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Gallant: Seahawks-49ers rivalry of old won’t return, but Monday could be the start of a new chapter

Russell Wilson leads the Seahawks into a huge game against the rival 49ers on Monday. (Getty)

Nostalgia is humanity’s most powerful emotion. It affects our memory, making us remember things differently than they actually were. And often, it leads us to the conclusion that the past was better than the present.

Even when that’s completely wrong.

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Right now, it’s making some of us hope we’ve warped through a time machine to 2014. An era when Seahawks-49ers was a black and blue, knock ’em out, Judgment Day sort of event. Where feelings were hurt. Souls were stolen. And the fate of the NFC was decided.

Here’s the thing. No matter how badly we want it, Monday night’s Seahawks-49ers game isn’t in that same universe. The laundry is the same, but that’s it.

Don’t get me wrong: Monday night could be the start of something special. San Francisco is undefeated. After the Patriots lost last week, you could argue that the 49ers are the class of the NFL. And they’ll be tasked with something entirely new to them this season: Trying to stop MVP front-runner Russell Wilson and his somehow 7-2 Seahawks.

But San Francisco is missing a Hardo Jim Harbaugh-type arch-nemesis for Pete Carroll. This current Seahawks defense isn’t even trending towards being a Legion of Boom and would only deserve a demeaning nickname.

What’s most disappointing about the “rivalry” right now? The most entertaining character – a man who has played for BOTH sides – could have put this back on the path to the past just by being himself at his Friday press conference. Instead, Seahawks Legion of Boom member turned 49er Richard Sherman unleashed… a fire extinguisher.

“I don’t worry about (the rivalry). In this division every game’s a rivalry,” Sherman said.


“You could say there’s a rivalry with the Rams,” he continued. “We just had a tough game with Arizona. You could say that’s a rivalry.”


“It’s another game. It’s a division game,” wrapped up this possible Richard Sherman imposter. “It’s definitely more meaningful in that respect. Because division games, you gotta win if you want to make the playoffs and have a home game. So it’s definitely meaningful in that respect, but that’s about it.”

Sherman’s boring press conference – which completely ruined our Danny and Gallant bingo game – gave me a feeling of déjà vu. Like the time I excitedly went to see The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo Dicaprio expecting to see a Best Picture-caliber movie only to find out half the movie was CGI’d DUIs.

The Seahawks don’t seem to be feeling it, either. Maybe they think it would be disrespectful to all the players who played in those mid-decade games to make that comparison. Whatever the case, Carroll and Wilson dumped more water on it.

“No. (The rivalry) isn’t in my mind,” said Carroll. “Every game to us is a championship regardless of who we’re playing, where we’re playing, what the situation is, what the schedule says, what the matchups are, and what’s happened before. In that case, there is no one game that’s different than another. We don’t want it to be. We want to play every game like it’s the only game we’ve got. That’s how we approach it.”

Said Wilson: “If you’re trying to ask if this is one, I think that yeah, you definitely believe in rivalries. You think about the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, those types of games. Those are pretty big games. People care about them for sure.”

“Yawn.” – This possibly ADD-riddled millennial.

I’m new to Seahawks-49ers games, and I get that the NFL is not the WWE. But answer this question for me: Do you believe any of what Sherm, Pete and Russ said? Because:

• The Seahawks cut Sherman, the face of the franchise (at least to me) before his release. He’s publicly jabbed at Wilson and Carroll, both when he was still with the Hawks and since leaving. No matter what he said this week, this guy holds grudges and doesn’t let them go.

• I know it’s not in Pete’s DNA to take anything personally, but he’s a human being. If he has zero hard feeling after hearing comments like this, he’s certainly a bigger man than me.

• We make jokes about Russell Wilson possibly being a robot. Still, I’m supposed to believe that these comments from nearly a year ago didn’t anger him in any way? And that the competitor in him doesn’t want to destroy Sherman Monday?

In case you couldn’t tell, I don’t. To me, this game isn’t a continuation of the past. It’s the first installment of a new movie franchise: Who Was Right. Did the Seahawks lose their way? And did Richard Sherman bring that way to the 49ers? Or were the Seahawks smart to dump Sherman and build the franchise around Wilson?

This isn’t the same rivalry. But there’s certainly potential for something new and special on Monday. And while there’s no way it’ll be on the same level that it was earlier this decade, I can’t wait.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Paul Gallant on Twitter.

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