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Sights and Sounds: Skins vs Niners

When I booked my flight to San Fran for the holidays two months ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think this game would end up being meaningless. So it goes and the Skins lost. However, as it is with any road game, I met some amazing people and uncovered some great stories. My sister and I arrived at Candlestick Park at 10:30AM. Scalping is always my preference for games, and I expected this game to be an absolute cake walk. I arrogantly took out only $140 from the ATM to get 2 lowers, expecting to pay approximately $40 per ticket. Turns our there were NO tickets anywhere. I ran into 1 scalper who had 2 50-yard lines for $130 per...and that was after I hammered him to death. There were signs EVERYWHERE people looking for tickets. "Oh shit."



We had friends meeting us at the tailgate and as I waited to waive them in I started chatting with some Skins fans. Turns out one of them, Tony, is Portis's best friend from Mississipi. He told me he had 2 extra tix at Will-call, which he was on route to pick up, and I could have them. Talk about a jack-pot! We walk to will-call, and they only had 2 tix for him, not 3. Damn. So he gave me the 1 extra, and I scalped a nose-bleed for my sis for $40. Walking back from will-call Tony got a call from CP's Mom, and after talking to her, he told me that he most likely wouldn't be using the seat next to mine. Jackpot. Two 40-yard line tix 10 rows up. We never had a problem the whole game. Candlestick was sold out and packed. Lots of Skins fans as well.

So that's how I got in. We all know Candlestick is old, but on a scale of 1-10 of being a dump, it's an 11. I have never seen a stadium before where when you walk in, you have to take an escalator UP to get to the LOWER level. Bizzare.

Sitting next to my friend and I was Manny (far left), Andre Carter's agent. I tried to get anything I could out of Vinny and Snyder's negotiating tactics, but it came out dry. In fact, Manny said he never even negotiated with Vinny, it was all done with his assistant, which I found very odd given the high amount of cash for this contract.

Post game I walked around my tailgate and found some great stories. The majority of the Skins fans I met were local Californians that became Skins fans basically because they liked the colors and logo, and now they are die-hard fans.

Roger has been a Skins fans since 1968 and has the Skins forearm tattoo to prove it. Roger and Esta have 6 kids and 19 grand kids ... yet somehow only 1 grandkid is a Skins fan. Roger told me he wasn't one to impose team loyalty as is seen with his wife, a die-hard Niners fan.

Ed (in poncho) and Chris (helmet) who hail from San Jose fell in love with the Skins from the play of Chris Hamburger, who they clearly remembered being a hard-working player and missing his front teeth. Oddly, Ed's father was a Steelers fan and as a kid, Ed saw the Skins colors and logo and said "I like this" and from that point forward has been a Skins fan. His Dad never blinked a second. When I asked what if his son wanted to be a Cowboys fan...Ed replied, "Hell no!!! Wont happen." Cheers to that. Amazing tacos at this tailgate.



The names past me, but he was originally a Fairfax native and moved to Cali 10 years ago. His girlfriend was never a football fan before, but here they are waiting for the players to exit post-game.

And lastly, my favorite story. Meet Mike and Mikey from Bakersfield, CA. Every year, every game they go to the same pizza place to watch the Skins each week. Mikey's birthday was December 21st, and as a present Mike gave him a box of pinto beans. When Mikey unwrapped his 14th birthday gift, he was confused. His dad told him to dig deeper, and buried below were 2 lower-level tickets for the Skins-Niners game on the 40-yard line. Mikey began crying as he now realized he would be going to see his first Skins game. With all the emotion his Dad began crying. They already have plans to travel down to the Skins/Chargers game next year.



Too bad the Skins Offense laid another egg....but as I told all the taunting Niners fans on the way out, 'It just means we have a better draft pick." And of course, "Congratulations on what, you're 3rd win of the year? Hopefully you can draft another Alex Smith."

All in all the Niners fans were awesome. I had at least 8 people come up to me and give "props" for my Sean Taylor jersey. It's amazing to see how much respect Sean continues to get, even from West Coast teams that never had to play against him often.