Verbal barbs, eyebrow bets, undercover cops and, most importantly, bruising, physical play will be at the forefront when the San Francisco 49ers travel to Seattle Sunday to do battle with the Seahawks, or, as Anthony Dixon would say, the “Shehawks.”
You don’t need me to tell you these teams don’t like each other. You also don’t need me to tell you that they’re arguably the two most well-rounded teams in the league, either.
That’s what makes this the most delectable rivalry in the game today. Far too often the bark of a dog is much worse than its bite. When the 49ers and Seahawks start talking, though, we’re certain the battle on the field will either match or surpass the war of words off of it.
With the teams virtually spitting images of each other—brash coaches, dominant defenses, reliance on a power run game—many believe it is the quarterbacks who will ultimately decide which team is supreme.
It wasn’t enough that we were guaranteed a stellar game by both quarterbacks, either; they went out and sweetened the pot for the fans and the teams, making a side bet that the loser of the game had to shave an eyebrow.
Now, while Wilson has since claimed that the bet was more joke than reality, via Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk, even the prospect of seeing one of these quarterbacks address the media with just a single eyebrow—and we’re not talking an Anthony Davis brow here—is enough to spike the intrigue even more than before.
Enough about the quarterbacks, though; they get enough run from the press. The words exchanged before the game are what truly light the sparks for the fireworks we’ll see in the game. And there have been no shortage of sparks, as to be expected.
Here’s 49ers running back Anthony Dixon telling us how he really feels, basically calling the Seahawks girls. As anyone who’s ever seen The Sandlot knows, them be fightin’ words:
Not to be outdone, however, linebacker K.J. Wright had a few choice words of his own, politely informing Dixon and the rest of the whiners—er, 49ers—that they’d be in for a long night:
It’s as if Floyd Mayweather himself took time out of training to offer a little trash-talking tutelage!
It’s not just the players, however, whom the league is expecting fireworks from. In sports, the, um, interactions between fanbases at sporting events can sometimes steamroll out of control. Should this happen Sunday night, the involved parties might just find themselves enjoying the rest of the game from the comfortable confines of a prison cell.
This rivalry has become so heated that the Seahawks announced Wednesday that they would be posting undercover police officers throughout the crowd, dressed in 49ers attire no less, to make sure the physicality is limited to just the men on the field, via Chris Chase of USA Today.
Is this fair to the fans? Probably not. Is it entrapment? Maybe. Is it necessary? Yeah, it probably is.
All of this just goes to show how far both teams have come in the past three years. The clashes between the 49ers and Seahawks have gone from irrelevant to must-watch television in the blink of an eye.
In terms of the game, though, we know what to expect: Some hard runs here, a few beautiful passes there and a whole lot of bone-crushing hits. It’s the game of the week, and the product on the field will reflect that.
In the end, I expect the 49ers to emerge victorious. As great as Wilson is, Kaepernick is just a notch above. To me, he’s the single most indefensible player in the game. And that is what will make all the difference. The 49ers will escape with a 24-20 victory.