The rivalry between the Seahawks and 49ers has gotten even more heated after the airing of a new commercial featuring San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and brutish fans made to depict Seattle's 12th Man as a bunch of animals.
The commercial for Dr. Dre's headphone company Beats by Dre, aired during Sunday's game between the Hawks and Niners. It shows Kaepernick arriving on a team bus into enemy territory. Nothing says Seattle, but it's clear that's what's intended as rain falls and angry fans clad in Seahawks colors scream at the bus while waving signs ripping the QB.
One guy gives the middle finger to Kaepernick while others surround the bus and pelt it with debris. Another throws a beer cooler at the front window and cracks it. And at one point, a fan seems to be urinating on the side of the bus.
All the while, Kaepernick merely smiles and then puts on his headphones, drowning out the rabid crowd as he smugly saunters past them into the stadium.
A lot of Seattle fans are calling for a boycott of the company because of the spot. And the guy known as Seattle's biggest sports fan says he's furious at the way the 12th Man is being portrayed.
"How can they do this to Seahawks fans? We're not the bad guys of the league," says Big Lo, the big guy you always see at Seahawks games holding up a Sea-Fence sign, in an interview with KIRO Radio at Night.
Big Lo admits the 12th Man can get a bit "persnickety" with opposing fans, but insists they'd never do anything as dirty as portrayed in the commercial.
"It's just the fact that it depicts us as bad people. Our fans are not that way. Our fans are pretty positive for the most part," he says.
Clearly, not everyone agrees. And there's no doubt civilized Seattle is getting a reputation around the league. Breaking the Guinness World Record for crowd noise twice will do that to you.
"I think Seahawks fans, we see ourselves here in Seattle as an intelligent, laid back, friendly city. We're nice fans, we're just excited about the team," says KIRO Radio guest host Chris Cashman. "But I think we have gotten to a point where much of the country sees us as the villain."
There's little doubt, if the Kaepernick commercial is any indication. Even though Big Lo doesn't like being depicted in such a negative light, he admits he's OK with the 12th Man at least getting a bit of a reputation for rowdiness, especially since the team backs it up on the field.
"We've never been able to be a cocky team and I like this. I like the attitude these guys have," he says. "I think this is a team that is starting to get hated on because they're good, they're talented, and they're deep. And that's the best part of this."
Still, you can be certain Lo and a lot of other 12's won't be buying Beats by Dre this Christmas. If the 49ers come back to Seattle for a playoff game, it'll be interesting to see how Seahawks fans welcome Kaepernick and crew that time.