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Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett tweetin on the 49ers

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In reality this is a non-story, but I wanted to use it to frame a discussion of sorts.  Tip of the cap to Mike Sando for pointing this out, but apparently Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett is on Twitter and had some thoughts on the predictions some folks are making about the 49ers and the Cardinals success last year (if you go there, scroll to the bottom and click the more button and it's in the next set of tweets):

I just watch these people pick the 49ERS to win the west, like what in. the he'll isn't it to early for this.

. . .

The cardinals are the NFC best team until its taken, dont think it will be easy to take what we refuse to give up. nine-o

That first one I'm amusing assuming is meant to say "what in the hell..."  It was sent via text message so he must have the fat fingers problem when texting.

Anyways, the NFL has really seemed to push and push a 49ers-Cardinals rivalry.  2009 will be the third straight season the two teams have met on Monday Night Football.  I see two reasons for the continued Monday night battles between Arizona and the 49ers.  First, they've played some very entertaining games over the last few years and that could help boost ratings...even if it is two western teams. 

Second, though, is that rivalry question.  Dockett's comments weren't exactly controversial or dripping with smack talk, but it has me wondering if NFL players in general, and the 49ers and Cardinals specifically, buy into the idea of rivalries nowadays.  I realize even with all the money, these are still very competitive individuals who want to win.  I will not argue against that at all.  At the same time, how much do rivalries matter these days as compared to back in the day?  Is it the same or different?  Some of our slightly older readers might have a better idea on this, but all the same I'd imagine everyone has some kind of thought on this.

I grew up in the 80s so I wasn't around when a lot of the old school rivalries developed as is the case with a lot of readers here.  I see the hand-shaking and hugs at the end of games and wonder how much rivalries matter.  When the Cleveland Cavaliers were knocked out by the Orlando Magic in the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James walked off the court without shaking hands or talking to the opposing team.  Some people thought that was poor sportsmanship, but one could also argue that's just a guy who is taking this kind of loss quite hard and doesn't feel like playing nice with the opposing team.  Is this kind of trait dying out?  Is that a good or bad thing?