Super Bowl Berth Could Help 49ers Gain Fans In Raiders Territory
The Raiders' decision to leave the Bay Area for Las Vegas leaves the NFC champion 49ers to "reign as the lone West Coast team between Seattle and Los Angeles and in prime position to annex the East Bay, which has for years been enemy territory clad in black-and-silver," according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Making inroads into Raider nation "won't be easy," as Raiders fans are "among the most fiercely loyal" in the NFL. Still, the 49ers' ascendancy to Super Bowl LIV is "likely to draw some fans who just want to watch a winner." The Bay Area is "filled with transplants seeking Silicon Valley riches -- and maybe a local team to root for." But 49ers CMO Alex Chang said the team will "never try to convert Raiders fans." At the same time, Belson notes there will be an "expansion of 49er charities in the East Bay," as the franchise will "invite more East Bay school children to its science and technology programs and expand its free flag football programs." Those efforts "are not necessarily designed to sell tickets, but represent a kind of soft-sell to bring residents in the entire Easy Bay closer to a team more associated" with S.F. (N.Y. TIMES, 1/20).
IMPACT ZONE: USA TODAY's Nate Davis writes some were "laughing at the Niners three years ago," when they "lured John Lynch out of the broadcast booth to give him a six-year deal to be their general manager." Now though, only Lynch, who "deserves an extension, should be laughing" (USA TODAY, 1/20). In San Diego, Tom Krasovic writes under the header, "John Lynch Back In Super Bowl, This Time As GM Of 49ers" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/20).
LONG TIME COMING: THE RINGER's Danny Heifetz wrote a Super Bowl LIV victory "could launch" Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes into "living legend status." It also could "redefine" coach Andy Reid's legacy, and "bring the Chiefs franchise full circle a half-century after their last championship" (THERINGER.com, 1/19). In K.C., Pete Grathoff notes Norma Hunt, widow of late Chiefs Founder Lamar Hunt, has "attended every single Super Bowl," and her record streak will "continue (54 and counting)" in Miami. For the first time since the AFC champion's trophy was named for Lamar Hunt in '84, it "has a place" in K.C. Chiefs Chair & CEO Clark Hunt yesterday said, "It's a tremendous day for our family and to see my mom get to hold and kiss this trophy really means a lot" (K.C. STAR, 1/20). YAHOO SPORTS' Terez Paylor wrote under the header, "50 Years Of Doubt, Frustration Vanished For The Chiefs As Patrick Mahomes Seized His AFC Crown" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/19).