What It's Like as a Rival NFL Fan Living

December 21 [Fri], 2012, 8:50

Football fans stay fans for life, but occasionally in life, people move. Despite relocation, fans stay true to their hometown team. It must be difficult for a fan to remain loyal when living in rival or enemy territory. But with the San Francisco Bay Area home to both the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, there are plenty of rival fans around. Here's what a few of them had to say about what it's like to cheer for the other guys while living in the Bay Area.

St. Louis and San Francisco: Friendly Division Rivals ... For Now

Sam Herald, San Francisco resident since 1998 and St. Louis Rams fan, explained, "The Bay Area is an incredible place to live with a vibrant sports scene. The fans are, for the most part, very pleasant to be around. As an L.A. native, it has been pretty easy to be a fan of the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams mostly because of the lack of competitiveness of the two teams of the past few years. Though the 49ers are now a much more improved team, my dear Rams are still behind the times. For now, 49ers fans are mostly amicable, though it might change should both teams be on the same page in the coming years."

Raider Nation Friendlier Than Expected for This Broncos Fan

"Despite playing in the same division, the Raiders and Denver Broncos rivalry hasn't really been too heated since John Elway. I feel no fear or apprehension to wear a Broncos jersey out in public or even to Raiders games. There are a few football bars where I go to watch on Sundays, and it is easy to sit and share a beer with members of the Raiders Nation. Though on TV they look to be relentless fanatics, every Raiders fan I've interacted with has been a football comrade at arms," said Philip Monroe, a Denver Broncos fan who's lived in Oakland since 2003.

Relaxed Kansas City/Oakland Rivalry

"I get intense football fans. I know it's a very popular sport, but most of the fans I know are very casual. They watch games when they can but don't buy season tickets, don't go to any team events, and rarely sport their team's attire. The Bay Area is the same, no fault to them, but in Kansas City, everyone is a Chiefs fan. Here, there are Raiders and 49ers fans, but other than a few nuts at the games, it is a pretty relaxed fan base," said Jillian Reynolds, San Francisco resident since 1990 and Kansas City Chiefs fan. "I know Chiefs and Raiders fans are supposed to loathe one another, but until both teams start actually playing football well, I don't see an intense rivalry brewing anytime soon."

Rivalry Between Seahawks and 49ers Heating Up

"I love football, and I love the Seahawks. In my 10 or so years in the Bay Area, I've been to a few dozen football games, including all the matchups with the Seahawks. There are always some raucous fans, and I do get a few jabs from 49ers fans when I wear my jersey. All in all, football is football is football, and in the end, a good football game amongst enemies is far superior to a bad game with friends. Every time I see the 49ers and Seahawks play, the atmosphere is electric, and the games are competitive. I wouldn't turn that down despite being in hostile territory," said Paul Harris, a San Francisco resident since 1999 and Seattle Seahawks fan.