Are the San Francisco 49ers the most hated team in the league? Maybe.
They seem to have created animosity from several corners, including this week's opponent, the Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell said he hates the 49ers "with a passion" when talking on SiriusXM Radio this week. Campbell said his teammate, fellow defensive end Darnell Dockett, is even more intense in his hatred of the 49ers.
This came after San Francisco fielded verbal harpoons from the Seattle Seahawks, who lost 13-6 to the 49ers at Candlestick Park last Thursday.
When asked about the rough play of the Seahawks' receivers, coach Jim Harbaugh said he would be sending the tape of their play to the league office, which suggests there were penalties that were not called.
That prompted a response in Seattle. Cornerback Richard Sherman, who played for Harbaugh at Stanford, said, "He's the same guy who said the other guy was irrational and ignorant for talking about the refs," Sherman said of Harbaugh.
Sherman was referencing Harbaugh's impetuous statement he issued after Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said that 49ers defensive end Justin Smith "gets away with murder" with his holding of offensive linemen.
Harbaugh said Gilbride should not be influencing officiating with his public comments, which he deemed "outrageous" and "irrational." Harbaugh also called Gilbride's analogy "absurd."
Now everyone is reveling in Harbaugh's seeming hypocrisy.
Another former Stanford player, Doug Baldwin, who is now a Seattle receiver, wrote this on his twitter account: "Jim said Sherm and BB (cornerback Brandon Browner) were playing too rough," Baldwin wrote on Twitter. "Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha" That's 16 haha's for whoever is counting.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he was surprised that the 49ers receivers were so "overwhelmed." Carroll and Harbaugh's animosity goes back to the Pac-10, when Carroll took exception to Harbaugh's Stanford Cardinal running up the score on Carroll's USC Trojans.
Harbaugh defended his comment about the Seahawks' corners by saying he was asked a direct question, while Gilbride was volunteering his information about Smith.
Nevertheless, Harbaugh's handshakes and his unfiltered comments obviously cause passion and all of it is directed against him and his team. It means teams hate the 49ers "with a passion" as Campbell noted. It also means that the 49ers can expect an intense battle every game.
Harbaugh raises the heat on his team, which is something that can backfire. Harbaugh should ask New York Jets coach Rex Ryan about that.