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NFC West Update: Arizona Cardinals Fall Short of Super Bowl 50; San Francisco 49ers Hire Chip Kelly as Head Coach; Rams Return To L.A.

As the NFL offseason gets underway for most teams, check out the latest news on the Seahawks' division rivals.


Developments from around the division as the Seahawks and their three NFC West rivals enter the offseason.

Arizona Cardinals

What's New: The Cardinals committed seven turnovers in this past Sunday's 49-15 NFC Championship loss to the Carolina Panthers, including four interceptions and two lost fumbles from quarterback Carson Palmer, as Arizona's top-ranked offense struggled to get going on the road at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium. 

Why It Matters: The loss ends the Cardinals' 2015-16 season one game shy of Super Bowl 50, meaning that for the first time in four years a non-NFC West team will represent the conference on the NFL's biggest stage, with the San Francisco 49ers making the Super Bowl in 2012 and the Seahawks representing the NFC the last two years. The season-ending setback means Arizona owns the No. 29 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

What They're Saying: "We made that nice step to win the division and get up to that next level to the championship game. And next year, it's Super Bowl or bust." - Arizona head coach Bruce Arians


San Francisco 49ers

What's New: Jim Tomsula's time as head coach came to a close after one 5-11 season in the Bay Area, with the Niners naming former Philadelphia Eagles front-man Chip Kelly as the team's new head coach 11 days after Tomsula's departure. 

Why It Matters: Kelly, who was relieved of his head-coaching duties in Philadelphia with one week to go in the 2015 regular season, had back-to-back 10-6 seasons with the Eagles before going 6-9 this past year. Seahawks fans and Pac-12 followers are likely more familiar with Kelly's work because of the four years he spent as head coach at the University of Oregon, where he compiled a 46-7 overall record utilizing a quick-strike, fast-paced offense.

What They're Saying: "It's an unbelievable standard. It's a huge challenge. The NFC West is stacked. But that excites you, if you're a competitor, you like that." - Kelly, on entering a division that has produced two playoff teams each of the past four seasons.


Los Angeles Rams: 

What's New: If you missed the news that dropped earlier this month, the Rams will have a new home in 2016. After a 21-year run in St. Louis, NFL owners voted to endorse the club's relocation to Los Angeles, the city the Rams played in for 48 years prior to their move to the Midwest ahead of the 1995 season. The team has already secured more than 45,000 season-ticket deposits. 

Why It Matters: Instead of traveling roughly 1,700 miles east for NFC West games against the Rams, the Seahawks will head roughly 950 miles south to meet their division rival in Southern California. That means Seattle can likely expect to play one less game at 10 a.m. PT, which is when the team's matchups were typically set when the Rams were based in St. Louis. Until a new stadium is built in Inglewood, Rams games will be played at L.A. Memorial Coliseum, the current home of the USC Trojans and where Pete Carroll coached from 2001-09 before taking the head-coaching job in Seattle. 

What They're Saying: "It's nice. It's awesome. Don't have to fly to St. Louis every year, it's a win. That's a trip you take off, you stay all West Coast, you don't have the time change, you don't have the 10 o'clock games anymore. It's a win for us." - Compton, Calif. native Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on the Rams move to L.A.

After traveling with the Seahawks all season, team photographer Rod Mar selected his favorite and most memorable photos from the 2015 season Eye on the Hawks photo essays. 

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