Getting Down with 49ers Fans During the NFC Championship
The NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers was set to be a slugfest between two teams that hated each other. Unlike Dan vs Dave in the 92′ Olympics, this lived up to the hype. My friend John Mathews, who is a 49ers diehard and someone who goes super hard with his fandom, invited me to watch the game a The Globe, a 49ers bar in Chiacgo, where the place would be packed with 49ers fans reminiscing about Merton Hanks celebrations and eating Rice-A-Roni. As one to never miss a great opportunity to see how other fan bases get down I took him up on his offer.
John is the only 49ers fan that I’ve ever met and I had never actually thought about what the 49ers fan base would be like. I wondered if they’d be elitest because of the whole Joe Montana is the greatest quarterback and Jerry Rice is the greatest wide receiver plus Steve Young was awesome thing (any true sports fan would be remiss to not include Steve Young in the same sentence as those guys)? As a Steelers fan we can be obnoxious because of the number of Super Bowl’s the team has won. Every argument can be solved with “how many Super Bowls has your team won?” Would they exude any of these sophomoric yinzer characteristics?
Since I was in unfamiliar territory I came bearing gifts. I had bet on the 49ers +3.5, the under (38.5), and also had them as my Super Bowl pick in a playoff league. There’s no fun in being the Skip Bayless of the crew so I’d be cheering and having fun along side them. A wise man once said, “you can always trust someone who has a koozie”. I take those words to heart so I also gave out some Bacon Sports Canadian Bacon Punts on 3rd Down koozies, which went great with the 49ers colors, to buy some more goodwill.
Here’s the crew that I was watching the game with. My boy John rocks a custom 49ers print suit, which you won’t see anywhere else. He is just as obnoxious about the 49ers as this suit is. In a good way. Unless they start losing due to stupidity. He doesn’t like stupidity.
Before the game started one of the 49ers fans in the bar had a friend at Century Link field. This is what it looked like.
How many teams are allowed to claim the 12th Man moniker? By my count there are currently two rolling with it: the Seahawks and Texas A&M. The fact that each takes ownership in the 12th Man is both smart and dumb at the same time.
It’s smart because why not give your fans a tagline or something to hold on to. As a Steelers fan we’ve made our mark by waving around a Terrible Towel. It can become part of who you are.
On the flip side any team can say they have a 12th Man since 11 players are always on the field. There isn’t anything special about the Seahawks or Texas A&M. Sure they can talk about how loud and crazy they get, but it’s not anything that special like they are the only ones with Back to the Future II hoverboards that work. Loud is loud. We all root for our teams. You aren’t better than everyone else.
If I’m the Washington Redskins I’d implement a 12th Man fan program immediately. It would divert the attention away from RGIII’s locker room chemistry being poop and the Redskins having a racist name. “Say hello to the new era! Lead by the 12th Man and one of the Gruden’s. Your 2014 team from Washington!!!!!” That would sell some tickets.
Meet Michael, the always smiling, always remembering your name even thought you’ve just met him and only told it to him once, craft beer recommending bartender at The Globe. I was told that he is the best bartender ever. True to form he remembered my name the entire time and made it feel like home. Well done Michael!
The bar was crowded and filled with a sea of red jerseys. Kudos to the guy with the sweet vintage 49ers jacket for going with the pointing at the camera pose. This is my go to move when I take pictures and it’s good to see that he’s repping hard.
Jerry Rice and Joe Montana jerseys most certainly weren’t represented very much, which I was surprised with. The fans were much more about the team now, not that past.
Two good athlete stories were told over the course of the game. One involving an in college and not yet married to a supermodel Tom Brady who came for a break (he is from Cali) and was cool to a bunch of high school football players. Brady threw them passes and the guy I was talking to was one of the guys catching them. He said that Brady put perfect touch on the ball so it wasn’t a rocket launcher throw like Kaepernick slings. It was very catchable, almost gentle. He also said that Tom Brady pounded about 5 beers with them and was really cool. Score one for Tom Brady.
The other story, told by the same guy, was about Dwight Clark. When Dwight Clark caught the famous TD pass in the 1982 NFC Championship game he spiked the ball. When he did the ball boy (who someone in the guy telling the story’s family knew) caught it and when Dwight Clark asked him for the ball he handed him one of the other balls he was holding, not the ball that was the actual TD catch, without anyone knowing. Here’s an interesting SI story about the whole fiasco and what went down.
