SANTA CLARA -- Football is all about rivalries and passion for George Kittle, and that has been amping up the 49ers' tight end while preparing for Sunday's clash against the Seattle Seahawks.
Kittle and the 49ers are prepared for it to be loud and raucous in Seattle well before kickoff. The hostility from the "12s" doesn’t intimidate the All-Pro -- it fuels him. It makes Kittle look forward to the 49ers' trip to the Pacific Northwest with even more excitement.
“It’s one of my favorites,” Kittle said of the environment. “For me, when you have a stadium, and it’s built up like that and the sound is just coming down on you the whole time, and you can feel the passion of hatred from their fans? That’s what football is supposed to be.
“We’re not supposed to like each other. You can definitely feel that from their fans and I love that. That’s football. I always love playing Seattle and it’s just a great football atmosphere."
The Seahawks might have a 3-8 record, but Kittle assured the local media that there is no possible way the club is overlooking Sunday’s matchup. Because of the intense rivalry with their division opponent, the five-year tight end knows Sunday will be a battle.
“They’ve been unfortunate the last couple of weeks but I think every time the Niners and Seahawks play it’s a good game,” Kittle said. “Whether they have zero wins and we’re undefeated or we have zero wins and they’re undefeated. I think it’s going to be our toughest game of the year and they would probably say the same thing.”
Kittle is not only fueled but the angst of the fans, but also the history of the rivalry. On Wednesday night the tight end’s father, Bruce, informed his son that the Seahawks have won 16 of the last 19 matchups
That particular statistic did not sit well with Kittle and intensified his motivation this week. The veteran tight end believes the only way to right the ship is to get a win on Sunday, and that is what the Kittle is focused on.
While Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite memory of the rivalry with the Seahawks is Dre Greenlaw’s goal-line stop, Kittle has a different game entirely as his favorite.
"My favorite game with Seattle is 2018 when we beat them [at Levi's Stadium],” Kittle said. “That was the first time we had beat them in a long time. It was a sloppy wet game and we ran gap-scheme on them like eight times in the last two drives in the fourth quarter and overtime to win the game.”
“That game was awesome. Just the way that we won it. It was so gritty.”
The 49ers will be looking to keep their playoff hopes going and the Seahawks would love nothing more to play the spoiler.
The game will kick off on Sunday at 1:25 pm.