LA Rams vs 49ers
California. Laid back, right? Chilled, West Coast vibes all the way? Sure. Tell that to these guys when game day comes around. It’s no coincidence that Sports Illustrated ranks this pairing among the all-time Top 10 NFL rivalries. Fans of both teams famously tend to judge their progress by how they compare with their near neighbor.
No two teams have spent as long in the same conference as the Rams and the 49ers. Since 1950, the two teams have been huge rivals, facing each other twice a season, every season. It’s a match-up that reflects not just sport, but also the long-standing economic, political and cultural power struggle between North and South California. In this way, it takes its place alongside other big intrastate rivalries in hockey, baseball, and soccer.
Rams vs 49ers history
These two Californian rivals have been going toe-to-toe for more than 70 years. The needle between the teams even survived a spell when the Rams left LA for St Louis and returned in style when the franchise went back home. Let’s take a look at how they’ve shaped up over the decades.
This Californian rivalry dates back to 1950 when the NFL merged with the All-America Football Conference and gained three new teams. One of them was the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers joined the Rams as the second franchise on the West Coast after the LA team’s move from Cleveland in 1946. Recognizing the allure of this local match-up, the NFL placed the two teams in the newly-formed National Conference and ensured they would meet twice a season. The intensity of the rivalry let nobody down. Despite more than 70 years of conference re-alignment, these two old foes are always in the same section.
Initially, it was all about the Rams. The first 30 years of the rivalry were fairly one-sided and by 1980, LA enjoyed a 22-game lead in the head-to-head. Along the way, it set the biggest blow-out in the series with a 56-7 victory in 1956.
However, the rivalry kicked the intensity up a notch in the1970s. The terms of the merger agreement between the NFL and the AFL ensured that the Rams and the 49ers would be kept together in the NFL West, and they dominated for a decade. One of these two teams would top the division every year from 1970 to 1979. San Francisco made a flying start, winning the first three seasons despite posting a 1-5 losing record against LA. Then the Rams took charge, reeling off seven successive division titles from 1973 to 1979.
49ers fight back
Joe Montana was the man who changed the script. Drafted from Notre Dame in 1979, he transformed the 49ers into an elite force in 1980s football. In his 14 years in San Francisco, he would start and win four Super Bowls with a franchise that had never won the ultimate prize before his arrival.
Against the Rams, Montana led the 49ers to a 13-8 winning record in the 80s. That was the first time the Bay Area had outplayed LA over the course of a decade since the teams first met. The series also included victory in the first playoff match-up between these old foes in the NFC Conference championship game of 1989. The domination would continue into the 90s, but everything was about to change.
The 49ers kept on winning. Over the course of the 1990s, San Francisco reveled in a 17-game winning streak over the Rams and won its fifth Super Bowl along the way. To the south, though, things were changing in LA. By 1995 the franchise was ready to relocate to St Louis. Was this the end of a great rivalry?
Not for some. San Francisco running back Roger Craig insisted that “it doesn’t matter if they no longer play in Los Angeles. If the Rams played their home games on Mars, it would still be a rivalry”.
On the field, meanwhile, the 49ers kept winning. In 1998, they took an overall lead in the series for the first time, having reeled in a 22-game deficit. Maybe that inspired the Rams to snap that 17-game skid at last. Their ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ offense powered two wins in 1999 to regain the upper hand. It would take 13 years for San Francisco to get back on top.
The 1999 season also brought the Rams a first Super Bowl success. Previously the franchise had won two NFL Championships in the pre-merger era, and now it had its hands on the biggest prize of all. However, in the 2000s neither team was a regular contender for honors, and the rivalry — now distanced — lost some of its spark.
Back to California
In 2016, the local rivalry was proudly renewed. The Rams returned to LA and this Californian clash came back to life. The 49ers welcomed the new neighbors home by winning both games against the Rams despite losing all 14 of their games against the rest of the NHL. That helped maintain San Francisco’s overall lead in the series.
As the Rams settled back into California, the two rivals each won an NFL Championship game (LA in 2018, San Francisco the following year). However, neither franchise could go on to win the Super Bowl.
In 2020, the 49ers again swept the Rams. That included the first-ever defeat for Los Angeles at its new SoFi Stadium in week 12 of the campaign. A year later, San Francisco extended its streak to 6-0 in regular season play, overturning a 0-17 deficit to win the regular season finale in OT and sneak into the playoffs. That ultimately set up a second post-season showdown between the teams, and this time the Rams made the big comeback. Down by 10 in the fourth, they rallied to win 20-17 and advance to Super Bowl LVI. Victory over the Bengals sealed a second Super Bowl title triumph for the franchise, and its first in Los Angeles.
