There’s been memorable moments in this rivalry: Jim Everett’s “phantom sack” in the 1989-90 NFC title game, to the Rams sweeping their rival for the first time in nearly 20 seasons which occurred in their championship year in 1999-2000 all the way to both teams producing the highest-scoring Thursday Night Game in history in 2017. Currently, the 49ers have the series lead at 73-67-3 plus has snatched victory in the last four meetings.
But now, meeting No. 144 and No. 145 this season is looking every bit like the emotions and intensity will turn up a notch. It’s not just because both teams enter 2021 with Super Bowl aspirations, but there’s two elements that have occurred this summer via the 49ers that will only fuel this series come November 15. Here are two reasons why the Rams/49ers series will only get more heated.
49ers Defender Gives Rams Bulletin Board Material, Twice
L.A. Ram players, coaches and even fans are probably hoping the July 9 Grant Cohn interview with Jimmie Ward doesn’t get erased from the internet. It’s going to serve as motivation.
Even if it is taken down, it’s already well documented that the 49ers safety has caught the attention of the Rams’ brass.
First, Ward claimed to Sports Illustrated’s Cohn that Rams head coach Sean McVay likes to target him during games. It prompted Ward to question if McVay has a “big head” plus asked: “But what does he have against me to make him go at me every game and lose?” But that’s not all.
Ward then took a dig at the new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. Here’s what Ward said:
“I like Stafford, but they still will have the same players that he’ll be throwing the ball to. He’s the same quarterback who was on the Detroit Lions and they still didn’t go to the playoffs, and they had Megatron [Calvin Johnson]. What was the problem over there in Detroit? Are you going to blame the city? What was the problem? Was it the money? If the city didn’t have enough money to bring players over there, why even have an NFL team? That’s a big question mark.”
He then proceeded to say that the last Rams’ signal-caller was the better option, saying:
“They went and traded Jared Goff, who went to the playoffs several times and went to the Super Bowl. Yeah, he lost. He went to the Super Bowl, though. I’ve yet to see that with Matt Stafford. And I’m saying, he’s still great. I believe he’s a top 10 quarterback, maybe top 5. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m just going off of what I see. And I see Jared Goff got those boys to the Super Bowl.”
Quick fact check: Stafford did indeed go to the playoffs with “Megatron” and the Lions. He just hasn’t won a playoff game. Goff only took the Rams to two playoff appearances. More of the hour long segment can be seen below.
49ers Head coach Admitted He Wanted Stafford
Kyle Shanahan was plotting moves in Cabo, Mexico during a time McVay was courting Stafford, which was revealed in the July 7 edition of McVay’s “Flying Coach” podcast with the 49ers head man as his guest.
“I was in Cabo. I was studying it all,” Shanahan said on the show. “I remember looking through it because everybody was telling me it was a possibility. Stafford’s the man.”
But the NFL world knows what the outcome was, and Shanahan told McVay “That was frustrating” when he couldn’t lure the former Lion to the Bay Area. Shanahan later admitted he couldn’t finish his night in Cabo over frustrations of how quick and swift the Rams nabbed Stafford. McVay, himself, playfully took a jab at Shanahan by saying how quick the move was done, which was to the Rams head coach’s surprise. Yet, Shanahan holds this claim over McVay and the Rams: Winners of the last quartet of meetings between the two.
So there you have it. Ward has got on the Rams’ bad side and Shanahan tried to snatch Stafford from L.A. and hasn’t forgotten. November 15 can’t get here soon enough.