One of the most fascinating aspects of the Arizona Cardinals move to the NFC West early in the 2000’s is how even they have been with the rest of the NFC West.
We covered how the Los Angeles Rams have owned things since Sean McVay showed up on the scene, and we figured out that during the Seattle Seahawks’ heyday the Cardinals and Seahawks were actually fairly close. It was just that the Seahawks always won big while most of the Cardinals’ games were tight.
Since 2002 when the Cardinals moved to a newly aligned NFC West, the Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers have played 40 times.
The records are 20-20.
The 49ers have had eight coaches in that timeframe, the Cardinals have only had six, but things have become so hard to understand that the 49ers are incredibly more successful in that time than the Cardinals.
The 49ers have been to the playoffs six times in that timespan, the Cardinals only three.
The even field separates in how successful the 49ers have been in the playoffs, while the Cardinals have been to only one Super Bowl and one NFC Championship Game.
So, when you look at things, there is no real separation between the two franchises since the realignment, outside of the fact that when the 49ers get to the playoffs, they compete, while the Cardinals have only two times.
What is interesting is that even since Kyle Shanahan and Kliff Kingsbury have been here, the teams are completely even.
The Cardinals are 3-3 against the 49ers since Kliff took over and are averaging 22.5 points per game while the 49ers are averaging 21.8 points per game.
These two have been virtual equals in almost every major statistical category, except in one aspect.
Since Kliff took over, the 49ers have been to a Super Bowl and an NFC Championship Game where they should have won before blowing it by dropping an easy interception against Matthew Stafford.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals were run off the field in their lone playoff appearance.
It is interesting to see a rivalry seem so one-sided while it is virtually equal, but the success of one franchise seems much greater than the other.
The reason? Success at the right time, two Super Bowls and three NFC Championship Games is much better than one and done.
Now, how does this year play out?