The 49ers–Rams rivalry is a rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. The rivalry began in 1950 and became one of the most intense in the National Football League in the 1970s as the two California based teams regularly competed for the NFC West Division title. The intensity of the rivalry is also due to the fact that Northern California (where the 49ers are based) and Southern California (where the Rams are based) have long been competitors in the economic, cultural, and political arenas.
During the Rams' 21 years in St. Louis, the rivalry did not have the geographical lore it once had, but games were still intense regardless of the standings. With the Rams’ return to Los Angeles in 2016, the rivalry became geographic once again. Sports Illustrated considers their rivalry the 8th best of all time in the National Football League. The 49ers and Rams are also the only two teams who have been a part of the NFC West since it was formed in 1970.
The 49ers lead the overall series, 69–67–3. The Rams, who dominated much of the first 30 years of the rivalry, led the series by as many as 22 games in 1980, but the 49ers' strong play in the 1980s and 1990s, including a 17–game winning streak from 1990–1998 allowed them to take the lead. The teams have met once in the NFL playoffs, a 30–3 49ers victory in the 1989 NFC Championship Game.
In 1950, the National Football League merged with the All-America Football Conference thus gaining three new teams. One of these teams was the San Francisco 49ers making them the second NFL franchise located on the West Coast. The first one being the Los Angeles Rams who had re-located from Cleveland in 1946. The NFL placed both of them in the newly formed National Conference (1950–52) guaranteeing that they would play each other twice during the regular season. In 1953, the National Conference was renamed the Western Conference and the American Conference was renamed the Eastern Conference which remained in place until the AFL merger forced re-alignment in 1970. For the 1967, 1968 and 1969 seasons immediately preceding the 1970 re-alignment, now with 16 franchises, the NFL divided the Western and Eastern Conferences into two Divisions of four teams each. Ironically, very similar to the present day conferences resulting from the 2002 re-alignment. The 49ers and Rams remained together in the Coastal Division of the Western Conference (1967–1969) and then in the NFC West Division since 1970. Owing to the strength of their rivalry, the 49ers and Rams have remained in place as the only two teams in the NFC West Division continuously since 1970, despite the Rams re-location to Saint Louis in 1995 and further re-alignment in 2002. They have met twice every season beginning in 1950. Their lone postseason meeting was in the NFC Championship Game during the playoffs following the 1989 season at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. This resulted in a 30–3 victory by the 49ers on January 14, 1990, immediately preceding their fourth Super Bowl appearance. The next meeting between the two will be on Sunday October 21, 2018 on Sunday Night Football
In 1950, the National Football League merged with the All-America Football Conference thus gaining three new teams. One of these teams was the San Francisco 49ers making them the second NFL franchise located on the West Coast, joining the Los Angeles Rams. The first meeting between the teams took place on October 1, 1950, in San Francisco. The Rams were alternating starting quarterbacks between Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin during the 1950 season. Waterfield was the starter for the game, but during the second quarter San Francisco's Pete Wissman landed a hard tackle on the Los Angeles quarterback. Van Brocklin filled in for Waterfield, and the Rams went on to win the game 35–14. The two teams played each other again on November 5, 1950, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. After beating the Baltimore Colts 70–21 and the Detroit Lions 65–24, the Rams were favored to beat the 49ers by 20 points. Yet, the 49ers played a very physical game and only lost by a touchdown holding the Rams offensive powerhouse to only 28 points.
The 49ers got their first win against the Rams on October 28, 1951. The 49ers secondary was able to pick off Van Brocklin six times, more than half of the interceptions that he threw all season. The 49ers held the Rams to just 17 points, the lowest they put up all season and were able to capitalize on the turnovers en route to a 44–17 victory.
After the AFL-NFL merger, both teams were placed in the NFC West. The rivalry was at its pinnacle during the 1970s. From 1970–79 one of the two teams won the division each season. The decade also featured 10 and 8-game win streaks by the Rams (the 8-game streak stretched into the early 1980s). The 49ers were the NFC West's top team in the beginning of the decade winning the first three post merger division crowns. The Rams answered right back winning seven straight division crowns from 1973–79, culminating with Super Bowl XIV loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On January 2, 1983, a 1–7 Rams team met the 3–5 defending Super Bowl champion 49ers in San Francisco for the last game of the 1982 season (a players' strike shortened the season to 9 games), with the 49ers needing a win to make the playoffs. The Rams led late in the 4th quarter 21–20 until 49ers quarterback Joe Montana led a two-minute drive, putting the 49ers in position for a short field goal. But Ivory Sully blocked Ray Wersching's kick to preserve a 21–20 win and knock the 49ers out of the playoffs.
