For Jason Carson, Sunday’s "Battle of the Bay," the face-off between the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, was his Super Bowl, since he does not expect his beloved Raiders to go far this season.
"It’s just fun to have these type of events in the Bay Area," the Alameda native said. "We know the two teams aren’t going anywhere so this is something to get amped up about."
Despite both teams having combined for only one victory and bringing three straight losing seasons into Sunday’s showdown, a sold-out crowd still braved bad traffic and long lines to get into Monster Park to support their teams. The parking lot was filled to capacity with tailgaiting fans dressed in helmets and waving their teams flags, who barbecued chicken and drank adult beverages before going to root their team on. The stadium’s parking lots can hold 8,000 cars, 300 buses, 200 limousines and 300 motor homes, according to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
For many, the game was about being able to say at least their team was the best in the Bay Area.
"This is for bragging rights," 49ers fan Terry Kadiver said. "The atmosphere is amazing. The fans are all dressed up and you can just feel the energy."
Alison Montez, a Raiders fan dressed in a Tim Brown’s jersey and a helmet without a face mask, said, "I still love my Raiders and any chance to watch them kick the 49ers’ [butts], I’ll be there baby."
Fans dealt with what they described as a traffic jam much worse than usual to get to the stadium. Kailie Ferrin said it took her almost three hours to get to the stadium from Tracy, a trip that usually only takes her two hours.
Outside the stadium, football fans seemed to be turning their energy toward other teams.
At the Fourth Street Bar and Grill, a lone 49ers fan was joined by a Raiders fan on business from Canada who watched the game on a small television. Next to them, a large group of tourists was busy watching the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys on the main screen.