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Kyle Shanahan hopes 49ers can be good enough to warrant an NFC West rivalry

Rivalries naturally happen when there are two good teams. Right now, there aren’t.

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have had rivalries with every team in the NFC West. Remember before the Seattle Seahawks were good and the NFL tried very hard to get them to feud with the Arizona Cardinals? And then after that when the Seahawks were good again? Now, the 49ers aren’t good enough to warrant a rivalry.

Kyle Shanahan hopes they will be soon, though.

“I think the hard rivals usually end up being who are the better teams in the division,” Shanahan said to reporters on Wednesday. “I hope that we’re up there as we get going. I know the Rams are there this year, so we’re excited to get to play them.”

The Rams are the team to beat. Unfortunately, the 49ers won’t get a chance to really beat them this season, as the Rams will be resting big names like Jared Goff, Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley against the 49ers in Week 17.

“Again, I wish they had all their guys going,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers coach did say that he hopes the 49ers can be right there with the Rams next season. He talked about the close losses earlier in the year and how a 10-win team and a five-win team can look very similar. But ultimately, he thinks the 49ers can be competitive, which will naturally create a rivalry.

“We'll see what happens but, hopefully, [a rivalry] can be built as we get going and we'll both be up there each year. The more you do that — I think the Niners and Seahawks had that going for a while — we'll see which teams start to do that now."

The 49ers and Seahwaks did have a good rivalry for a few years, helped mightily by the already-existing rivalry between then-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and then-Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

Rams coach Sean McVay and Shanahan don’t have any beef to contend with, but they are both young coaches who took over their teams in the same year. There is plenty there to build a rivalry on.