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Sunday, January 9, 2011
Stand up and be counted, NFC West fans

By Mike Sando

Regular-season rooting rules no longer apply.

It's playoff time, and that means we're all in this shiny NFC West boat together.

Fans loving one NFC West team and despising the other three during the regular season benefit in the broader divisional discussion when one of their rivals enjoys playoff success. The Seattle Seahawks' upset victory against New Orleans in the wild-card round Saturday lets everyone walk a little taller around here.

For example, one of my good friends from childhood, Marc, is a life-long San Francisco 49ers fan. We touch base every couple years if we're lucky, but I heard from him Saturday.

"Great game today," his email read. "Hated rooting for the Seahawks, but the NFC West isn't as bad as people think."

Inside the NFC West family, it's OK to demean a rival's playoff success. Rams and 49ers fans can point to Super Bowl rings when dismissing the Seahawks' or Arizona Cardinals' more recent playoff success. Seattle and Arizona fans can ask what the Rams and 49ers have done lately. But if a fan with allegiances to a non-NFC West team brings the ridicule, we need only to direct them to the chart below.

NFC West teams have the highest winning percentage in playoff games -- .643 -- since the 2005 season. The 9-5 record includes 4-0 in the wild-card round, 3-3 in the divisional round, 2-0 in the conference championship round and, alas, 0-2 in Super Bowls.