“My shoes cost more than your house” – Ric Flair
Some unhappy 49ers fans after Donte Hitner got flagged for a personal foul on a hit to the head of a receiver on 3rd down. I thought that the officiating of the game was poor and definitely leaned towards the Seahawks. Multiple calls went against the 49ers and it’s tough to win a game like this when everything isn’t perfect.
This is also a very good picture of what a charge call in basketball looks like.
Loving this vintage 49ers jacket.
I found a Scene setting on my camera that I had no clue what it did. This is the type of pictures it produces. Thought it was cool.
Girls who love sports and are awesome rock! Holla at us unicorns! #imaunicorn
Dude looks pretty spot on for Colin Kaepernick. The Jim Harbaugh khaki’s thing apparently is well embraced by 49ers fans.
The lone Kendall Hunter 49ers jersey in the bar. Kendall Hunter has disappointment many of fantasy football owners, myself included. He has been seen as the more than capable backup to an aging Frank Gore, yet has done very little.
When the intensity of a game ratchets up it is not uncommon for man to go into seclusion and watch the game by himself, standing and pacing the entire time. John is currently in one of those moments.
Who cares about the 49ers scoring, I read on Facebook that Sandy just washed her car. Phones down, eyes up. There’s football going on!
Kaep is bout it bout it!
Frank Gore’s on Gore’s on Gore’s.
The Blackhawks beat the Bruins at the United Center earlier in the day so rocking a Brandon Saad jersey is totally acceptable (especially since it’s red). What a great sports day this girl is having.
I don’t know this for a fact but I’m guessing this is the other half of that Brandon Saad jersey. This jersey was majorly out of place, obviously. Kudos to this guy for being with a unicorn that wants to go to a hockey game and the bar to watch football in the same day!
I actually have no clue what John was doing outside. The emotions of a playoff game like this can send sports fans all over the place. Even though everyone is cheering for the same goal, we all handle it in different ways. The best part about this is that John is not alone in standing outside and watching a game. This happens all over America.
By the way, I think John was just hot and wanted to go outside for some fresh air (I never asked him) but I’d like to think that the emotions of the game got to him and he had to try and change some stuff up for superstition sake.
Without a doubt the most worn jersey was Patrick Willis. The guy on the left was rocking the only Steve Young 49ers jersey in the house. I didn’t see any Aldon Smith’s, no Justin Smith’s, Navorro Bowman’s, or Anquan Boldin’s. Just lots of Patrick Willis jerseys. I was holding out hope that I’d see a Tom Rathman or Jim Druckenmiller jersey, but that didn’t happen. Thankfully this did…
What’s up Joe Montana! No doubt this guy rocking the Joe Montana Chiefs jersey was the winner of today.
I was impressed by this jersey on so many levels. For one, I didn’t expect this at all so it was like a special treat. Two, buying a Joe Montana Chiefs jersey is so fantastic because of how absurd it is. There’s no reason to buy the jersey of the team where he won 4 Super Bowls. Oh no. I want it from the team where took his victory lap and only played 2 seasons.
Unfortunately the 49ers didn’t win, they didn’t cover, and the over hit so I lost all across the board. I believe that the 49ers were the better team as was evident by the emotion in the bar all day. The crowd roared louder than I expected on big plays and aside from not being pleased when the Seahawks scored, they were in good spirits up until the final interception. Sometimes the better team doesn’t always win but three 4th quarter turnovers most certainly is not the recipe for success.
I found 49ers fans to be very hospitable, knowledgable and not too douchey. They seem to handle past success very well and didn’t exude too many yinzer qualities. A few tried to talk light smack once they found out I was a Steelers fan and say how that sucks, but that’s a hard argument for them to win. I am disappointed that no one dropped a JJ Stokes reference, but I guess no fan base is perfect.
All in all it was a fun time minus the outcome of the game. Now excuse me while I go watch old Steelers Super Bowl DVD’s and drink a Yuengling.
If you are a Chicago bar or team fan club and you want Bacon Sports to cover a day in the life of your squad then holla at us on Twitter @BaconSports.
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