The 49ers/Cardinals rivalry
It is 49er week for me this week. (Insert the team you hate here) week is always the most anticipated week of your team’s season. You spend all week breaking down the what ifs of how the game will be played out, check the injury reports to see who has the edge for the week, (for the record I doubt Patrick Willis is playing this week, if you’re the Niners why would you risk it, you have bigger things ahead of you.) and talk yourself into all the things you hate about that team to get your blood boiling and get yourself ready for the game.
There are many great rivalries in the NFL that gets all the coverage on ESPN, but that does not take out the hate that these two teams have for each other. Both teams are never playing for conference supremacy like the Ravens and Steelers or the Bears and Packers or do they have the history as the Cowboys Giants or Raiders and Broncos, but the hate that the fans and players have for each other equals any great rivalry in football.
Most rivalries have been diminished through the years due to free agency and so much player movement that some rivalries are only between the fans. After most NFL games players go out and hug it out on the field while fans are either gloating or fighting as they walk out of the stadium. With the Cards and Niners, players dont shake hands after the game. In fact Darnell Dockett refuses to shake hands with anyone on the 49ers. Giants offensive lineman David Baas, who played a few years with the Niners said he was the most excited to see the Cardinals on the Giants schedule this year because he hates us. That is the sign of a great rivalry when players still hate you even after they leave teams.
There is not that much history between these two teams. They weren’t even in the same division until 2002. Some memorable moments are the Cardinals ending Steve Young’s career on Monday Night football in 1999. In 2004 the 49ers, under Dennis Erickson ironically, won two games all year…both against the Cardinals. They have played each other on MNF 4 straight years that ended this season due to the Cardinals offensive ineptitude last season. In 2008 the Cardinals made a goal line stand to pretty much wrap up the division, in 2009 the Cards got beat up in Frisco after they had wrapped up their division, and last year was Derek Anderson’s infamous “I take Sh** seriously rant.”
In 2007 the Cardinals opened up the season in San Fransisco on Monday Night Football, the first MNF game of that 4 year stretch and for my 16th birthday present I choose to get tickets and go to that game with my family. The Cardinals lost in the final minute after Eric Green failed to recover a fumble and the Niners scored on the next play to win 20-17. After that game I pretty much got verbally assaulted by the entire stadium as a 16-year-old kid. It was so bad I actually took off my Cardinals jersey to at least look like I was a neutral fan. Ever since leaving that city I have hated nothing more than the 49ers and their fans. (For the record I was not surprised at all that their were shootings after a preseason game this year in the parking lots of the 49ers stadium. That place is the biggest dump of a football stadium that there can be.)My family use to make fun of me that if I ever met a girl from San Fransisco I would refuse to go out with her, which I always denied to them to save my dignity, but they were 100% correct. I can not stand anything about that team or city. There is not a better feeling than the Cardinals beating the 49ers, which unfortunately has not happened in a while.
This week the Cardinals are playing for their playoff lives while trying to play spoilers to San Fransisco’s hopes for a first round bye. That is the stakes for the Cards this week against the Niners. Also throw in the fact that they have lost 5 straight to the Niners and the last 3 by a combined score of 88 to 20 makes this week, in the words of Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, “The Cardinals Super Bowl.”
Even with the Niners dominating the Cardinals for the last few years I have not been more confident then I am this week. The 49ers just clinched their division last week meaning they spent the week partying it up and soaking it in. They will also be looking ahead to their MNF game against the Pittsbugh Steelers next week. The Cardinals have the pride factor to play for after 5 straight beat downs by them. They are at home and are the more desperate team by a mile. They have to win out to have a shot for the playoffs, while the Niners can lose this game and still have the 2nd seed the the NFC. Like I said earlier the Niners also may be with out their Defensive MVP and leader Patrick Willis. If there was ever a time for the Cardinals to end their losing streak to the 49ers it will be this week.
49ers 16 Cardinals 23