The NFC West might be the toughest division in the National Football League.
I don't think I'm breaking any new ground with that take. The Seattle Seahawks are defending Super Bowl champions, the San Francisco 49ers are a year removed from winning the NFC and last season went to the NFC title game, the Arizona Cardinals are one of three remaining undefeated teams, and the St. Louis Rams....well, Jeff Fisher has an amazing mullet.
But when it comes to king of the NFC West in the Fan Fighting League, one city stands tall above the rest.
Nobody messes with San Francisco 49ers fans. Nobody.
I got to experience a Niner Fan in his natural habitat last fall when the Texans played in San Francisco, and honestly, you can probably take whatever you'd say about Oakland Raiders fans and just Mad Lib in Niner information (minus the face paint, the spiked shoulder pads and the irrational love for Kenny Stabler).
You'd think in an eclectic global mecca like San Francisco that 49ers fan would be a little more subdued, a little more "wine and cheese." Nope. Niner fans will jack you in the face with a sock full of pennies at the mere mention that Calvin Johnson might be the "next Jerry Rice."
In a way, the fashion in which the Texans lost last season in San Fran probably kept many traveling Texans fans from causing an incident. I mean, Schaub threw a pick six on the THIRD PLAY OF THE GAME. There was never even any time to talk shit. The game was over before it started.
And as you can see from the video below, that's probably a good thing, because 49er fan doesn't care if they're at home or if they head into your house and discard their manners at the door...whatever house they are in is their house.
We take you to Arizona this past Sunday for an NFC West FFL tussle between a bunch of Niner fans and a bunch of Cardinal fans, including one Arizonian who is a) shirtless and b) wearing an old-school Cardinals replica helmet.
He's fairly easy to pick out. Let's go to the footage...
And, as we do in this here Fan Fighting League, it's Zapruder time!
0:03 -- Our angle here comes from a few rows down and an obstructed view of the seeds of the dust-up being sown. One thing is abundantly clear -- the jersey choice of the Cardinals fans is Patrick Peterson. Unequivocally. There are at least three in plain view as the crowd begins to coalesce.
0:09 -- And THERE THEY GO. This is the downside to fighting near stairs. There may be multiple fan bases in any given fight, but near steps, there can only be one winner, and his name is "gravity."
0:12 -- One dude goes careening hard, back first, into the back of a row of chairs, and he doesn't know it, but he's thanking God for the amount of alcohol coursing through his veins right now. That's the exact same bump that shelved Shawn Michaels for four years during a casket match with the Undertaker back in 1998...
SAME. EXACT. THING.
0:14 -- Three seconds later, a crowd of at least four of these losers goes tumbling down the steps. This is where I wish both of these NFL teams still sucked because the low-hanging humor fruit about that play being "the best tackle by any 49er/Cardinal all season" is no longer in play. That blows! I need to step my game up!!
0:15 -- Also, look closely...there's HELMET GUY! With no shirt and a mask-less Cardinals helmet! Of course, he could use the mask right about now, since his face is about to get "elevator-videoed." (Ray Rice has spawned a new verb!)
0:21 -- Dude in Steve Young jersey is whaling on Helmet Guy, however, he's NOT a southpaw. That's how you know it's not the real Steve Young. Meanwhile, woman in a Patrick Willis jersey watches this clump of humanity tumble down another set of stairs. Keep in mind stairs in a stadium are all concrete. As Jim Ross would say, "That concrete HAS NO CONSCIENCE!!!"
0:24 -- If you look closely, Fake Steve Young and Helmet Guy go tumbling to the bottom of the steps, and beneath the hourly wage fellow in the ironically labeled "S.A.F.E." shirt, you can see FSY pounding Helmet Guy's head repeatedly on the bottom step as if it's a WWE turnbuckle. The only thing missing is the crowd counting each thump... "1!...2!....3!....4!..."
0:25 -- Now security and fans are hopping onto the donnybrook like a swarm of fire ants (if fire ants indeed loved Patrick Willis), including a couple of women, one in a Michael Crabtree (who may actually be tougher than the real Michael Crabtree) and the aforementioned Willis jersey.
0:26 -- Somewhere, Stephen A. Smith is like "SEE, I TOLD YA DEEZ WOMEN SHOULDN'T BE INSTAGATIN' DIS STUFF....HOWEVAH...."
0:31 -- Seriously, watch the left-hand side of this video. The two women in this shot are swinging harder than anyone! Meanwhile, a couple of Cardinals fans are reaching over the rail and grabbing people like this is some sort of attraction at the circus. "Hey Gus, do you want to go play the football toss?" ... "Nah, let's go over here to this game where we punch Niner fans!"
0:44 -- Okay, we are officially in bird's-eye-view mode for the rest of this video. Interesting. I believe this is the first fight we've shown from this angle in league history, which is good because it allows us to see the spattered blood on the steps! It appears as though the helmet on Helmet Guy did not perform its job satisfactorily.
0:48 -- Crabtree Chick actually fixes her hair in the middle of the tussle. My guess -- this is not her first bleacher fight.
1:01 -- Crabtree Chick is the star of this thing for me (other than Helmet Guy, who is somewhere in that mass of humanity sporting a crimson mask); she's now holding back a male and female Willis Jersey wearer the same way Andre the Giant would pin two jobbers against a turnbuckle back in the day.
1:04 -- Somewhere, Roger Goodell is forming a ten-person committee to examine this fight. He had no idea fans fight at games until he saw this video! He is horrified.
1:17 -- A lot of jostling as we get a few of the people walking along the concourse to add their two cents, including a fat dude in a Darnell Dockett jersey who tells Niner fans, "Not in my house."
1:28 -- Our cameraman is having some brief "hand over lens" issues. Sober up, pal!
1:34 -- There's funny, there's hilarious, then there's bald, white, jeans-wearing dude in a black Tyrann Mathieu jersey. That guy is on the scene now.
1:45 -- So what was once a clean floor now looks like a scene out of the season finale of CSI: Miami with smeared blood everywhere, spattered blood all over the back of the poor S.A.F.E. guy, and Helmet Guy's face looking like a bowl of turkey chili somewhere.
1:50 -- Quick glimpse, the guy holding fans back on the steps is actually wearing a Charles Woodson Raider jersey. When Raider Fan is the voice of reason, you know the shit went next-level here.
(NOTE: We get a replay of the crux of the fight at the 2:00 mark! Kudos to the video staff on that as well as the red border on this video, which gives it that special "big event" feel. The NFC West is still the mecca!)
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.