Yahoo News asked big-time fans of the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens to send in photos that show the wacky and fanatic side of sports fandom. Here's one.
The San Francisco 49ers first offered me a vision with The Catch some 31 years ago. I watched and learned as a young team overcame six turnovers and sent America's Team down a forlorn trail. That connection cleared a run to dominance defined in equal parts by clutch play and cool swagger.
Four times in nine years, I saw the Niners grab the grand prize, not once disappointing upon reaching the Super Bowl during the 1980s. Then, after a four-year leave forced by stubbornly tough counterparts from the NFC East, Joe ceded to Steve, and Bill to George, setting up one more image of glory, Lombardi-etched with a 49-26 carving of the San Diego Chargers on Jan. 29, 1995.
I never thought in such an instant that 17 seasons would transpire before the reunion of the 49ers and championship football. True, last year offered more than a glimpse, but it painfully dribbled away.
Now that the team has scratched its way back, I picture a sealing of the deal, a regeneration of the get-there-and-get-it-done identity that spells trouble for the rest of the NFL, which is now on notice. I've seen this before.