Rams vs 49ers score some historic moments
The teams’ NFL rivalry began in October 1950 in San Francisco. The Rams shrugged off an injury to starting QB Bob Waterfield to win 35-14 thanks to the efforts of replacement Norm Van Brocklin.
That first decade brought some historic encounters. When the Rams hosted the 49ers in 1957, the 37-24 home win was witnessed by 102,368 fans. That remained an NFL attendance record until 2009. A year later, also in LA, the Rams romped to a 56-7 victory. It’s still the biggest blow-out in the series. San Francisco’s biggest win was a 48-0 shut-out in 1987, inspired by the great Joe Montana.
In post-season play, these two California rivals are locked at one game apiece. The first playoff meeting saw the 49ers power to a 30-3 victory in the 1989 NFC Championship game. The Rams had to wait more than 30 years to avenge that loss. Their chance came at last in the 2021 NFC Championship game when they edged a 20-17 verdict. On both occasions, the winning team went on to Super Bowl glory.
The Rams vs 49ers rivalry has produced some memorable streaks. LA was the first to post a 10-game winning sequence, back in the1950s. However, when San Francisco was at the peak of its powers the 49ers eclipsed that and won 17 straight in the 1990s.
Rams vs 49ers tickets
Watching these rivals go head-to-head is thrilling, but there’s nothing better than seeing them battle live in the arena. Being part of a passionate crowd just adds to the game day drama. So how can you get tickets for the big game?
You’ll need to move fast. Rams vs 49ers games are among the first fixtures that everybody looks for when the NFL schedule drops. That usually happens in May, so it’s smart to keep an eye on the league website for the latest news. With high demand for these events, it can be difficult to find legitimate tickets months before game day. It’s no surprise to see the ‘house full’ signs go up at the 70,000-capacity SoFi Stadium in LA and the 67,000-seater Levi’s Arena in Santa Clara.
However, there is some help. Both teams have reliable ticket services on their websites (therams.com and 49ers.com, respectively). In addition, there is an extensive and official NFL ticket resale market operated via Ticketmaster. That can offer a chance to snap up last-minute tickets, albeit often at a premium price.
A season ticket is another option, although this can be expensive and subject to availability. Season tickets will get you into every one of your team’s home games. However, the cost and the need to live within a reasonable distance of the arena make this unrealistic for many.
Rams vs 49ers prediction
For sports fans, a Rams vs 49ers rivalry game is something special. The excitement of a regular NFL encounter is magnified when two intense opponents go toe-to-toe at the peak of their game. Players on both teams will be inspired by the atmosphere, motivated to give even more in pursuit of victory.
For gamblers, though, these games can be fraught with danger. People often say that the form book goes out of the window on occasions like this. Regardless of the league standings, nobody wants to back down. Meanwhile, for any team suffering a disappointing season, victory over their biggest rival can be a ticket to instant redemption in the eyes of the fans.
At the same time, the big games are always the ones that we want to get on. From bookmakers offering enhanced odds for a bunch of different markets to fans eager to feel even closer to the action, everybody wants a piece of it. The unpredictability is a huge part of the appeal.
That’s why it’s important to approach the betting markets with caution when this fixture comes into view. As a fan, it’s natural to want your team to win every game. Clearly, the more important the game, the greater that desire to see your heroes come out on top. However, if there’s one prediction we can make with enormous confidence, it’s that blindly betting with your heart will end up costing you.
Do your homework
As with every game, a sensible bettor will take time to study form. This time, however, it’s not just about results and performances this season. We know these games are special, and that can have a psychological impact. Earlier, we talked about some of the great streaks these teams have produced on one another. Before betting on the end of a notable sequence, pay attention to what has changed. In these games, more than most, the head-to-head match-ups count. Does one coach have his opponent’s number? Is one QB prone to get jittery on the big occasion?
The impact of roster changes might not be obvious, either. Logic suggests that a line-up stacked with experience has the edge over a young, inexperienced team. However, if much of that experience involves painful losses against this opponent, fearless youthful exuberance could tip the balance here.
Rams vs 49ers advice
Our advice is to proceed with caution. Some of those enhanced odds can make for fun in-game multiples or exciting props markets, but going all-in might be risky. More than other games, this is a good market to look at the spreads and the under/over prices. In particular, keep in mind the likelihood of a high-profile occasion producing a tense, cagey and low-scoring game.
Also, watch the reports coming out of both teams in the build-up to the game. Which players sound confident, and which sound worried? The news sites will be busy for days before kick-off. Use that stream of information to get a feel for what’s happening inside the Rams and the 49ers before making your choice.
Finally, and most importantly, never bet more than you can afford to lose. The stakes are high enough out on the field. Nobody wants to exacerbate the disappointment of a bad result with the financial shock of a big loss. Keep it fun, and enjoy the big game!