This post was written by Jared Quan
Most fans know who the 12th man is, but surprisingly there are many who do not know. The 12th man refers to the advantage a team has when playing at home, because the way fans can alter the mood of a game. It can demoralize an opposing team, and it can cause the most seasoned ref to throw or even hold a flag.
The 49ers have one of the greatest 12th men of all time, and by far one of the most expressive. The deafening roar of the crowd as Frank Gore blasts through the defense for a long touchdown run sends chills through the defense and crushes their confidence. The brilliant noise created when the opposing quarterback waits under center, flusters play calling. The fans make up a literal presence on the field.
So what happens when the 12th man turns on the home team? Could a fan base really despise a home team so much, that it would pay to show up to heckle them? Not likely, and as far as 49ers fans go, defiantly not. Despite the lack of a playoff appearance in recent years, 49ers fans have Red and Gold running through their veins. However that being said, the 49ers fans like many others in the NFL would pay good money to show up to heckle a poor performance from a quarterback. After all 49ers fans have been spoiled with amazing quarterbacks, many NFL teams have yet to have lightning strike, let alone several times.
Even when only one player on the home team is the target of the 12th man, it discourages the rest of the team, emboldens the opposition, and ceases to offer influence on the officials. It levels the playing field for any team looking for a win at the 49ers home.
This season I put out this humble request to the 49ers 12th man, no matter how bad things get, offer the heckle of silence. Let me make this clear, I’m not saying like Alex Smith, I am saying keep the fire lit for the rest of the team, and have faith in Jim Harbaugh and crew.