One of the many things I missed after Jim Harbaugh’s departure were his feuds and rivalries with other coaches. When he came to the San Francisco 49ers, the Pete Carroll feud was a foregone conclusion thanks to their already competitive games in the college ranks. We also remember the slap of smack against then-Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz.
With Kyle Shanahan now the coach of the 49ers, the feuds won’t get as crazy, but we’ll at least see some personal rivalries, and none is more interesting than with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. McVay was Shanahan’s tight ends coach in Washington. When Shanahan left Washington to go to the Atlanta Falcons, McVay was then named the offensive coordinator.
On Matt Maiocco’s latest podcast, Peter Schrager said the two remain friends, and described their rivalry as a big brother/little brother of sort. He was quick to point out the 49ers’ final game in Los Angeles where McVay benched the Rams starters and the 49ers proceeded to beat the Rams 34-13. And it wasn’t just beating them, it was playcalls like this from Shanahan.
NFL Network reporter Michael Silver also spoke about the rivalry and brought up the aforementioned final game against the rams:
“He was laughing he said, “We went into that last meaningless game knowing we didn’t have anything to play for, and I pulled my starters. Kyle just put it on me.” And he said, “Never again, I don’t care if we’ve clinched everything and we’re playing the 49ers. I’m playing my guys and I refuse to be humiliated.” Of course he was joking.”
Both of the contests between the 49ers and the Rams were a bit of a letdown in 2017. The first one was arguably the best Thursday Night Football game of the year, but had Brian Hoyer as quarterback and a blown offensive pass interference call to ruin the 49ers comeback. The second one had the 49ers franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but the Rams had already locked up the division and as said above, benched their starting players.
While we won’t be wondering about any imminent fights breaking out between Shanahan and an opposing coach any time soon, the McVay relationship will be one to watch. It will be interesting to see the wrinkles they put into their offenses when they face each other each time every year.