So it's a bummer that the Bears weren't in the Super Bowl. Again. But there still were fans in Chicago with plenty at stake.
RedEye sent Jack Silverstein (@readjack) to Ravens haven Fizz Chicago and Ryan Smith (@ryansmithwriter) to 49ers stronghold Cheesie's. They captured the supreme joy and bitter agony of Super Bowl Sunday from each perspective. Here are the highlights, in reverse chronological order.
12:52: The Ravens extend their lead with a field goal.
@readjack Red Socks Girl watching thru her fingers. Frothy Ed Reed leading cheers at the bar. Bad nervous.
9:57: Colin Kaepernick sprints in for a 15-yard Niners TD. But the Ravens still hold a 2-point lead.
@readjack It's getting tense over here... RT @jonmhapp Gotta love @readjack 's live tweeting of his SB experience at the bar.
@RyanSmithWriter Just when I thought it couldn't get louder at @CheesiesChicago. amazing.
@readjack Ravens fans getting the jitters. “Shut the [bleep] up Phil Simms!” shouts guy not crazy about farming.
@RyanSmithWriter The “[bleep] the Ravens” chant has started at @CheesiesChicago
@readjack Hearing some “M-V-P!” chants here at Fizz for Anquan Boldin. 6 catches, 104 yards, 1 TD... and counting...
4:19. Another Ravens FG. The Niners need a TD, or it’s Baltimore’s party.
@readjack Red Socks Girl not looking nearly as comfortable. She's clapping, but only has one or two claps in her before she goes back to prayer hands.
@RyanSmithWriter First and goal! Emotions running wild at @CheesiesChicago from Lucas Sullivan of Logan Square.
@readjack Horrible shrieks at Fizz, like children finding a body in their basement. Ye gods man, when will it end!
1:46: Niners fail on 4th and goal. Will that do it?
@RyanSmithWriter Despondence! It got quiet again @CheesiesChicago from shocked Niners fans
@readjack Fizz exploding in celebration! Dieter held his hands in the air in glorious disbelief while Frothy Ed Reed hugged everyone in the bar.
The Niners’ last-ditch effort on a punt return is thwarted.
FINAL SCORE: Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31
@RyanSmithWriter Lots of hugs and tears right now among Niners fans. I should let then mourn in peace. I'm out!
@readjack And it's over! Red Socks Girl grinning from ear to ear. All I Do Is Win now playing.
14:49: Jones runs back the second-half kickoff 109 yards for a TD. Niners are in DEEP trouble now.
@RyanSmithWriter A “Lets go Niners” chant at Cheesies turns into groans as the Ravens run one back.@readjack Big cheers at Fizz as play resumes. “DE-FENCE! clap-clap” 13:22 to go in the 3rd quarter... lots of football left...
7:20: Michael Crabtree hauls in a TD pass for the Niners.
@RyanSmithWriter The mood just got 200 percent better at @CheesiesChicago with that TD.
5:05: Frank Gore rushes in for a 6-yard Niners TD. Epic comeback coming?
@readjack: Ravens fan: “What did I tell you man? What did I tell you!” He pauses. “We're fine. It's fine.”
4:10: Niners recover a Ravens fumble.
@RyanSmithWriter [Bleep] just got real at @CheesiesChicago with the last TD. This place exploded.
@readjack Air just zapped from Fizz with that fumble. Red Socks girl has her hands over her mouth.
3:10: Niners kick a field goal. They’ve scored 17 straight points.
@readjack Ravens fan: “Whatever. The momentum is still... ya know, we got it.” #redeyesb
@RyanSmithWriter Suddenly, the David Akers shirt is way more popular at @CheesiesChicago
SCORE: Baltimore 28, San Francisco 23
13:22: Phil Simms is cut off midsentence. That’s because the lights are out at the Superdome, leading to a 35-minute delay.
@readjack These lights could use some deer antler spray.
@RyanSmithWriter Not even an extended power outage can stop the conga player at @cheesieschicago
@readjack Big cheers at Fizz as play resumes. “DE-FENCE! clap-clap” 13:22 to go in the 3rd quarter... lots of football left...
It’s all about Beyonce … until Destiny’s Child shows up!
@readjack Kelly & Michelle reminded that Beyonce didn't like it enough to put a ring on it. #destinyschild
@RyanSmithWriter It's safe to say that Beyonce is moving better than the Niners secondary.
@readjack Girl just walked over to me. "So, are you a 49ers fan?" she said delicately.