On January 14, 1990, the two teams met in the 1989 NFC Championship game. The Rams were heavy underdogs but had already pulled off two upsets on the road in the playoffs (over the Eagles and Giants). The Rams took an early 3–0 lead and were driving again, but Rams quarterback Jim Everett noticed a wide open Flipper Anderson a second too late and the pass was knocked away by 49ers safety Ronnie Lott. Instead of a 10–0 Rams lead, Montana led the 49ers on a touchdown drive and San Francisco took the lead 7–3. The 49ers would win the game, 30–3.
The 49ers dominated the rivalry during the 1990s, winning 17 straight games against the Rams. They also won their fifth Super Bowl in 1994. After nearly fifty years, it seemed like the rivalry was coming to an end when the Rams relocated to St. Louis in 1995. Yet, some players did not believe so. Roger Craig stated in Tales from the San Francisco 49ers Sideline that "the Rams will always be the 49ers' biggest rival. It doesn't matter if they no longer play in Los Angeles. If the Rams played their home games on Mars, it would still be a rivalry."
By the end of the 1998 season, San Francisco lead in the all-time series (49–48–2) for the first time ever. The Rams previously lead in the series by as many as 22 games in 1980. The 49ers lead in the series was short-lived, however, as St. Louis won both games against San Francisco during their championship season in 1999 to retake the lead.
The Rams and their Greatest Show on Turf offense had the upper hand in the early part of the decade, going 8–2 against the 49ers from 2000–2004. But both teams fell into decline and neither team was a playoff contender as the decade wore on. The 49ers had the upper hand during the latter part of the decade, going 8–2 against St. Louis from 2005–2009.
During the 2002 realignment, only the Rams and 49ers would remain in the NFC West, as their former division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and New Orleans Saints, would all move to the newly formed NFC South. The Rams and 49ers would be joined by the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks in the "new" NFC West.
In 2011, the 49ers took the all-time series lead for the first time in 13 years, and only the second time in the rivalry's history. The Rams tied it back up with a win at Edward Jones Dome in 2012, but then they lost both 2013 games to the 49ers.
The Rams were the only team to lose to the 49ers in 2016, as the 49ers swept the two-game series against the Rams but went 0–14 against the rest of the NFL. As of the end of the 2018 season, San Francisco leads the all-time series, 69–67–3
The California Clasico is the name given to the soccer rivalry between the LA Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes. This Major League Soccer rivalry reached its zenith from 2001 to 2005, during which time the Earthquakes and the Galaxy combined to win four MLS Cup titles. The term "Clasico" is commonly used to refer to other rivalries in Spanish-speaking countries, most prominently, the Spanish Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, or the Argentine Superclásico between Boca Juniors and River Plate.
Los Angeles and San Jose is considered to be one of the most historical rivalries in American soccer. The British daily newspaper The Guardian rates "the California Clasico is perhaps the most historic and intense rivalry the league has." Todd Dunivant, the retired U.S. national team and MLS player, when asked about the rivalry stated "I think it's the best rivalry in MLS, I think it's got the most history, it's got the most meaningful big games".The rivalry originated from the historical Northern California vs. Southern California sporting and cultural rivalries, as well as from the relative proximity of the cities, which are about 360 miles (580 km) apart, which allows rival fans to attend each other's games.Chargers–Raiders rivalry
The Chargers–Raiders rivalry is a rivalry between the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders in the National Football League's AFC West division. Since the American Football League was established in 1960, the Chargers and the Raiders have shared the same division, first being the AFL Western Conference, and since the AFL–NFL merger, the AFC West.
Like the 49ers–Rams rivalry in the NFC West, this rivalry represents the geographic and cultural differences between Northern California (represented by the Raiders) and Southern California (represented by the Chargers), though the Raiders once played in Los Angeles while the Chargers were in San Diego, highlighting the difference between those two southern California cities. The rivalry will lose its cross-state significance when the Raiders relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada starting in the 2020 season.Dodgers–Giants rivalry
The Dodgers–Giants rivalry is a rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants baseball teams of Major League Baseball (MLB). It is regarded as one of the most competitive and longest-standing rivalries in American baseball, with some observers considering it the greatest sports rivalry of all time.The rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants began in the late 19th century when both clubs were based in the New York City area. The Dodgers played in Brooklyn (then a separate city, before being incorporated as a borough of Greater New York in 1898) and the Giants played at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan.
