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Seahawks Fans In Bay Area Brace For Inevitable Encounters With Niner Nation

by Carlos E. Castañeda
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Members of the Rodriguez family enjoy a 49ers Seahawks game at Candlestick Park. (Maria Elena Rodriguez)

Members of the Rodriguez family enjoy a 49ers Seahawks game at Candlestick Park. (Maria Elena Rodriguez)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – As the biggest game in the history of the rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks approaches, Seahawks fans in the Bay Area have been reporting an intense week of trash-talking.

“I get harassed by everyone,” said Pleasanton resident Briana Baxter. “It’s all in good nature. (49ers fans) take their five rings and team very seriously.”

Baxter and her husband Roger are Seattle-area natives who became transplanted to the Bay Area because of their careers. Both have been Seahawks fans since childhood and Baxter expects to hear plenty of anti-Hawk comments this week since she won’t be hiding her allegiances. “We’re not going to stop bleeding blue and green,” she said.

Seahawks fan Mary Diaz, DJ for CBS San Francisco sister station 99.7 [NOW!], said her listeners are aware of her affiliation. “It’s been a long week,” she said. “It’s been very interesting around here.”

Diaz and her husband have had to stomach an ever-increasing amount of smack talk. “We try not to talk to (family) this week,” said Diaz. “We try to limit Facebook access, not going on as often because I just don’t want to see all the Niner stuff.”

Concord native Tod Gomes knows all about it. Despite being born and raised in the East Bay, his current hobby is serving as president of the NorCal Sea Hawkers booster club.

The local chapter began in 2001 and prior to last December’s showdown at Candlestick Park the group gathered some 1,000 people at the Hard Rock Café at Pier 39, Gomes said.

Tod Gomes (PhotoHawk), president of the NorCal Sea Hawkers booster club. (todgomes.com)

Tod Gomes (PhotoHawk), president of the NorCal Sea Hawkers booster club. (todgomes.com)

Gomes, a professional photographer, began his work with the booster club when he and his wife stumbled upon it and found the organizer was dropping out and the chapter was looking to fold. “We couldn’t let that happen,’ said Gomes. “So my wife and I took over the local chapter.”

As to why Gomes became a Seahawks fan even though he grew up in the Bay Area? “ There were no left-handed athletes that I remember as a kid. I saw (Seahawks quarterback) Jim Zorn and said, ‘hey, he looks like me, a lefty.’”

“It stuck over the years.” It stuck so much that Gomes was among the ‘super fans’ inducted into the Pro Football Ultimate Fan Association in Canton, Ohio.

For Sunday’s NFC Championship, Gomes said Abbey Tavern at 4100 Geary St. in San Francisco will be the place where invading Seahawks fans will call their own.

Perhaps no family has more on the line this week than the Rodriguez family of Burlingame. Brothers Rafael and Gerardo, co-owners of Celia’s Mexican Restaurants on the Peninsula, are hardcore 49er fans. Their sister Patricia lives in Seattle with her husband and are both rabid Seahawks fans and season ticket holders. Meanwhile, Gerardo’s wife is from the Seattle area and also a Seahawks fan.

Throw in siblings and cousins on both sides, and when the 49ers and Seahawks play the squabbling gets epic, according to Rafael Rodriguez. “We get some real good family texts going back and forth … stuff I can’t repeat … a lot of smack talk,” he said.

For the title game, the siblings are headed to Seattle for a family reunion at Century Link Field and a high-stakes bet: Gerardo vs. his Seahawk fan brother-in-law, Sergio. Loser provides winner a Super Bowl trip for two, all expenses paid.

“It’s going to be an awesome time … .we will enjoy each other’s company up until game time,” said Rodriguez. “May the best team win – but I know it’s going to be the Niners.”

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