The NFL team I hate the most? Easy: The Pittsburgh Steelers. The silver medal goes to our closest NFL neighbors, the San Francisco 49ers. Last year in this space, I tried to explain why:
A long time ago, I used to respect, even LIKE the 49ers. Back when they weren't yet our divisional foes, I admired lots of things about the Niners. Bill Walsh was a genius who changed the game for the better, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice were class acts who also happened to be two of the greatest players in the history of the sport, and the organization oozed cool professionalism. Back in the 1990s, I vigorously rooted for them to beat the detestable Cowboys every year, and one of my favorite non-Seahawks moments in NFL history was when Steve Young's Niners slayed Dallas in the 1994 NFC Championship. Those old Niners showed that you could win, and win big, by outsmarting your opponents, rather than just beating them into submission. In the early days of the Holmgren epoch, I LOVED the notion that the Seahawks might evolve into an echo of those old Niners teams in the 21st century.
Then realignment- and everything changed. T.O. and his fucking sharpie on MNF... Dennis Erickson taking over in SF... The Niners becoming not just bad, but laughably pathetic mid-decade... Finally, Singletary- The Anti-Walsh. Instead of cerebral, intelligent football? Undisciplined, thuggish caveman ball, coupled with an unearned swagger that lathered up a frothy hatred for the Niners from Seattle to Phoenix to St. Louis.
The current iteration of the San Francisco 49ers dishonors the franchise's long, storied history.
Jim Harbaugh already comes off as almost as despicable as Singletary, albeit for different reasons. On top of that, the Niners are backed by one of the most annoying fan bases in the NFL- A horde of dipshits who live to rub decades-old glory in other people's faces, while their current team flails around aimlessly.
The Seahawks are 13-11 all-time against the 49ers, including a 11-7 record since Seattle joined the NFC West in 2002. Some other fun facts about the respective teams' performances since 2002:
Overall Record: 74-70
NFC West Titles: 5
Playoff Appearances: 6
Playoff Wins: 5
Winning Seasons: 5
NFC Championships: 1
Overall Record: 56-88
NFC West Titles: 1
Playoff Appearances: 1
Playoff Wins: 1
Winning Seasons: 1
(all of the above in 2002)
NFC Championships: 0
Here's our Top 10 wins over those mangy curs... Enjoy!
10. October 7, 1979: Seahawks 35 @ 49ers 24
The weirdest thing about this one? Rookie QB Joe Montana didn't play for the Niners, but future Hall-of-Famer and infamous stabber O.J. Simpson did. Dr. Dan Doornink scored twice and the Seahawks started an 8-3 streak to end 1979 with a 9-7 record.
9. September 26, 2004: Seahawks 34, 49ers 0
8. November 12, 2007: Seahawks 24, 49ers 0
I can't really say either of these wins were particularly memorable, but it's always a great day when the Seahawks shut San Francisco the fuck OUT.
7. December 21, 1997: Seahawks 38, Niners 9
The Niners came in with HFA locked up, and treated this like a glorified preseason game. Despite that, this was still a rousing win. Warren Moon wrapped up his spectacular 1997 Pro Bowl season with four TD passes, including two to Joey Galloway. This was my first season as a Seahawks season ticket holder, so this game has an added bit of personal significance...
6. November 20, 2005: Seahawks 27 @ Niners 25
This was one of the shakiest performances of the 2005 NFC-Championship season, but it showed Seattle's ability to pull out a victory even when they weren't playing their best football. The Seahawks had a 27-12 lead going into the 4th, but they allowed Ken Dorsey (WTF?) to rally the 49ers to within a 2-point conversion in the final seconds. But this was 2005, NOT 2003 or 2004- This lead wouldn't get blown. Under pressure Dorsey's pass fell harmlessly to the turf and Seattle's sprint to XL continued unabated.
5. October 12, 2003: @ Seahawks 20, Niners 19
This was a big early-season ESPN Sunday Night test for the 2003 Seahawks. Even though the Hawks came in 3-1 and SF was 2-3, the Niners were defending division champs and only a year earlier T.O. had humiliated Seattle on MNF with his Sharpie stunt. The boys in blue ran out to a 17-0 lead, which evaporated into a 19-17 4th-quarter deficit. The Twelve Army watched anxiously as Josh Brown booted Seattle to a 20-19 lead with five minutes left, which was immediately followed by a Frisco march down the field.
Thankfully Chad Brown forced a Garrison Hearst fumble in the final minutes, and the Seahawks' march towards the 2003 playoffs continued.
