Tag Archives: Ian Furness

Commentary: Why I Hate the San Francisco 49ers

10 Sep
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Photo Courtesy: Deadspin.com

*As a part of rivalry week and “hate week,” I give you a special look into my past as I detail the origin and evolution of my hatred of the San Francisco 49ers*

Ask a Green Bay Packers fan what they think about the Chicago Bears. Ask a New York Giants fan what they think about the Dallas Cowboys. Ask a Baltimore Ravens fan what they think about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fans of these teams would probably go on a rant about every single little detail they hate about their rival team. Now ask a Seattle Seahawks fan what they think about the San Francisco 49ers. Just the thought of answering that question would make many Seahawks fans want to puke, myself included.

But what if I were to tell you there was a time where I actually vaguely respected the San Francisco 49ers?

When I was 10 years old the Seahawks were still in the AFC West. We would play San Francisco in the regular season once every three or four years but we would see them almost every year in the preseason.  The 49ers were scheduled to come to Husky Stadium to play the Seahawks in the 2000 preseason and I told my dad that if there was one team I wanted to see and one game I wanted to go to, it would be San Francisco in the preseason. I wanted to see Jerry Rice play against the Seahawks because I was a fan of the way Rice played the game. Unfortunately I did not get to go to the game but I watched on television as the Seahawks beat San Francisco 25-21.

Fast forward two seasons to 2002. The Seahawks are now in the NFC West with the 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals, and the St. Louis Rams. The Seahawks struggled to create a strong rivalry with any of these teams until 2004 when the Rams beat the Seahawks three times. Even though the 12th Man focused their hatred primarily on St. Louis, I always held a grudge against the San Francisco 49ers. Even today it is hard to pinpoint exactly why. Maybe it was the infamous “Sharpie touchdown” Terrell Owens scored against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football in 2002. Or maybe it was the fact that as a young boy I was envious of their 5 Super Bowl championships and the storied history that the Seahawks did not have.

In October 2003 I went to my first Seahawks/49ers game with my dad; at home on Sunday Night Football. We beat the 49ers 21-20 but the primetime atmosphere and the fans around me showed, to an extent, maybe why I held a dislike for the 49ers. There were two 49ers fans a couple rows down from us. As the game went on everyone around us became more and more belligerent. The only trash talk that surfaced from the men in their red 49ers jerseys was about their championships, and several off-color inappropriate statements, even for a 13-year old like me to hear.

It was going to be a tradition for me and my dad to go to one regular season Seahawks game together each season in our new stadium. This experience ruined that tradition. I did not go to another regular season game with my dad until I became a season ticket holder in 2006.

Because the Seahawks and 49ers were not good at the same time for the first few years together in the NFC West, the rivalry was pretty muted and I only displayed a dislike for the 49ers, much like my dislike of our other division rival Arizona.

That’s when everything changed.

In 2007, my insubstantial dislike turned into authentic hatred.

My dad and I flew down to San Francisco in September 2007 for the Seahawks week 4 game against the 49ers at Candlestick Park (Monster Park at the time). Remember this was in the middle of the 49ers stretch of mediocrity in the 2000’s but even though this was my first ever road Seahawks game I was not expecting the hostile environment that greeted me that sunny September day along the Bay. After tailgating with a small group of Seahawks fans the two of us took the long walk from the back of the stadium parking lot into the stadium. It is a straight street that leads directly to the gate and as you walk you have 49ers fans tailgating, lining the street along the concrete barriers on each side of you. This walk was one of the most intimidating moments of my fanhood as I heard everything from verbal threats, chants of “sea chickens” and “seacocks,” and even in some serious, drunken cases, objects (mostly food) thrown in our direction. The Seahawks won the game 23-3 but I remember telling my dad on the way back to the car “could you imagine if we had LOST the game? We wouldn’t have gotten out of here alive!”

Fast forward to present day. The Seahawks and 49ers are co-contenders for both the NFC West title and the NFC championship. Head coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh have a personal rivalry that extends back to their days as college coaches, and the rivalry between fans of both teams has blossomed from petty “trash talk” hate to “I am going to kick your 49er ass” hate (If you’ve been to a Seahawks/49ers game you know what I am talking about.)

I may hate the concrete dump that is Candlestick Park (like Ian Furness from 950 KJR stated, “I’ve had a better experience in a port-o-potty”). I may hate the fact that San Francisco’s history is consistently thrown in my face for no good reason (no Seahawks fan gives a flying f**k about your 5 Super Bowl rings). I may hate Jim Harbaugh (prick), Colin Kaepernick (douche bag), and the rest of the 49ers’ roster, but if you asked me today why I hate the San Francisco 49ers, there is no question that the primary reason is the classlessness and disrespect displayed by the “Niner Empire.” I have been to Seahawks road games in 5 different cities and the disrespect that is dished by 49ers fans completely trumps the banter that I have heard in the other cities I have been to combined. It truly is not even close. When people talk about places they would never see their team play in, Oakland and Philadelphia immediately come to mind because of the verbal and sometimes physical abuse those fan bases are infamously known for. In my opinion, San Francisco and Candlestick Park is the worst experience an NFL fan could possibly endure. You might ask “if it is as bad as you say it is, then why do you even bother going down to San Francisco?” The answer is easy. My love for the Seahawks is too strong to keep me from going into enemy territory to cheer on my team. Over the past two seasons, I have been to every game, both home and away, between these two teams and I am going to both games again this season. Over the course of these four games, I have lost more and more respect (among the little respect I initially had) of 49er fans from both a general and personal perspective. There is definitely a reason why undercover cops are forced to be used at 49ers home games to try to eliminate the unnecessary amount of unruly behavior among their fans. Here are some interactions I have noticed between 49ers and Seahawks fans over the past two years:

  • September 2011: A 49ers fan mocks my red head afro at Candlestick Park.
  • September 2011: A drunken 49ers fan threatens to throw a fellow Seahawks fan off a Candlestick Park escalator. (The Seahawk fan was ignoring him the entire time and did absolutely nothing to bring that threat upon himself).
  • September 2011: A 49ers fan yells “BOOO” from kissing distance away from my face.
  • December 2011: A 49ers fan sitting behind me at CenturyLink Field disrespectfully dictates me to sit down and threatens to call security.
  • October 2012: During tailgating at Candlestick Park, a 49ers fan playing catch retrieves the overthrown football in my general vicinity. He threatens me not to touch the ball.
  • October 2012: More “ginger” jokes made towards me at Candlestick Park.
  • December 2012: Security is called to my seats at CenturyLink Field due to unruly behavior in the seat next to me, opening up the possibility that another appearance by security would result in me getting ejected from the stadium and me losing the right to my season tickets.

The rivalry between the Seahawks and 49ers is destined to heat up both on and off the field in the coming months and probably the coming years. If you are attending this week’s game or ever attend a game between the Seahawks and 49ers in the future here are some rules I follow that you should consider following also:

  1. Never go out of your way to make an opposing fan angry, especially on the road.
  2. In enemy territory, stick to cheering on your team only. On the road, leave it to other fans to boo the opponent because you are always outnumbered.
  3. Never make banter and trash talk personal. Nothing positive ever comes out of making it personal.
  4. Avoid cussing and excessive drinking. Heavy drinking contributed to the majority of those negative interactions mentioned earlier.
  5. Never stab anyone in the parking lot.

I believe it is healthy to have rivals and to have dislike and even hatred towards an opposing team. That is a big part of what makes NFL football so special and unique. My personal experiences have shaped my hatred of the San Francisco 49ers to a level that makes me cringe whenever I see or hear something that paints the 49ers in a positive light. If you have ever been to a Seahawks/49ers game I hope you know where I am coming from when I detail the evolution of my hatred of the San Francisco 49ers.

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My Weekend in Arizona

12 Sep

Friday: My flight to Phoenix left Seattle at 3:20 Friday afternoon. I was in an aisle seat about 25 rows back and to be honest my flight could have gone a lot better. Let me touch on the one bright spot; there were at least 20 Seahawks fans on my flight and when we started to descend towards Phoenix, most of them started to get riled up. That was a lot of fun to be a part of. Now to the annoying part of my flight. The guy sitting next to me was wearing a Seahawks shirt and Seahawks hat, which was nice. About an hour into our flight while I was listening to music, he wanted to start a conversation about Sunday’s game. I told him about my annual road trip and what my outlook on the game was and he told me about his thoughts. While he was talking I remembered one of my least favorite things about talking to strangers about football; I ALWAYS seem to know more about the game than they do, so I had to listen to amateur analysis that either didn’t make sense or was completely irrelevant. To make things even worse, he was boozing throughout the entire flight. As the drinks went down, the more annoying and belligerent he got. I tried to make it clear I wasn’t in the mood to talk by putting in my headphones but he just would not shut up. The icing on the cake was that he would try to get up to use the lavatory at the most inopportune times including right when the beverage cart was in front of our row, and once the flight landed and everyone seated on the aisle was standing and grabbing for their bags in the overhead storage bins. At least I can say I didn’t have the most frustrating flight, as one of the other guys I traveled with got a condensed life story from an elderly woman he was seated next to.

After getting off the plane we headed for the rental car shuttle. Once we stepped outside it was like walking into a sauna. 90 degree temperatures at 6:00pm is uncomfortable but also add in the smelly Phoenix air and you are miserable, at least to start. I got used to it by the end of the weekend. After getting our car we drove about 20 minutes to Glendale, the site of both University of Phoenix Stadium and our hotel. We checked in to the Glendale Renaissance then drove to In-N-Out Burger for dinner. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and I took a self-guided tour of the place. Let me tell you, I have never stayed in a more luxurious hotel than this place. Unfortunately I was only there for the weekend and since we were busy for most of the trip, I was not able to take advantage of any of the amenities the hotel offered which includes a beautiful outdoor pool with bar, state-of-the-art workout room, or the spa.

We then walked around what is called the “Glendale Entertainment District” which includes our hotel, University of Phoenix Stadium, Westgate shopping center, and Jobing.com Arena (home of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes). All of these buildings are within walking distance. We spent the rest of that night at a pub called McFadden’s. If I had to simply describe McFadden’s, imagine if Finn MacCool in the U-District had a baby with a place like Coyote Ugly or Cowgirls Inc. The women are incredibly attractive and the beer is expensive. All in all, the four of us had 12 Guinness’s total which racked up a tab close to $80. To a college aged man, McFadden’s is a place to go drink and observe the people around you. Our bartender may have had the most clothes on of any bartender and she was only wearing a bra-type tank top and shorts that were so short her buns were drooping from the base of them. I’m not going to lie though it was fairly awkward being at a place like that with my dad. This bar became a talking point among the four of us for the duration of our trip because each night we pondered the thought of going back to drink there. When we got back to the room we called it a night. Even though we had landed at 6 at night, we definitely made the most of our first night in Arizona.

Saturday: After pounding a coffee and a cinnamon roll, the four of us headed to downtown Phoenix to tour Chase Field; home of MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks. We have done a baseball stadium tour for the past three road trips and this one was one of the best. Among the stops, a pool located beyond the right-center fence, the club level, a suite, the visitors’ clubhouse, and the Diamondbacks dugout. After the tour we had an appetizer and beer at TGI Friday’s which is located in the second deck in left field. It is a similar setup to the Hit it Here Café at Safeco Field but because this restaurant is a TGI Friday’s, the food is leaps and bounds better than what is served at the Hit it Here Café.

