The 49ers–Seahawks rivalry is an American football rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League (NFL). While the teams first met in 1976, the rivalry did not develop until 2002, when the Seahawks were placed with the 49ers in the NFC West, allowing for two annual meetings between the teams. The Seahawks lead the overall series, 25–16. The teams met once in the playoffs, a 23–17 Seahawks win in the 2013 NFC Championship Game.
Prior to 2002, the 49ers led the all-time series 4–2, but since they became NFC West division rivals in 2002, the Seahawks lead the series 23-11. The rivalry was once considered not very significant, due to the two teams having little history against each other and with both suffering significant stretches of mediocrity. For example, while the Seahawks won four straight division titles from 2004–2007, the 49ers finished in third or fourth place each season and did not have a winning season from 2003–2010. Likewise, the Seahawks suffered four straight losing seasons from 2008–2011. Despite their stretch of mediocrity, the Seahawks have remained competitive in games against the 49ers in those years, especially games at CenturyLink Field, where their worst loss to the 49ers there was by only ten points in 2006.
The rivalry intensified in 2011, when long-standing college rival coaches — former USC coach Pete Carroll and former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh — took over as head coaches, with Carroll becoming the Seahawks' coach in 2010, and Harbaugh becoming the 49ers coach in 2011. Both teams drafted young, mobile quarterbacks to lead their franchises, Seattle's Russell Wilson and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick. Both coaches turned their respective franchises into perennial playoff contenders, and from 2010 to 2014, either the Seahawks or the 49ers won the NFC West championship.
The two teams met in the 2013 NFC Championship Game in Seattle with a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII on the line, with the Seahawks winning by a score of 23–17. The game ended when Seahawks' cornerback Richard Sherman, whom Harbaugh previously coached at Stanford, tipped an end zone pass that led to a game-ending interception. Seattle went on to defeat the Denver Broncos 43–8 in Super Bowl XLVIII to win their first Super Bowl championship. San Francisco had represented the NFC in a losing effort in Super Bowl XLVII the previous season.
Since drafting Russell Wilson in 2012, the Seahawks have dominated the rivalry, holding a 12-3 record against the 49ers in that span.
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. Seattle Seahawks Season-by-Season Results|
1970s – 1990s (49ers, 4–2)
2000s (Seahawks, 10–6)
2010s (Seahawks, 13–6)
Summary of Results
|Division championships (19)|
|Conference championships (6)|
|League championships (5)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
All-America Football Conference (1946–1949)
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (10)|
|Conference championships (3)|
|League championships (1)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold