Has the San Francisco 49ers-Seattle Seahawks rivalry surpassed Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers as the most intense rivalry in the game?
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The ill will between 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll goes back to their college days in the then-Pac-10 Conference, Harbaugh at Stanford and Carroll at USC. Harbaugh has continued to stoke the fire, goading the Seahawks team bus after a smashmouth victory last October.
Harbaugh's recent comments referencing the Seahawks' performance-enhancing drug use raised the ire of cornerback Brandon Browner, who expressed a desire to wring the coach's neck.
Asked what he would do if Harbaugh ever lined up across from him, Tate replied, "Well, I'd be on offense trying to score a touchdown on him. Defensively, that's a little different because they tackle and they can really be aggressive. ... But I would try and give him the Sean Lee treatment. I would do that."
The "Sean Lee Treatment" refers to a vicious blind-side block Tate laid on the Dallas Cowboys linebacker during a Russell Wilson scramble early last season.
"The San Francisco game, since I've been here, it's been a really, really intense game for the fans and also the players. It's a fun game. We're both really, really good teams right now, we have a lot in common with the playmakers, defensively really good," Tate explained. "But it's a fun game to be a part of.
"Very, very physical and on the field a lot of emotion. That comes from Pete and Harbaugh facing each other in college and a lot of the players on the teams have seen each other. So it's fun. I enjoy it."
The Seahawks and 49ers have emerged as the NFL's newest superpowers. Even if Carroll continues totake the high road, Harbaugh and the Seahawks players are providing plenty of grist for the mill.
I already have Week 2 circled on my calendar. The 49ers travel to the NFL's most lopsided home field to challenge the Seahawks on NBC's "Sunday Night Football."