In the world of sports rivalries, the one between the 49ers and Rams is not the most high-profile, but it is one of the longest continuously running in the NFL.
The two teams first met in 1950 and since then, have played each other 137 times over the last 67 years. The Niners currently lead the series 69-65-3.
When the Rams were based in Los Angeles, the rivalry was defined as a clash between two California regions (Southern vs. Northern). But, even though they moved to St. Louis for 21 years (1995-2015), there never was any love lost with the 49ers. Playing each other two times a year, every year, and remaining in the same division has ensured that.
In 1970, the NFC West was first formed and this is when the competition between the teams really took off. The Rams were a powerhouse during that decade, but San Francisco owned the 1980s and most of the 1990s. In the early 2000s, the Rams took the baton back but became mired in mediocrity for several years afterwards. Meanwhile, Jim Harbaugh brought the 49ers to supremacy in the early 2010s before the team regressed from 2014-2016.
And, then something very interesting happened: The Rams moved back to Los Angeles in 2016, both teams hired new offensive-minded young head coaches in 2017, remade their rosters, and took major leaps forward towards becoming competitive forces in the NFC again.
It is true that Los Angeles seems a bit favored to go ahead at this point in the rivalry. They finished last year with an 11-5 record and won the division. But, they also had their franchise quarterback (Jared Goff) the entire year and a better overall roster to work with.
At the same time, San Francisco got off to a slow start and ended up 6-10 and last place in the division. Luckily, the acquisition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo helped energize the young team mid-year which has fueled the hope the momentum would continue.
As we now approach the start of the 2018 season, the 49ers and Rams are the top two favorites to win the NFC West while the Seahawks and Cardinals seemed poised for regression.
Still, even if Seattle and/or Arizona does better than expected, the 49ers and Rams are on the rise at the same time once again which means a new era in this fun rivalry is about to start.
Mark Your Calendars
(WEEK 7) October 21, 2018 at 8:20pm ET – Rams at 49ers
(WEEK 17) December 30, 2018 at 4:25pm ET – 49ers at Rams
The only post season meeting of the 49ers and Rams was the Conference Championship on Sunday, January 14, 1990. San Francisco won 30-3 and went on to beat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.
49ERS – 5 Super Bowls (1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1994); 6 NFC Conference Championships; 19 NFC West Division Championships.
RAMS – 1 Super Bowl (1999); 3 NFC Conference Championships; 12 NFC West Division Championships.
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