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It is Rivalry Week here at SB Nation, and every NFL teams’ fanbases were asked a simple question: “Who is your top rival?”
For Seattle Seahawks fans, this was a fairly easy choice that I think would’ve been the clear-cut number one answer in any other season except perhaps the 2012-2014 campaigns. Whether they’re in St. Louis or Los Angeles, the Rams are Seattle’s biggest rival.
Since Russell Wilson entered the NFL in 2012, the Rams are the only NFC West rival Seattle has a losing record against. The season sweep for 2018 puts Seattle at 6-8 through 14 games. Just when you thought that the mind-numbing mediocrity of Fisherball was tough enough for the Seahawks, boy genius Sean McVay swoops in and is tearing up the NFL with ridiculous offensive schemes. The Rams see the Seahawks as their #1 rival, so the feeling of hatred is mutual.
In second-place are the San Francisco 49ers, who haven’t beaten the Seahawks since December 2013, and haven’t actually won in Seattle since 2008. Those Harbaugh-era years were unforgettable though, and for a brief period in time the 49ers-Seahawks was arguably the best rivalry in the NFL. Oddly enough, 49ers fans are split between the Seahawks and Rams over who’s their top rival.
The Green Bay Packers are third, and I suppose that’s a combination of playing them seven times in the Wilson era alone, along with the infamous “We want the ball and we’re gonna score!” playoff game. We’re third in Green Bay’s poll results, behind the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.
I guess the Arizona Cardinals yielded no votes, which isn’t surprising, but they see us as their biggest rivals though.
We shouldn’t restrict the Seahawks vs. Rams rivalry strictly to the Russell Wilson era. Even when the Rams were mediocre or complete garbage for several seasons, there were plenty of memorable moments to be had for both teams. Back in 2003, a potential winning touchdown from Matt Hasselbeck to Bobby Engram was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle by... an official.
Seattle was famously swept 3-0 by the Rams in 2004, and they’re still the only team to beat the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in the playoffs. A promising season turned to frustration starting with the 27-10 collapse in Week 5 of that year, with Terreal Bierria becoming a name to dislike.
Then things changed. The fortunes of the Seahawks turned for the better in 2005, and their dramatic 37-31 win in St. Louis kick-started an 11-game winning streak to clinch the #1 seed in the NFC. It was this game that started the “Big Play Babs” moniker.
The 2006 squad relied on the leg of Josh Brown to beat the Rams in both meetings, one of them started by Seneca Wallace.
For those who recall the goal-line stand the Seahawks made against the Rams on Monday Night Football in 2013, there was another dramatic moment under similar circumstances in 2007. 4th and goal at the 1-yard line, Gus Frerotte under center, and... HE FUMBLES THE BALL.
Of course, the first year of the Pete Carroll era saw the Seahawks win the NFC West at 7-9 with a 16-6 primetime victory over St. Louis, with Charlie Whitehurst as the starter.
I love this play so damn much.
So yeah, I’d say this has been the undisputed top rivalry in the NFC West at the very least since realignment in 2002, and perhaps it may develop into a great rivalry for the NFL for years to come.
And I’ll leave you with this fun fact: All four of Seattle’s NFC West titles under Pete Carroll have been clinched by defeating the Rams.