After the 1957 season, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley decided to move the team to Los Angeles for financial and other reasons. Along the way, he managed to convince Giants owner Horace Stoneham (who was considering moving his team to Minnesota) to preserve the rivalry by bringing his team to California as well. New York baseball fans were stunned and heartbroken by the move, which left New York with only one baseball team, the Yankees. However, to supplant the Giants' absence, New York was granted a second baseball team, the Mets, who inherited the colors of the rivalry—orange from the Giants and blue from the Dodgers.
Given that the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have long been competitors in the economic, cultural, and political arenas, the teams' new homes in California were fertile ground for the rivalry's transplantation. Each team's ability to endure for over a century while leaping across an entire continent, as well as the rivalry's growth from a cross-city to a cross-state engagement, have led to the rivalry being considered one of the greatest in sports history.The Dodgers and Giants are tied for most National League Pennants at 23. While the Dodgers have won the National League West fourteen times compared to the Giants' eight since the beginning of the Divisional Era in 1969, the Giants have more total wins, head-to-head wins, and World Series titles (8–6) in franchise history. Since moving to California, Los Angeles holds the edge in pennants (10–6) and World Series titles (5–3). Each team has advanced to the postseason as the wild card twice, the Giants most recently in 2016. The 2014 World Series was the Giants' most recent championship, while the Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series and the 2018 World Series.
As of the end of April 2018, San Francisco is one of only two teams in the National League with a winning overall record against Los Angeles (St. Louis is the other one).NFC West
The National Football Conference – Western Division or NFC West is one of the four divisions of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). It currently has four members: the Arizona Cardinals, the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Seattle Seahawks.
The division was formed in 1967 as the National Football League Coastal Division, keeping with the theme of having all of the league's divisions starting with the letter "C." The division was so named because its teams were fairly close to the coasts of the United States, although they were on opposite coasts, making for long travel between division rivals. The NFL Coastal Division had four members: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Colts, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers. Los Angeles and San Francisco occupied the West Coast, while Baltimore and Atlanta occupied the East Coast.
After the AFL–NFL merger in 1970, the division was renamed the NFC West. The Baltimore Colts moved to the AFC East and were replaced by the New Orleans Saints. In 1976, the newly formed Seattle Seahawks spent one season in this division before moving to the AFC West. Except for that one year, the division remained the same until 1995 with the addition of the new Carolina Panthers team. The Rams moved to St. Louis before that same season, making the division geographically inaccurate. Ten of the fifteen NFC teams were based west of Atlanta, and twelve of them were based west of Charlotte.
The 2002 re-alignment changed the entire look of the NFC West. The Falcons, Panthers, and Saints moved into the NFC South; while the Cardinals moved in from the NFC East and the Seahawks returned from the AFC West. The Rams remained in the West, preserving the historical rivalry with the 49ers that has existed since 1950, and thus had been the only team in the division that was located east of the Rocky Mountains until 2015. With the Rams' return to Los Angeles in 2016, the entire NFC West is now located west of the Rockies for the first time in its history.
In 2010, the NFC West became the first division in NFL history to have a champion with a losing record, after the 2010 Seattle Seahawks won the division title with a record of 7–9. They were joined in this distinction in 2014 by the Carolina Panthers, who won the NFC South with a record of 7–8–1.
Since the end of the 2016 NFL regular season, the 49ers lead the division with a record of 560–464–16 (107–132–1 since re-alignment) with five Super Bowl titles and an overall playoff record of 31–21. The Rams hold a record of 544–554–21 (87–152–1 since re-alignment) with three Super Bowl appearances and one win to go with a 19–24 overall playoffs record. The Cardinals hold a 111–128-1 record since joining the NFC West (542–732–40 overall) and a loss in Super Bowl XLIII, currently with a 7–9 playoff record, 5-4 as a member of the NFC West. The Seahawks hold a record of 137–102-1 since joining the NFC West (325–318-1 overall), with three Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XLVIII to go with a playoff record of 16–14; they are currently 13–9 in the playoffs as a member of the NFC West, having gone 3–5 while in the AFC West. Since re-alignment, the Seahawks have led the division in wins, division titles, and playoff appearances.
|San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams Season-by-Season Results|
1950s (Rams, 12–7–1)
1960s (Rams, 10–9–1)
1970s (Rams, 17–3)
1980s (49ers, 13–8)
1990s (49ers, 17–3)
2000s (Tie, 10–10)
2010s (49ers, 10–7–1)
Summary of Results