This is one rivalry felt beyond the stands. Players feel it, too.
Vernon Davis and Darnell Dockett went at it earlier this offseason. On Friday, KTAR radio in Phoenix asked Cardinals running back Beanie Wells whether the team could ignore predictions suggesting Arizona would fall off. Co-host Doug Franz said he couldn't understand why anyone would anoint the 49ers as favorites.
"I think we can ignore them to a certain extent," Wells said of the predictions, "but to be quite honest, I hate the 49ers."
It's refreshing to see players caring about rivalries as much as so many fans do.