Over the weekend, Mike Sando posted some video of an interview with Vontae Davis, in which Vernon Davis chimed in and mentioned how Darnell Dockett would be the one football player he wouldn't mind facing off against in a steel cage match. This rivalry is not a new one as Davis and Dockett have engaged in twitter battles off and on over the last couple seasons.
However, this battle did get me thinking about division rivalries. The 49ers biggest division rival over the years has been the Rams given the fact that they have remained in the same division over the years. As realignment has brought the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals into the NFC West, the 49ers and Rams remained the constant. The rivalry has taken a hit in recent years as one or both of the team has been no better than mediocre over the last seven or eight years.
While Dockett and Davis have their own rivalry going, what would you say is the best rivalry for the 49ers in the NFC West? I think you could make some arguments for each.
St. Louis Rams: The development of Sam Bradford (assuming he continues to improve) means the Rams are climbing their way back into the mix for division titles. Nothing improves a rivalry like winning. If the 49ers and Rams are both in the mix for the division title, I think things could get plenty heated.
Arizona Cardinals: The NFL has done what they can to develop the 49ers and Cardinals into meaningful rivals as they have placed one of their matchups in a primetime slot frequently in recent years. However, this year the Cardinals could very well be dreadful without a quarterback and the NFL seems to be backing off. Of course, Dockett vs. Davis could be enough to drive this rivalry.
Seattle Seahawks: These two teams have had some spirited contests in recent years and at times this would seem to be the biggest rivalry for fans. Now you add Pete Carroll vs. Jim Harbaugh into the mix, and it makes things all the better. The two coaches may deny any sense of rivalry between them, but I still think there's something there. If the division race gets heated between these two, things will definitely ratchet up a notch.
Do you see any distinct rivalries at this point within the division? How would you rank the three teams in order of developing rivalry? I'd say Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals in that order.