Robert Sanders isn’t your average 49ers fan. You may know him as “Tech49er” on Twitter, where like all of us here, he tweets about every moment of the season, the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly, too.
He doesn’t call the Bay Area his hometown, but he’s been a serious San Francisco fan as long as he can remember. Sanders was born in Tuscon, so he was hooked when the Niners came to town one Sunday.
“I just happened to catch the game, and I fell in love. Like from that moment forward, I just fell in love,” said Sanders. “It’s been almost 30 years. We were on the top my whole youth. We were just dominant.”
He lives in Redding now, so he’s a lot closer to his favorite team, but he still hadn’t been to a home game until 2021.
“I’m dead serious. I’ve seen them play in Carolina. I’ve seen them play in Miami. I’ve seen them play in Dallas. I’ve seen them play in Seattle. I’ve seen them play in New Orleans. I’ve seen them play down south at the Coliseum when the Rams were still at the Coliseum. And I saw them play in Arizona a lot,” said Sanders.
But never in the Bay for this superfan. Until the fall of 2021.
“I literally spent the entire weekend like this,” said Sanders as he dropped his jaw. “I was just in a state of shock the entire time.”
Getting to see his favorite team at home for the first time would make for a special season, but later on in the season, the Niners would become much more meaningful to Sanders.
It starts with Jaquiski Tartt and his jersey. You see, Tartt is Sanders's favorite player and has been since the team drafted the safety in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
“He’s gonna sack ‘em, he’s gonna attack ‘em, he’s gonna get hits,” said Sanders.
Sanders tried to find his jersey (and not for a wallet-breaking price) but to no avail. Finally, in April of 2021, Sanders found the Tartt jersey. But not long after, Tartt changed his number from 29 to 26 (and later to 3). That’s when Sanders took to Twitter to ask Tartt himself for help.
“He tweeted me back, and he said trust the process,” said Sanders. “I’m like, alright, I’ll trust it.”
The process was quiet until later on in the season.
“Right after the Cincinnati game, he messaged me,” said Sanders. “He’s like, ‘Hey, man. It’s about time we get you in that 3. What’s your address? What’s your size?’”
Quaski didn’t know this, but Sanders had lost his mom and grandma within a day of each other that very week.
“My mom died on Monday, my grandmother died on Tuesday. So I’m like, shook, you know, I’m torn up,” said Sanders. “Then he hit me with that.”
Sanders couldn’t believe it, he said it felt like a message from above.
“I’m like, ‘This is a total God thing.’” said Sanders. “I thought he was kidding. I’m like, “You don’t even know how much this means to me because this happened and that happened,’”
Last night he hit me back and asked for my address and size. I'm humbled beyond belief. After the week that I had, it gave me my first genuine smile I've had.— Tech49er (@Tech49er) December 14, 2021
The 49ers are chock full of the absolute best people on top of being players. @quaski, you are and will continue to be
Sanders passed along his information to Tartt and quietly waited. He didn’t hear anything until the following week when the Niners played the Falcons. Like usual, Sanders was on Twitter talking about the game when he got a message notification.
“I’m assuming it’s somebody from Twitter saying something they didn’t want to put on the timeline. So I pop over, and I’m like, ‘Nope, it’s Quaski.’ And he’s like, ‘I’m so sorry. I forgot to get that out to you this week.’”
Days later, he did receive the jersey — with a message. The jersey read “Thankful to have you as a fan” with this signature: a special message and an even more memorable moment.
“Last year was rough for everybody,” said Sanders. I think I was at the lowest; you know what I mean? And instantaneously, I was like a little kid dancing around.”
@quaski This is by far the best 49ers item I have! You sir are amazing and I can't thank you enough! Safety has always been the position I love the most and you are criminally underrated.— Tech49er (@Tech49er) January 4, 2022
Thank you again brother. I'll be watching on Sunday! #FTTB pic.twitter.com/8TzbHEoG72
After such a meaningful gesture — during a personally challenging time — from his favorite player, it’s safe to say Sanders is a Tartt fan for life.