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NFL asks officials to set tone early for Niners-Seahawks

Last Sunday's meeting between the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers arguably was the most ill-tempered tilt of the year.

Edgy from the opening whistle, both teams went at each other with physical play that led to a convincing win for the Niners and caught the league's attention along the way.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the officiating crew for the NFC title game -- along with both the Seahawks and 49ers -- were shipped videos this week of that Niners-Panthers first half. The footage was sent to show examples of what will and will not be tolerated in Seattle.

Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, is asking officials to set the tone early and prevent the game from swinging out of control. That's a message the league's refs have heard all season long.

Our immediate takeaway from San Francisco's win over the Panthers was that Carolina had reason to be agitated by a handful of calls that didn't go their way over those first two quarters.

A questionable personal foul call on Panthers safety Mike Mitchell and a head-butting penalty on cornerback Captain Munnerlyn led directly to 49ers points.

Officials also missed a blatant defensive hold on a Patrick Willis interception of Cam Newton. Adding to that, a pair of second-quarter head butts by 49ers offensive players went unflagged and a Drayton Florence pass interference call in the end zone led directly to a Vernon Davistouchdown before the half.

Let's hope for a game in Seattle on Sunday that has more to do with the players -- and less with the zebras.

We previewed Championship Sunday and sat down with Rams star Robert Quinn in the latest "Around The League Podcast."

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