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Friday Slide Show: Super Bowl City Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

5 February 2016

There's is no little irony in today's slide show. San Francisco is not this year's Super Bowl City. The game will be played in Santa Clara, 45 minutes south of here. San Francisco is just where the party is.

But a good chunk of San Francisco's precious real estate was cordoned off by the Host Committee to be Super Bowl City, a "free public fan village." Justin Herman Plaza, just across the street from the Ferry Building, is the place. It's been fenced in for the party -- even the cafes on lower Market St. and the public children's playground.

We dropped in last weekend to see what was going on. And we talked to a few other people who dropped in to see what they thought about it, too. And we all came to the same conclusion. Not much is going on at Super Bowl City.

At best, you can think of it as a sort of Comic-Con for football fans.

The real action for fans is at Moscone's NFL Experience, where a ticket costs $35 for adults and $25 for kids. You can see the Lombardi trophy, all 49 Super Bowl rings, kick field goals and chase NFL celebrities. The bling and the bums.

At the free Super Bowl City venue, all you can do is drink Bud Lite and stand in line for half an hour. Not much else, though. We counted only a handful of obscure activities like generating electricity on a bike (three at a time) and virtual reality quarterbacking (two at a time).

Most people passed the time like we did: taking photos.


But come to think of it, the NFL itself is not exactly on a hot streak. It fumbled the domestic violence issue, took a sack on the chronic traumatic encephalopathy issue and dropped the ball in the Rams/Chargers/Raiders shell game.

Actually, things haven't gone too smoothly in Santa Clara either.

The Bronco team buses collided into each other and the Levi Stadium grounds crew painted the Bronco logo in both end zones.

Back in the city, San Franciscans are more than a little put out by the league's demands for special treatment -- especially since the game will be played elsewhere.


That was settled when the once beloved San Francisco 49ers were yorked to Santa Clara in 2014. We refer to them now as the Santa Clara 14ers.

But we really should apologize to Santa Clara, which deserves better than the 14ers.

The York-owned team from Santa Clara is without peer when it comes to embarrassing itself and this week was no exception. But we'll just give one example.

It had to "tell the Girl Scouts that their scheduled May event at Levi's Stadium was canceled because the team just booked a lucrative concert for the date." When the San Francisco Giants offered its stadium to the Girl Scouts, the organization reconsidered, "announcing they would move the event back a week, guarantee that it wouldn't be moved again, and 'underwrite the entire cost.'"

Greed is an ugly thing. And Super Bowl 50, with its golden theme, blinds with greed.

So no one is surprised the 7,000 homeless in San Francisco are up in arms as they are suddenly being swept from the city's streets. It's as if the NFL wants the city to itself for a week. And no parking tickets either.


Our visit to Super Bowl City was disappointing but we quickly focused our attention on the real action: the people. That's what our slide show is about. The love of the game, the loyalty of the fans, the thrill of your team having reached the top of the mountain. We know what that feels like on both sides of the bay.

There was a prevailing innocence in Super Bowl City that warmed us even as the long dark chilly shadows of greed fell over the place.

So here's to the fans. Of all ages. For their loyalty if nothing else.

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