Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and wide receiver Doug Baldwin spoke to the media on Wednesday and were each asked about the rivalry between the 49ers and Seahawks, which has recently died down due to the recent struggles by San Francisco. Both pointed fingers at the media for the perceived rivalry and neither seemed to look at the 49ers differently than any other opponent that they face on their schedule.
"We really don't talk about other teams like they they are rivals or whatever," said Carroll during the conference call with 49ers beat writers. "Every team to us is a championship matchup for us and so even back when you're referencing, I didn't look at it that way. You guys looked at it that way. So I don't have anything to compare it to in that regard.
"These guys are off to a terrific start. They look volatile in all areas and it's a division matchup and that's huge and it's a championship game for us and we're going to play it with everything we have and see if we can get out of here with a win. So, enormous game to us. But I can't even compare it to – didn't hold it in that regard in the past."
"Well, you guys painted that," said Baldwin during a separate conference call with 49ers beat writers while discussing the Seahawks' attitude about the rivalry and specifically about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. "Nobody looked at anybody as an enemy so to speak. You know, we're all – we just – this is just our job. This is our occupation. We had no ill will toward Kaepernick in any way so it hasn't changed because it was never negative in the first place."
While the media may have helped fuel the flames of a perceived rivalry in the past between the 49ers and Seahawks, the fans had something to do with it. Neither fan base liked the other very much during that peak of the rivalry and that likely remains true.
Former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh may have brought the then-Pac 10 rivalry with Pete Carroll with him when he became San Francisco's head coach. He was once accused by Seahawks players of allegedly honked his car horn at the Seahawks' team bus after a 49ers win and then mockingly waving at the players. Of course, Harbaugh denied such an action stating that he had not yet left the stadium by that point.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman went off in a bizarre rant about then-49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree following the NFC championship game in 2014. Apparently the random comments by the colorful cornerback was fueled by an episode at an offseason charity event.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman had popcorn thrown at him by Seahawks fans as he was carted off of the field at CenturyLink after he tore his ACL and MCL during that same championship game.
There was even a commercial for Beats that featured Kaepernick and was not appreciated by Seahawks fans because of how it portrayed them – without actually making it absolutely clear that it was Seahawks fans in the commercial.
"It isn't big at all, because we don't think about any game as a rivalry, any team as a rival," Sherman said of the rivalry prior to a matchup with the 49ers last season. "Every game is just the next opponent."
The 49ers face the Seahawks on Sunday, September 25 at CenturyLink Field at 1:05 p.m. PT.