clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What is your favorite memory from watching the 49ers on the road?

The 49ers have fans all around the world. Today, we share our favorite memories from when we watched the team away from home.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

One of the many characteristics that makes the 49ers fanbase such a special group of people is the way that they show up for their team on the road. Whether it is a game in Southern California, or even one that is south of the border, you can count on a sea of red and gold accounting for a sizable portion of the audience in attendance.

While Levi’s Stadium is incredible in its own right, there is something so special about heading into an opponents backyard decked out in your favorite teams’ gear to watch the game from an unfamiliar venue.

Beyond the excitement that stems from the game itself, it also provides a wonderful opportunity to experience things another city might have to offer. Maybe it's cuisine that draws you in. Perhaps a memorable meal at a local hole in the wall that leaves you yearning for a trip back.

No matter what the ultimate motivation might be, there are so many reasons that every NFL fan should take the opportunity to circle a road game on the calendar if they can do so.

Which begs the question for those who have already done so, what would you say is the best experience you have had watching your beloved 49ers play on the road? Are there any particular stadiums or cities you would recommend to the fans who haven’t had a chance to attend a road game yet? Anywhere you would avoid?

I’ll share one of my experiences traveling to watch this football team that we all hold so near and dear to our hearts. Now, this might come across a bit blasphemous to the devout 49ers fans out there, but I say this with the utmost sincerity and cannot understate just how emphatic I am about what I am about to tell you.

EVERY 49ers fan who is able should plan to watch them play the Seahawks in Seattle at some point. Yes, the house of horrors that has proved to be the setting for some of the greatest heartbreak of this generation of 49ers football is something you have to behold with your own two eyes.

Look, I always thought the home field advantage and crowd noise yada yada yada was all over blown and exaggerated a bit. Passionate fans who get loud when their team is doing well? That is the norm for the majority of sports teams, I thought. Guess what? I thought wrong.

For starters, the crowd noise thing is not hyperbolized in the slightest. In fact, I’d argue it is actually a bit undersold based on how damn loud that place actually gets in the heat of the moment on game day.

I love and embrace an ear-piercing level of noise from any crowd in any sport, it’s part of what makes the fan experience so great. After one quarter in that stadium, I felt like I had a hard time listening to my own thoughts. The closest thing I could equate it to be sitting directly beneath a jet engine for the better part of three hours.

Now full disclosure, my own experience in this venue is also propped up by the fact that I not only saw a 49ers win, but one of the most memorable 49ers wins of all time.

It was late December in 2019, and the 49ers were on the verge of winning their first division title in over half a decade. Funny enough, I got a call one day from my buddy Steve, who is a devout Seahawks fan. Steve asked me what I was doing that upcoming Sunday, to which I replied, “working, most likely”. I was working at a restaurant at the time and as someone whose livelihood was dependent on tips, it was a day I mostly tried to work every week as it was typically our busiest.

Steve then asked If I wanted to go to the game on Sunday. Which was logistically more difficult than I am used to because it was being played in Seattle rather than the short walk to Levi’s I was accustomed to. I had watched dozens of 49ers games at Candlestick and Levi’s over the years, but I had never seen them play outside of California.

Being a Seattle local himself, Steve had secured the ability to get a pair of tickets at a price that we could realistically afford, which was much easier said than done heading into that game. The ball was in my court at that point.

So on a whim, I booked a plane ticket and a hotel on a couple of days notice, and took a 6 AM flight to the pacific northwest to see my beloved 49ers play. Not just any team, the one that had ripped my heart out repeatedly over the last decade, with a chance to lock up the division and the 1 seed in the NFC.

In the lead up to this monumental matchup between these hated rivals, I happened to luck into the rare beautiful winter day in downtown Seattle. Hours before kickoff, I got to spend some time with friends on the waterfront, ate some good food, and had some good laughs. At the end of the day, what more could you ask for in life?

Well, that day I happened to ask for a bit more than that because I couldn’t even fathom walking out of that stadium with anything less than a 49ers victory. Luckily, fate was on my side that day. I watched Dre Greenlaw stonewall Jacob Hollister on the goal line to stop Seattle inches short of another soul crushing defeat at the hands of a team I had seen do this over and over again.

There are few moments in my lifetime where I felt as hopeless as I did, watching what I could only surmise to be yet another last-minute comeback led by Russell Wilson. I had seen this movie 1,000 times before, and on the 1001st time it would come sitting right next to a die hard Seahawks' fan who would never let me hear the end of it.

I was born in 1995, so keep that in mind when I tell you that in my lifetime I’ve been able to see some fantastic 49ers wins in person. The Saints game in the divisional round in 2011. Colin Kaepernick running all over the Packers in 2012. Raheem Mostert also ran all over the Packers in the Playoffs. Navorro Bowman’s pick at the stick to close out that legendary venue.

I take great pride and cherish the fact that I was able to attend all of these memorable games. Only one of those games could hold a candle to the feeling I had walking out of that Stadium on a clear Seattle night. Pure elation coursed through my veins as I walked through Pioneer Square with a smile that I’m not sure if I have been able to replicate since.

At that moment, I felt like I was on top of the world. Even better, there were so many incredible 49ers fans in attendance who were there to exchange jubilant greetings with, or an electric high five in passing.

For one night, Seattle was red and gold. No matter how many times I have re-watched that game on television, there is nothing in that broadcast that could have elicited the same level of pure joy that I felt on that night.

Often times, it feels like the whole “you just had to be there” is an overused saying that doesn’t apply the way it would imply. Not that night, however. Not that game. It is a memory that I will treasure for the rest of my days.

So, the moral of this entire summary, which I apologize for being long-winded, is that if you are able to go see this team play in another city, take that same leap I did. You never know what kind of adventure could be awaiting once you take that plunge.

One thing you can be certain of, however, is that wherever your destination may be, there are going to be a lot of other passionate 49ers fans ready to walk into the lion's den with you. That is a bond I never could truly appreciate until I lived it myself, and it is something I unequivocally recommend that anyone who is a fan of this team should experience for themselves if the opportunity presents itself.

What's your favorite memory of watching the 49ers on the road?