#12 of 31: Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

November 19, 2012


Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaThe Stick is a terrific old stadium, nestled against rolling hills close to the San Francisco Bay. Originally a baseball stadium finished in 1960, it became home to the 49ers in 1971. There is a campground directly across the street from the entrance and we were lucky enough to secure a two day camping spot against a wall looking up at the stadium.

Upon arriving, we filled Maybe’s windows with the 11 framed collages we have created - one for each team we have tailgated with - and put up our sign announcing that this game would be Number 12. We had already printed the website cards with the 49ers team colors that we would be giving out so the fans could find and download our photographs for free.


The 49ers vs the Bears was to be a night game, although here on the West coast, kick-off time is at 5:30. Game Day was beautiful, and since no one was allowed into the lots for tailgating until four and one half hours before game time, Bernie and I decided to walk along the San Francisco Bay shoreline in the State Park next door.  Birdwatching, a shared breakfast, potato-sausage casserole and football. “Who has it better than us?”1

Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

Back in the 80s, it was hard not be be a 49ers fan. Watching the games on TV when Steve and Ed Sabol were filming close-ups of Joe Montana’s eyes as he found Jerry or Dwight and threw the football was new thrill. Myths were being created on our little TV screens, we were watching living, thinking genius...so close... so amazing...before that I only liked football... With Joe and the NFL films, I loved it. The skill, the strength, the hits, the grinding toil, the no quit, the battle in the trenches... I still am in awe of the players.

I hope my love of the game will outlast the sickness I am beginning to feel at the physical and mental damage that is being done to the men who play the game. It is one thing to have aching joints, quite another to lose your mind.

Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

For this particular game both quarterbacks were out with head injuries. Alex Smith was out with a concussion, so Colin Kaepernick was starting for the 49ers. Jason Campbell was filling in for the concussed Jay Cutler of the Bears. (Former Bear’s QB, Jim McMahon, is dealing with early dementia.)

Tailgating was huge beside the bay. The fans were a warm and welcoming mix of many ethnicities. Again, as a child of the 60s, when I am part of a really mixed crowd, I feel I have entered a beautiful garden of humanity as it should be.

Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

From horizon to horizon there were cars parked, grills smoking, footballs being tossed and friends laughing, cheering and dancing. There were far fewer fan vans than we are used to seeing, but still there were some; including a few that were set up with fancy table cloths, china and Riedel Glassware.




Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaThe stadium area looked like a fortress surrounded by an encamped army...the sinking sun illuminating the smoke from their fires. There was a Bud LIght Pavilion, but the beverages of choice throughout the parking lots seemed to be white wine, Pinot Noir and Corona Beer. Grilled tortillas filled with all kinds of imaginative ingredients was the food most served, although there were plenty lobsters, crabs, steaks and burgers filling the air with delicious smells.


We walked around photographing friends and families until everyone started heading into the stadium.

People ask us why we don’t take more candids at the games. Well, whenever we show up with our cameras all the folks at the various tailgating parties start offering us food and drink... then they start gathering up every single friend and family member for a BIG group shot. It is so much fun, and we love doing it. Of course we also love the close-ups and candid portraits we are able to capture.

Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaWhen the parties were over, we walked back to our camper fixed ourselves a cocktail, Bernie grilled some steaks and we settled in to watch the Chicago Bears suffer a brutal defeat atthe
hands of the 49ers.

Tuesday morning, it was with some melancholy that we headed out past the vast, empty parking lot. Well, empty except for the thousands of gulls and ravens picking over the acres of trash.

Monday Night Football: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

San Francisco Fans, thank you, you could not have been more gracious.

Final: San Francisco 32, Chicago 7

1 An old family tradition, this is a cheer Coach Jim Harbaugh shouts to his 49er players at key moments. The players chant back, “Nobody.”

Hi P&B

I was there in the the early '70s for a baseball game and they had a
blackout that night. :>)  Real fun !



Cool.....always wanted to check out Candlestick.

Thanks Peg.


Happy Thanksgiving! Wow, up to stadium #12. That's awesome. How did your family on the East coast fare after Storm Sandy?

I just posted some new photos to my site. You can see hem here: Jeescapes.wordpress.com

Safe travels to you and and wait to hear a out stadium # 13

Jon E

I was at the Monday night game when the Bears @ 49ers.

I was the Asian guy with the scarf that said "Forever faithful" you guys are awesome going around the states to each game.


Hey, Andy. Thanks for the kind words. We are enjoying meeting all the fans. One thing, your return email address did not work. Good luck to you.


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