Edward Coble has only missed six home games in the past 60 years — that’s one per decade, as he points out. The 49ers’ first playoff game in nine years wasn’t going to be one of them.
For more photos from pre-game tailgating at Candlestick Park, click on the photo to the right.
The 86-year-old San Francisco native has been a 49ers fan for as long as that’s been possible. He went to his first game in 1946, out at Kezar Stadium, and has been a ticket-holder since 1951, since he could afford it.
A day at Candlestick Park has always been a family affair for Coble. Saturday, he came with his daughter and son-in-law, as well as his 7-year-old granddaughter, Kathryn Temple, to watch the Niners take on the New Orleans Saints in an NFC divisional playoff game.
“Once I start something, I stay with it to the end,” said Coble, who now lives in Walnut Creek.
That attitude runs in the family. Kathryn was so young the first time she attended a game — 4 months old — she didn’t even need a ticket.
She and her father tossed a football in the parking lot as the rest of the family looked on.
Amidst the rows of tailgaters, with their Smoky Joe grills smoking with meat and their stereo systems booming, another young fan was also warming up for the game.
Garrison Nakaji, 9, of San Jose played catch with his father. His younger sister sat in the back of the family’s pickup truck, watching their mother make signs to wave during the game.
“This is the first playoffs I’ve been in,” Garrison said.
It’s a big deal, Garrison said — a lot more people, much harder to find parking and a greater chance they’ll run out of hot dogs.