In an effort to curb unruliness at the primetime Week 2 matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle will have undercover police officers donning 49ers jerseys in the stadium to survey the crowd and ensure a safe environment for the fans in attendance.
The 49ers are no strangers to this technique for curbing poor fan behavior. Last season, the team adopted this measure for the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants. Members of the San Francisco Police Department dressed in Giants’ regalia to identify and stop abusive fans.
While it is unfortunate that the NFL and stadiums have to resort to these measures to ensure the safety of fans, this does point out the rising intensity of this rivalry between two of the top teams in the NFC. While stadium scenes across the nation have continued to intensify as a whole, the increasing atmosphere, competition and hatred between San Francisco and Seattle has helped renew this matchup into a major rivalry in the league. With just four NFL teams in the West Coast (San Francisco, Seattle, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers), the 49ers vs. Seahawks rivalry has brought a big game divisional rivalry back.
There have been many storylines added to this rivalry:
• A Madden NFL 25 commercial featuring quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson wagering a shaved eyebrow for the loser of the game.
• Over the summer, Volume 12, a Seahawks fan group, started to organize an effort to break the Guinness World Record for “loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium.” The current record is 131.76 decibels, set during a soccer match in Istanbul, Turkey. CenturyLink Field is often considered the loudest stadium in the NFL.
• In the days before the matchup, 49ers running back Anthony Dixon sent out a tweet referring to the Seahawks as “She-Hawks.” In retaliation of the slight, Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright sent out his own tweet, referring to the 49ers as the “forty whiners.”
The announcement of using undercover police officers in 49ers jerseys is just another added element to this highly anticipated matchup.
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
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Austin Chang is the Associate Editor of Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and RamsTalk. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang