Al Madrigal: Levi's Stadium 'so much better' than Candlestick


Al Madrigal: Levi's Stadium 'so much better' than Candlestick

Comedian Al Madrigal, whose family has owned 49ers season tickets since the days of Kezar Stadium, does not use Levi’s Stadium as a punch line for any of his material.

Madrigal spent countless games in the upper deck at Candlestick Park above the Jumbotron, which was visible to nearly everybody outside of Section 62. Because Madrigal might have thought he was dying up there at Candlestick, he has a largely positive opinion of the 49ers’ current home.

And – before you ask – yes, Madrigal’s seats in Santa Clara are on the east side, where it seems as if the customers might as well be wearing eclipse glasses for a safe view of the action on the field.

“I’m on the microwave side,” Madrigal said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “I’m on the walk-away-ten-shades-darker side.”

Madrigal did refer to the “sun issue” as a major problem, but he said he has no other significant complaints about Levi’s Stadium after experiencing the deteriorating conditions of Candlestick, as well as the lengthy hikes along a cramped concourse just to find an edible burger.

“I hear people complain about Levi’s – and there are complaints – but it’s just so much better than The ‘Stick,” Madrigal said.

Madrigal recalled the 49ers-Raiders game in 2011 that ended the annual preseason series.

In the Candlestick parking lot after the game, one man was shot in the face. In a separate incident, another man was beaten unconscious and when his friend tried to rescue him, he was reportedly shot four times. Madrigal witnessed another incident in the restroom that night.

“I saw a guy, huge man, smash another guy’s head against the bathroom sink,” Madrigal said. “I’m escorting my father out – a little old man. And I’m acting like I’m Secret Service. Mayhem everywhere.

“You want to be able to take your kids to the game. I’m a big Levi’s guy. There was a bad element at Candlestick after a while and it needed to go.”

Madrigal is a San Francisco native who grew up in the inner Sunset District and attended St. Ignatius High and the University of San Francisco. He now lives in Southern California and travels to the Bay Area for as many 49ers games as possible.

Madrigal, who spent six years as a correspondent on “The Daily Show,” might miss more games than usual this season. He was cast for a role in Kevin Hart’s movie, “Night School,” which is scheduled for an upcoming 30-day shoot in Atlanta with a release scheduled for next year.

Showtime recently renewed “I’m Dying Up Here” for a second season. Madrigal is a regular on the series.

He does his best to make sure business does not get in the way of his passion for the 49ers. Madrigal, an accomplished stand-up comedian, will appear at Kennedy Center in Washington on Nov. 18. It’s no coincidence the 49ers have a bye that weekend.

“It is insane, but it is by design when I get offered work, I do check a (49ers) schedule to make sure,” Madrigal said.

Madrigal said his distaste of the Seahawks has also prompted him to take a stand on ever again visiting or performing in Seattle.

“I will not go to Seattle under any circumstances,” Madrigal said. “I don’t care how much money people offer me. I will never, ever go to Seattle. . . . I will never perform in Seattle, and I will never go to that place.

“I used to go when they were not in our division. I think they’re horrible people. They paint their faces with neon when they added neon to their uniform. I think the whole 12th Man is bulls---. I just think it’s one of the worst fan bases in sports. I just can’t stand those people.”

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.