There are two Sundays every year that I despise a large majority of my friends, and they hate me back.
I’m a 49ers fan, and I’ve been living in enemy territory since third grade.
Looking back at the last decade, it’s really quite remarkable how fast this rivalry has developed. For most of my years in Washington, the Seahawks and 49ers wavered back and forth between mediocrity and complete ineptitude, excluding the Seahawks 2005 Super Bowl run of course.
Yes, the Seahawks made four straight playoff appearances from 2004-07, but during that time the 49ers went a combined 18-46.
With the two teams either both wallowing in pain near the bottom or middle of the NFC West, or on opposite ends of the success spectrum, there wasn’t much of a rivalry to be had.
Well, now that’s all changed.
The 49ers and Seahawks have created what most are calling the best rivalry in the NFL currently, as well as into the foreseeable future.
It all started with the 49ers hiring Jim Harbaugh at the beginning of the 2011 season. Harbaugh took essentially the same roster that Mike Singletary had led to a 6-10 record in 2010 and won 13 games, taking the Niners into the NFC Championship game.
Harbaugh and the 49ers followed up their surprisingly successful 2011 with a Super Bowl run in 2012, fueled largely by the emergence of Colin Kaepernick as an elite NFL playcaller.
Since then, the 49ers have stockpiled draft picks and talent, creating the franchise best prepared for success now and in the future, according to ESPN.
But that’s not to write off the Hawks, who ESPN placed third on that same list.
The first couple of years under Head Coach Pete Carroll were mediocre, with the Seahawks going 7-9 in both campaigns.
However, that first 7-9 season in 2010 placed the Seahawks as the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record. Hooray?
But then the Carroll-lead Hawks found their quarterback and their identity in 2012. With Russell Wilson under center in Seattle for 2012, the Seahawks went 11-5 and made it into the second round of the playoffs.
What has happened since the teams’ successful 2012 campaigns can be described as nothing less than an arms race, with both teams stockpiling talent, constantly trying to one-up the other franchise.
The most notable back and forth was the 49ers acquiring AnquanBoldin, an answer to the Seahawks signing of Percy Harvin.
With the two highly powered teams playing in the same division, we’ve seen a rivalry created that resembles what the Steelers and Ravens had for so long.
We have a rivalry between two teams with hard hitting, aggressive defenses and high octane, unpredictable offenses. What more could you ask for?
Living in enemy territory has been mostly unexciting for me until recently, never really seeing the Seahawks as much of a threat.
Now things have changed dramatically.
While my beloved Niners are still the favorite in the division, both they and the Seahawks are potentially 13-win teams in 2013.
The nation will be watching the NFC West this year, that’s a guarantee.