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The Game Experience from an Out of Town Raider

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This recounting of the Raider fan experience on the mayhem filled night at Candlestick came to me via Saint. And it came to him via Matt S. from the East Coast. So thanks to Matt S., whoever or wherever you are.

As an out of town Raider fan, I found good company by Gate 4 in the Candlestick Stadium parking lot. Silver and Black strongly accented the sea of red outside the stadium. There was taunting and chanting throughout the tailgates, though mostly harmless. My two companions and I, fully decked out in Raider gear, were embraced by the Raider faithful. Beers in hand, we strolled through the lot slapping hands and shouting out to members of Raider Nation. Shirts with slogans such as "F*** the Haters" and jerseys of former Raider greats were in abundance. Throughout the various lots, Raider and 49ers fans could be seen interacting amicably and couples together were often sporting opposing jerseys. The line to enter the stadium was no different, with fans of both sides playfully "jabbing" at their counterparts with harmless chants and chatter of the opposing team's deficiencies. Jump over for more....

Once inside the stadium, following the opening kickoff, things got a little more heated. Vicious verbal statements replaced the harmless chants of the pregame tailgates. Sitting on the visitor's side of the stadium, behind the Raider bench, many of these statements were directed at the players. While verbal confrontations between fans could be heard in the sitting sections, the crudest interaction between opposing fans took place in the bathrooms where attendants were out of earshot. I counted no less than five physical altercations in the stands around the stadium, all ending with a swarm of police officers and the perpetrators being taken away in handcuffs.

The scene in the parking lot following the game was utter mayhem. Rowdy 49ers fans shot off fireworks into the sky while countless altercations ensued. The lot was full of police officers and riddled with sirens and flashing lights. Although I would not find bout until later, our car was parked in the lot where a Raider fan was shot; the report made headlines on espn.com the following morning. On the way out, we actually passed the bus from which the suspect had been pulled off; police vehicles and personnel had surrounded the bus and about ten individuals were on their knees lined up against the bus with the hands behind their head.

In spite of all this, there was never a point during the day/evening at which I felt unsafe or threatened. My interaction with 49ners fans consisted of harmless verbal exchanges. Not to mention I felt right at home with Raider Nation. Although we had a rather poor on-field showing, I was proud of our fans for rolling deep to the battle of the bay. Plus, getting a nod and point from our rookie phenom Denarius Moore after the game ended made me feel like a little kid again.