clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rams join Dodgers in facing San Francisco in the playoffs

A tradition, 3-plus months in the making

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles and San Francisco are battling in the postseason again, just a few months after the last time.

The Dodgers and Giants had the two best records in MLB in 2021 but met in the Division Series, one round earlier than the Rams and 49ers, who will play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. The Rams and 49ers are the No. 4 and No. 6 seeds, respectively, in the NFC, and combined to knock out the top three teams in the conference.

A similarity between the California baseball and football rivals is the scarcity of their playoff meetings. October’s NLDS was the first postseason matchup between the Dodgers and Giants in their 132 years together in the National League. Sunday will be just the second postseason game between the Rams and 49ers. The first, just like this weekend, was for a trip to the Super Bowl, with San Francisco obliterating Los Angeles 30-3 in 1990 en route to a second straight championship.

This the second-best run of extended Los Angeles success for both the Dodgers and Rams, with nine straight postseason berths for the Dodgers and four times in five years for the Rams under coach Sean McVay. They ran dual paths in the 2018 season as well, both losing to Boston teams for the championship.

In the 1970s, the two teams also had frustratingly similar paths. The Dodgers won three pennants but lost all three World Series. The Rams lost four NFC Championship Games in five years before finally breaking through to a Super Bowl after the 1979 season, but lost that, too.

The Dodgers’ main foe that decade was The Big Red Machine, while the Rams ran up against The Purple People Eaters. Both LA teams also saw trouble against the blue bloods, with the Dodgers dropping two Fall Classics to the Yankees and the Cowboys eliminating the Rams three times in the 1970s.

Sunday’s game represents a relative rarity for the Rams and Dodgers during the times both teams have been in Los Angeles. This is the fifth time out of 43 years that both teams have reached the semifinal round of their sport during the same season, joining 1974, 1978, 1985, and 2018. None of those seasons ended in a championship for the Dodgers nor Rams.


  • Brandon Gomes’ variety of skills, including extensive pitching knowledge coupled with player development experience, fueled his ascension in the Dodgers’ front office, the latest (but still rare) former player in that role across MLB. “As the lines between the front office and the dugout personnel have blurred, candidates able to blend all of the job’s responsibilities have assumed those roles,” wrote Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic.
  • Craig Goldstein expertly takes aim at Rays owner Stu Sternberg’s quote last week about sister cities, and MLB as a whole, writing at Baseball Prospectus, “The real affront to fans is the casual contempt ownership seems to have for them.”
  • “This fight involves two parties who can barely stand to be in the same room trying to find a shred of common ground,” writes Brittany Ghiroli at The Athletic. “And the longer this lockout goes, the clearer it gets: The biggest losers here are the fans.”