Dennis Brown on Bandwagon Fans and Rivalry

Dennis Brown is in town this weekend, to witness his daughter's graduation from college. The former Husky defensive tackle lives in the Bay Area these days, working as a commentator for his former NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers.

"When I got off the plane here in Seattle, I had my San Francisco hat on because I always represent," Brown said. "My first stop was a Starbucks. And the young lady said to me `you know you can't wear that hat around here.' I said really? Why not? And she said, `Because we won the Super Bowl!' And I said, is that right?"

With the NFL season little more than two months away, both the Puget Sound and Bay Area are buoyed by high expectations. But the 49ers have something the Seahawks don't —a sustained history of winning. One byproduct of Seattle's Super Bowl glory has been a region now teeming with bandwagon fans.

"I was going to say something, like we have won a few Super Bowls ourselves," Brown said. "But then I have to bite my tongue and remember that the last Super Bowl that the 49ers won, I was in it. And that was in 1994. [The 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26 on January 29, 1995].

"But the bottom line is that the Seahawks won last year and now the 49ers need to get back there. And I have remind myself that some people, like that young woman at Starbucks perhaps, don't even know that the 49ers have won 5 of those things.

Throughout Brown's trip, he's seen evidence of the 12th Man. 

"This town has embraced the rivalry," Brown said with a chuckle. "They love it. And in the Bay Area, they love it too. I talked to a guy on Facebook who said he gave up drinking Starbucks coffee. And there are people that won't use Microsoft products in their office. It's a rivalry, and everything the 49ers have done in the off season is based on how are we going to compete against the Seahawks.

"It's hard to tell a bandwagoner to get some perspective," he said. "[Some Seattle fans say] `we're the greatest team and we're a dynasty now.' But like I say in the Bay Area on the radio,  you can talk all you want when you win the Super Bowl. I tell people all the time that Richard Sherman can talk all he wants because he was definitely the best cornerback in the NFL last season. He had a great play against us that took us out of the Super Bowl, so he has the leverage to talk as much as he likes. That's what the off season is all about. But when the season starts, it no longer means anything."

The 2014 schedule for the Seahawks has several exciting games on tap. This includes September home tilts against Green Bay, Denver and an October matchup against Dallas. But the big build up will be for Thanksgiving Night, November 27th, when Seattle travels to San Francisco for a showdown that will have millions of Americans transfixed.   

"If you look at the San Francisco 49ers on paper, they should be competing for a championship again," Brown said. "And the Seattle Seahawks have set the bar. For about 80 years, San Francisco's main rivalry was with the Rams. But now it is with the Seahawks. Everybody loves it. And the NFL loves it too. Because Thanksgiving night! If the season is going the way we think it will, that's going to be something. And then two weeks later the 49ers come up here to Seattle.

"This is going to be fun."