When it comes to stereotypes most of the outside world believes the feuding fan bases in the Bay Area are as different as night and day. The national media would have you believe that Raider Nation is a collective of rowdy hooligans while the 49er faithful are downing cheese and wine while politely cheering for their team on Sundays.
Now anybody that has actually attended games on both sides of the Bay knows that many of the perceptions of both support groups are far from true. Yes, there are enough of those other elements on both sides to help fuel some of the stereotypes but overall the opposite is usually the rule and not the exception.
This preseason the football world got a glimpse into some of the rowdy elements in the 9er fan base as the Battle of the Bay boiled over into some ugly incidents in the parking lot. That combined with a few reports of how Saints fan were treated last week has encouraged the NFL to beef up security at Candlestick Park for Sunday’s NFC Championship game.
Normally I’d use this a moment to point out how ignorant many members of the media have been in portraying Raider Nation when compared to the fans on the other side of the Bay. However the truth is every NFL fan base has these issues. It’s only now in the modern era of technology and social media that people who watch passively from their couch are finally learning about these problems.
For 49er faithful this is nothing new. There has always been a rowdy element in San Francisco. I can remember going to see the 9ers play the Rams as a kid and being exposed to things most normally associate with Raider Nation. So as far as I’m concerned the league is a dollar short and a day late on this topic as they are in addressing most security needs around the league.
So long as people continue to lean on stereotypes instead of actually getting to the meat these problems then we’ll keep seeing more and more incidents come to light. No matter the team or fan base, when you open the doors to 80,000 people on a Sunday, allow them to drink and then encourage them to cheer their team on passionately there will always be those that abuse the privilege, even among a wine and cheese crowd.