4. September 30, 2007: Seahawks 23 @ Niners 3
How many times in recent years have we all been told by our social betters in the football press that the glorious revival of the 49ers was jusssssst around the corner? Early in the 2007 season, a trip to Candlestick was supposed to be the changing of the guard. Then this happened:
Yup, I have no problem reveling in Rocky Bernard fucking up Alex Smith's career by smashing his shoulder into meat-flavored goop. I'd love to see Brandon Mebane do likewise this Sunday.
3. December 6, 2009: Seahawks 20, Niners 17
The Niners arrived at Seahawks Stadium needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive against the (frankly sorta pathetic) MoraHawks. Though 2009 was an unmitigated clusterfuck, this was a spectacularly satisfying win... As I wrote in this space back then:
Let me say this clearly: Fuck the Niners. Fuck 'em. For all the bluster and chest-beating and media slobbering over them, these Niners haven't accomplished DICK yet. Nothing. Zilch. 2009 will be ANOTHER season that will end with them in their usual place: sitting at home, watching the playoffs. Once again, with feeling: FUCK the Niners.
All week all we heard about was how Coach Bug Eyes and the big, mean 49ers were going to come into Seattle, pistol whip our players, pillage Pioneer Square and generally lay waste to all things Seahawks. Mr. Commercial Star Mike Singletary would motivate his talented minions to subjugate our poor, defenseless Seahawks on their way to reclaiming what the media sees as the SF birthright: the NFC West title.
The Seahawks decided not to play the victim in this perfectly composed narrative. Of course, it helped that Singletary passed up 3 sure points by arrogantly going for it on 4th and goal early in the game. It also helped that the over-rated Frank Gore killed a Niners scoring drive in the 4th by coughing up the ball, and that Michael Crabtree was scared shitless by a charging Lawyer Milloy on what could have been SF's winning TD in the waning minutes.
2. September 12, 2010: Seahawks 31, Niners 6
I can't really say it better now than I did a year ago...
It was rapturously awesome to see the Seahawks not just beat the 49ers, but physically punish and abuse them. Alex Smith was never going to be the next Montana or Young, but today we saw him just as lost and helpless as he was in 2007. The only difference between today and that game at the Stick three years ago was that Smith's shoulder survived... This time. Can I mention again how terrible of a coach Singletary is? He constantly leaves points on the board, and his team is a gaggle of undisciplined punks.
Carroll's minions in blue? After a shaky start, it all seemed to come together... an imaginative offensive game plan from Jeremy Bates, orchestrated by a savvy, veteran Quarterback (who was barely touched today... thanks O-line)... a ferocious but disciplined defense fueled into overdrive by the Twelve Army. San Francisco was utterly unprepared for what the Hawks threw at them, and it was a joy to behold.
When was the last time the Hawks delivered such a cathartic win? Such a statement that not only would Seattle win the day, but that the future belonged to us too? Simultaneously, our hated rivals tumbled back into Limbo, into the dreary knowledge that the glorious Niner restoration STILL isn't happening. In the words of R.E.M., The Future Never Happened.
There's already a lot of Seahawks fans trying to downplay this win. Fuck that. I predicted that the Seahawks would win the NFC West, and now I GUARANTEE they will... You, my friends, will have a home playoff game to watch in January. I will be at Qwest screaming until my soul spills out, and Mike Singletary and his Niners will be at home, watching on television.
1. December 27, 2003: Seahawks 24 @ Niners 17
The Seahawks went to Candlestick Park for a Saturday afternoon game just after Xmas, needing a win and some help the following day to qualify for the postseason for only the 2nd time since 1988. Seattle entered the game at 9-6, but sported a pathetic 1-6 road record coming into the game. Niners coach Dennis Erickson was hoping for a win to finish the season 8-8 (which was a habit he picked up back in Seattle during the 1990s), and to exact vengeance upon his old employers and the coach who replaced him in Seattle.
The Hawks quickly fell behind 14-0, and lamentations of "same old Seahawks" rang out across the land like church bells. Another winning but playoff-free season loomed.. It was '78, '79, '86, and '90 allll over again... but the Seahawks clawed and gouged back into the game, and then something amazing happened late in the 3rd:
Matt Hasselbeck threw a PERFECT pass to Koren Robinson in the back of the end zone... and K-rob HELD ONTO IT and got both feet in bounds. 21-17 Seahawks. Josh Brown extended the lead to 7, and Shaun Alexander ate up most of the 4th quarter on the ground. The D stopped a last-gasp Niners drive, and Seattle triumphed in a game very few expected them to win. Here's the NFL Films "Game of the Week" treatment of this one:
What do you think, sirs?