49ers

Official: 49ers fans steal violent stereotype from Raiders fans

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Official: 49ers fans steal violent stereotype from Raiders fans

It wasn’t all that long ago that everyone in the world knew that Oakland Raiders fans were the worst-behaved people on earth. That’s because Los Angeles Raiders fans were the worst-behaved people on earth, and before that Oakland Raiders fans were the worst-behaved people on earth.

So went the stereotype. For a good long while, the Raiders enjoyed the image – you fight us, you fight us all – and since many football fans typically need only a few drinks to believe any old martial crap they’re fed, those fans actually wanted to be part of the violent, stupid fun.

The crown (well, the garbage-bag hat), though, has been usurped by 49ers fans. They are now the worst by acclimation, and apparently getting worse by the day.

[RELATED: Four arrested following assault at Levi's, 49ers issue statement]

First, though, a disclaimer. Like any absolute statement, this is more wrong than right. Not all Raiders fans were violent intimidating brutes; most weren’t, in fact, but it only takes one idiot’s fist to hit you in the face for wearing the other team’s jersey while another is cheering him or her on to convince you. And if you pile enough incidents in one easy-to-sort heap, you get a stereotype.

The 49ers are now that team. If you’re wearing the jersey – the traditional red, the hard-to-find white, the tedious maroon, or the preposterous black – you’re guilty by purchase, because enough of your compatriots have precipitated or extended brawls, gang-ups and bathroom felonies to wreck all your reputations.

And no, it doesn’t matter that you’re likely just a fan who wants to get along, watch your team and get back to your normal lives. Just as you all used to be wine-and-cheese dilettantes back in the day, even though you might well have hated chardonnay and were lactose-intolerant. The latest episode, at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Los Angeles, merely adds to the unpleasant legend.

So what do you do? Well, for now, maybe you should retire the jersey – if not because you don’t want to be considered an antisocial criminal on the hoof, then because you don’t want to get punched yourself, or captured on cellphone and condemned by fashion choice. Now that the stereotype is on the other mannequin, maybe changing colors from Nike red to casual whatever is simply the way to go.

And what should the team do – other than throwing out new product line and calling it a day? Quintuple their efforts to change the jersey’s image, through better enforcement at the stadium, and through relentless indoctrination anywhere else. The Raiders did this seven years ago when their problem was, if anything, considered far worse, and since then incidents at the stadium have dropped considerably.

And if you're the city where all this fun happens? Well, Santa Clara's city council is considering several options, including more police at the stadium and halting alcohol sales after halftime. Councilwomen Lisa Gillmor and Teresa O'Neill have suggested they might be in for approval of the latter, O'Neill telling the San Francisco Chronicle, “I know they make a lot of money off of alcohol sales, but if people have an hour and a half (without alcohol) maybe they will cool down a bit.”

Of course, Santa Clara police chief Michael Sellers told the Chronicle he doesn’t foresee a second-half alcohol ban making much of a difference, so it's still on the team and its customers to undo the damage done by their fellow customers and brethren/sistren.

And of course, this will be the moment when you say, “That’s because nobody goes to Raider games” or “That’s because nobody wants to be a Raiders fan,” which will be snarky and convenient and elbow-in-the-ribs-to-your-pal lie. Fine. Say what you wish, because you think it wins you bro points with your pals. It’s still you that’s the thug by association now.

And that’s the point here ultimately. This is a cheap stereotype just like Raiders-fans-are-thugs was a cheap stereotype. It doesn’t have to be true to be a thing, it just has to be anecdotal enough, and the 49ers fan has reached that stage now. Red with three white stripes on each sleeve is now a call to rumble, whether you’re wearing Charles Haley or Joe Montana or Steve Young or Jerry Rice or Patrick Willis or Frank Gore or Ronnie Lott. And no, they’re not particularly proud of you for dragging their names into this.

If you don’t want to be that guy, be the change. Don’t wear your jersey, or if you must, go out of your way to not be an ass to a guy in another jersey. Give ‘em a brat off your grill. Buy ‘em a bevvie. Have your kid play catch with their kid. It may not make for the proper ferocious heading-out-to-battle theme, but you’re not heading out to battle. You’re eating, drinking and yelling at large men who can barely hear you. In fact, your team isn’t heading out to battle either. Soldiers head out to battles. Football players, well, play.

And if you don’t want to own that team, work a lot harder to separate your jersey from random stupid violence. Over-usher and security-guard at the stadium, and have them move about in visible groups. To be sure, call the Raiders and ask the person responsible for changing their team’s image, “How did you do it?” It took awhile, trust me, and a lot of people didn’t buy it, but the Coliseum, upholstered port-a-potty though it might be, is still a hell of a lot safer than its newer concrete cousin down the 880. Ingress and egress still stink, but it stinks in Santa Clara too, because teams haven’t yet caught on to the funneling-everyone-into-one-line-just-pisses-people-off theory of crowd management.

But a start is that, a start. Retire the jersey you bought, at least for awhile, as a way of saying, “I can start with me,” or figure out ways that the jersey can mean something other than “I’m going to kick your ass or you’re going to kick my ass but either way this is going to be bad.” Raiders fans did it. You want to keep up the rivalry? Beat them at that one.

 

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

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49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

UPDATED: The 49ers announced Monday morning that Joe Staley has accepted a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. He will replace Dallas offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

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Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the all-star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced last month.

Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

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Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

BOX SCORE

PHILADELPHIA -- Hey Philly, maybe it's time to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles' first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.

Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.

His best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.

In doing so - helped greatly by the Eagles' domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson - Foles ruined the Vikings' hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium

Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.

OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia's defense looked confused on the play.

That didn't happen again for Philly.

Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson's 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.

Inspired, Philly's D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.

Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.

It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.

A blown coverage - another rarity for Minnesota - on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott's 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.

DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting "We want Brady."

They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.

BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.

QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott's field goal to end the half.

THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league's best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.

NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

With the entire stadium singing "Fly Eagles Fly" during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4