evenly matched teams

• Feud between coaches

• 49ers Faithful vs. 12th Man

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Tuesday’s results

Who will win Sunday’s NFC Championship?

• 49ers: 72%

• Seahawks: 28%

Total votes: 208