The rivalry between the 49ers and Seahawks is without a doubt at its most intense it has ever been since Seattle joined the NFC West in 2002. There is much animosity between the arch-rivals not only with the players on the field, but also with the fans in the stands, that Seattle cops will be wearing Niners gear at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night. They will be patrolling the stadium for rowdy fans that are looking to cause trouble.
The Seahawks made the announcement about the undercover cops on their website on Wednesday and detailed what would constitute removal from the stadium:
• Behavior that is unruly, disruptive or illegal in nature
• Intoxication or other signs of alcohol or substance impairment that results in irresponsible behavior
• Foul or abusive language or obscene gestures
• Interference with the progress of the game (including throwing objects onto the field)
• Failing to follow instructions of stadium personnel
• Verbal or physical harassment of opposing team fans
• Verbal or physical harassment of stadium guests and staff members
• Smoking or tobacco use on CenturyLink Field property
When I first read about this, I was not sure how to feel because this resembles entrapment. But, I guess if it can make the game more enjoyable for visiting Niner fans, than I can see the reason why the Seahawks felt the need for undercover cops. Anyone who has been to an NFL game, no matter the team or location, has likely experienced, directly or indirectly, unruly fans from the opposing team.
Trash talk between fans at NFL games is inevitable, especially between teams that are considered enemies like the Niners and Seahawks. Unfortunately, alcohol is usually involved when we see/read about fans getting into fights. But that’s no excuse. It’s sad that fans, drunk or not, take the love of their team to the level of violence because the person hates the other side so much.
Past history of fights between fans is nothing new, unfortunately. The 49ers no longer play the Oakland Raiders in the preseason because of fights during and after a game last year. In 2009, a Seahawks fan was sucker-punched in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf by two Niner fans. The fan had flown down from Seattle to attend the game.
So don’t be surprised if you see more of this with cops going undercover at NFL football games to stop fights between fans. But I wonder how the Seattle cops, assuming they are Seahawk fans, will feel wearing a Colin Kaepernick or Patrick Willis jersey.
Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin on the undercover cops at CenturyLink Field:
We have great fans. Our goal is to ensure a safe environment for all in attendance, including visiting team fans.