After leaving downtown Phoenix we headed towards Peoria. I stayed in Peoria for my three trips to Mariners spring training so it was nice to see how the area had changed in the last ten years; the last time I went to Arizona. We killed some time at a mall (the same mall I had bought Pokémon cards at in 1999) before heading over to Buffalo Wild Wings for the Washington Huskies game against LSU. After some bickering (by my dad) about which televisions the Husky game was going to be on, I enjoyed some classic buffalo and spicy garlic wings while watching my Dawgs get pummeled by LSU. We left at halftime because the game was so bad. On the way back to the hotel we stopped to get beer for Sunday morning and to get a poster and pens so I could make a sign for the game.

When I got back to the hotel I made this sign:

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And then I called it a night in preparation for a HUGE day on Sunday.

Sunday: My alarm went off at 6:30am and I was immediately alert with adrenaline flowing through my veins. I pulled back the curtains on the window and witnessed a spectacular view of the stadium and then I turned on NFL Network to watch NFL Gameday Morning. After watching Warren Sapp make his “bold” prediction that the Kansas City Chiefs would beat the Atlanta Falcons 41-0, I took a shower and got in my gameday attire. I went down to the lobby to get another cup of coffee and cinnamon roll, not before I high fived two young girls who were wearing Seahawks jersey’s. The prefunction started in my room at 9:30am. While flipping back and forth between the Colts/Bears game and the Redskins/Saints game, I drank a 6-pack of Bud Light and then at 11:30 we headed across the street to the stadium.

Imagine walking into Costco on a 100+ degree day and walking straight into the frozen produce section in the back corner of the building. That is the only example I can think of when comparing the difference in temperature between outside the stadium and inside the stadium. There was easily a 25 or 30 degree difference and it really hits you once you open the doors and enter the stadium. I held my sign for the duration of pregame warm-ups, hoping FOX would get it on camera to use when the coverage of the game started on TV. Unfortunately I was not informed that my sign made it on TV by any of my friends watching back home so I just assumed all of the work I had put into it came short of my ultimate goal. The Seahawks had a great turn out in Arizona. I had several Hawks fans around me and I saw many 12th Man flags around the lower bowl of the stadium. After the Seahawks ran out of the tunnel, it was the Cardinals turn to be introduced and the building went absolutely crazy. I can easily say that it was the loudest environment I have been a part of on the road. Of course the noise level was not even close to CenturyLink Field, but it definitely came the closest of all the places I have been. Add in 50,000 white rally towels and it felt like a playoff game. The game had its ups and downs. I can’t remember the last time I screamed so loud after Sidney Rice’s touchdown. I wanted to make sure Cardinals fans knew I was there representing the Seahawks. After Braylon Edwards’s dropped pass on 4th and goal, I immediately slipped into a state of frustration, anger, and disbelief. I went back to the hotel and sat in a chair upset while listening to the broadcast of Sunday Night Football. After grabbing another burger at In-N-Out for dinner, I returned to my chair and sulked until I fell asleep about an hour after the Sunday Night game.

Monday: I woke up at 6:30am again in order to get ready, pack up, eat breakfast, and drive to the airport. Because one of our group members was heading to Detroit instead of back to Seattle, we had to get to the airport early because his flight left an hour before ours. I sat at the gate for a little over an hour before boarding my flight and I tried my best to get over the painful loss from the day before and to start focusing on Dallas next weekend. I noticed that there were some media members on my flight home; Ian Furness of Sports Radio KJR sat in the fourth row of first class and the cameramen and production team from Q13 FOX sat three rows behind me. I sat in row 19 by the window. This time around, I sat next to another Seahawks fan returning home but we did not communicate at all. Upon our descent to Seattle, I had a breathtaking view of downtown Seattle. Unfortunately my camera was not working on my phone so I could not get a picture. If I could have taken a picture, I’m confident I would have gotten likes on Facebook that would tally into the 30’s or 40’s haha. I made it home just in time for the Monday Night Football doubleheader and told my roommates all about my great but painful weekend.

I had a ton of fun on this trip. I highly suggest going to Arizona to see the Seahawks play. It is a trip that is easy to make with friends especially if you are staying in the Glendale Entertainment District. I hope my friends and I can put a plan together so I can make that trip once again next season!