49er fans move past Candlestick Park era and prepare for NFC title game 

click to enlarge 49ers fans
  • Jessica Kwong/The S.F. Examiner
  • San Francisco 49er fans celebrate their team's victory over the Carolina Panthers at Eastside West Restaurant and Bar in the Marina district.
Despite the possibility of playing one more game at Candlestick Park shattered the day before, the San Francisco 49ers triumphed over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday to earn another berth in the NFC Championship.

The New Orleans Saints’ loss on Saturday had sent the Stick officially into retirement and the Niners to enemy turf against the Seattle Seahawks , but 49er fans cheered forward full of faith with the 23-10 victory.

Amid “Who’s got it better than us? Nobody!” chants and champagne showers at Eastside West Restaurant and Bar in the Marina district, San Francisco resident Pat McKenna took off his shirt and spun it around his head, light-heartedly mocking the Petey Pablo song “Raise Up” in support of Carolina.

“We beat Carolina, so in San Francisco we showed up, we raised up and our helicopter beat your helicopter,” said McKenna, 27, tweaking the lyrics. “I put my shirt back on because the bouncers gave me two warnings.”

New Orleans native Harold Wilson, 51, joyously beat a bass drum with his “Candlestick Gumbo Kazou Band” formed ad hoc at the final Candlestick game on Dec. 23, but couldn’t help but lament about the Saints’ missed opportunity on Saturday.

“I’ve been here for 32 years and been to four championship games and was praying at the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge that the Saints would win,” he said. “Because it would have been very important to have a game in 2014 to send Candlestick out in a winning fashion.”

Knowing the Stick would not open its doors to the 49ers one last time was “bittersweet,” said San Francisco resident Anton de Leon, 26.

However, he said many fans had already bid farewell and felt there was a “very small chance” the Seahawks would lose and create that opportunity because “they’re just way too good.”

Of the Seahawks’ dominating 23-15 win, San Francisco resident Sean Cassidy, 27, said: “The Saints didn’t have a chance, which makes me nervous, but we’re playing out of our mind right now and we can beat anyone.”

Odds makers in Las Vegas named the Seahawks as the early three-point favorites for next Sunday afternoon’s game at CenturyLink Field.

“I don’t think it’s ideal that we’re facing the Seahawks in their home stadium,” said San Mateo resident Nancy Reyes at Greens Sports Bar on Polk Street. “But we won there before.”

The Niners last defeated the Seahawks in Seattle on Dec. 24, 2011 in the regular season, but their two subsequent losses have been blowouts.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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