The 49ers rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks deepened Sunday, collectively and individually.

After Seattle's 23-17 victory in the NFC Championship game, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree engaged in a war of words that will resonate into next season.

Sherman started it.

After making the game-saving play, batting away an end-zone pass to Crabtree that Malcolm Smith intercepted, Sherman turned an on-field interview with Fox-TV into a ranting monologue.

"I'm the best corner(back) in the game," Sherman screamed. "When you try to come at me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're gonna get.

"Don't you ever talk about me," Sherman said, angrily.

The interviewer, Erin Andrews, was caught completely off-guard, asking Sherman who had spoken ill of him.

"Crabtree," Sherman spat. "Don't open your mouth about the best or I'm going to shut it for you real quick. LOB."

The reference was to the Legion of Boom, a nickname for the Seattle defense. And with that, Sherman was gone, interview done.

Crabtree, in an interview last week, was asked if Sherman was the best cornerback in the game. According to reports, Crabtree said he didn't think so, but then qualified his remark by adding, "I don't know (anything) about the best cornerbacks in the league. I just know teams, you know. We are playing the Seattle Seahawks, and hopefully we come out with a win."

Sunday, with the 49ers driving to victory in the final minute, quarterback Colin Kaepernick lofted a pass to Crabtree in the corner of the end zone. Sherman leaped to bat the ball in the air, and Smith intercepted, effectively ending the game.

Sherman, who starred at Stanford under coach Jim Harbaugh, then chased after Crabtree and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Then, for good measure, Sherman made a choke sign toward the 49ers bench on his way off the field.

Asked what Sherman said to him, Crabtree said: "I ain't getting into that. He knows what time it is. We're on the field and he ain't doing nothing. That's one play he made. ... That's probably the only play he made the whole game."

Told of Sherman's postgame rant on Fox, Crabtree smirked and said: "He's a TV guy. I'm not a TV guy. I play ball. He makes one play, he talks."

Sherman was considerably calmer when he appeared on the Fox postgame set later.

"I don't like people saying negative things about me," he said when asked about the Crabtree rant. "I don't like people running their mouth. I told him, 'Good game and good try, but I'm the best corner in the game.' "

Then Sherman went to the interview room where he told reporters (three times) that Crabtree is "mediocre."

Crabtree later wrote the following on his Twitter account: "Film don't lie... @nflnetwork @espn pull up the tape of that game and show me where this guy is the best? #fake #fake #fake."