The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have emerged as two favorites in the NFC, and the consensus favorites in the NFC West. After years of NFC West mediocrity, the division has become one of the best in the NFL. The 49ers and Seahawks are the big reasons, but even the Rams showed some improvement last season. If the Rams and Cardinals can show some improvement this year, I think it would be reasonable to call the NFC West the best division in the NFL.
Speaking of the Cardinals, they are looking to take advantage of a strong division. Kent Somers is reporting Arizona will require fans buy tickets to other games if they want to purchase tickets against the 49ers and/or Seahawks. If a fan wants to buy tickets to 49ers-Cardinals on December 29, they will also have to purchase tickets for Cardinals-Panthers on October 6. If fans want to buy tickets for the Seahawks-Cardinals on October 17 Thursday Night Football, they will have to purchase tickets to the preseason game against Dallas on August 17.
This is amusing, but not exactly surprising. Teams have been looking for ways to leverage popular matchups for years. For fans in the Bay Area, the Oakland A's, San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors offer various ticket packages that combine a popular team with several less popular teams. A team knows they'll sell out games against the good teams, so they might as well leverage that against their less popular matchups.
49ers-Cardinals games in Glendale are often amusing because 49ers fans do a good job packing the stadium. There are still plenty of Cardinals fans, but it seems like every year it becomes more of a 49ers-sided crowd. The 49ers had issues with that in the past; anybody remember 49ers-Cowboys in 2011? Fortunately as the team has become consistently good again, that is less and less of an issue.