@readjack "No. I'm a Bears fan." "Oh I see." She looked suspicious. "I notice you have red socks, that's why I'm asking." Damn, they're serious.
@RyanSmithWriter Niners fan Eva demands to be tweeted. "I'm wearing gold pants!" She says her dog is named after Patrick Willis.
@RyanSmithWriter "Rip his head off!" Says a Niners fan about Joe Flacco. That seems a little extreme.
12:04: Niners RB LaMichael James fumbles, Baltimore recovers.
@RyanSmithWriter: It got real quiet in @cheesieschicago after that fumble. Too quiet.
7:15: Joe Flacco hits Dennis Pitta for a 1-yard TD.
@RyanSmithWriter Niners fans are looking nervous after going down 14-3.
@readjack The fumble and Pitta TD damn near crashed my computer! Frothy Ed Reed & Dieter worked the entire bar, distributing high fives
@readjack "We love being underdogs!" Frothy Ed Reed shouted at me. And then, when I told him his new name, "That should be my nickname!"
7:06: Colin Kaepernick is picked off by Baltimore’s Ed Reed.
@readjack EDDDDDDDD REEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!! Holy god, Ravens fans love Ed Reed.
@readjack "Yea Reed! Yeeaaaa Reeeed!! This is GAME TIME." One guess.
@RyanSmithWriter You know things are bad when the Niners fans are cheering loudly for an incomplete pass
3:13: The Niners stuff a Ravens fake FG.
@readjack Stupid fake field goal. "That was ill-advised!" Frothy Ed Reed tells me. "Write that too." #redeyesb
@RyanSmithWriter This San Francisco fan is giving the Ravens some birds of his own. #redeyesb
(Editor’s note: Your imagination should tell you what the picture would be here …)
1:45: Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones hauls in a 56-yard TD pass.
@readjack Holy bejezus! Jacoby Jones has the magic!
@RyanSmithWriter Let's just say most of the things yelled by Niners fans just now at Cheesies is unprintable by a family Twitter account.
@readjack "De-fence" chant in full effect. #Ravens fans out for blood. Preferably Kaepernick's.
SCORE: Baltimore 21, San Francisco 6
10:36: First blood is drawn! Anquan Boldin hauls in a touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to put the Ravens ahead.
@readjack Fantastic drive by Baltimore, and @fizzchicago erupts with the Boldin TD. #redeyesb pic.twitter.com/GWKIFmBQ
@ryansmithwriter This 49ers fan isn't taking the Raven's first score very well to say the least.
@RyanSmithWriter This is a first, Niners fans chanted “We WANT commercials!” until they turned the house music off @CheesiesChicago.
@readjack “De-fence! De-fence!” And then, after the Kaepernick run, “Hurt him!” #redeyesb
@RyanSmithWriter Niners fans Brian Burke calls this outfit the “49ers tweed special.” It's special alright
@readjack That Vernon Davis catch just made a girl groan like she'd gotten slammed in the ribs with a tennis racket. #redeyesb
@readjack Triple bear hug on that sack between Frothy Ed Reed, calm Ray Lewis, and Siragusa-esque Ray Rice. 7-3 #Ravens, 1st quarter.
3:58: David Akers kicks a 36-yard field goal
@RyanSmithWriter Lots of groans with that near TD but fans still excited about the Akers FG. Brandon points at his David Akers T-shirtSan Francisco treated
For one day at least, one small corner of the Windy City feels like the Fog City. San Francisco 49ers fans—many of them native Californians now in Chicago—packed into Cheesie’s Pub & Grub on Belmont Avenue to cheer on their favorite team in the Super Bowl.
They're certainly easy to spot—roughly 150 people packed into this official 49ers bar, most of them decked in bright crimson red jerseys, 49ers T-shirts, or even their own homemade gear. A couple dozen showed up more than five hours early to secure a good table. Keith Valley, 27, of Logan Square managed to rope several of his friends into showing up at Cheesie’s at 11:30 a.m. in anticipation of the big game. It's quite a sacrifice, especially considering Valley's laundry situation. He hasn't washed his Joe Montana jersey, Niners T-shirt or red socks for more than two months of game days.
"It's worth it," said Valley, who pointed to the ceiling, which was covered in stains from the champagne spray from the 49ers victory in the NFC championship game. "Go Niners."
The book on Baltimore
At 5:01 p.m. Sunday, it was a boisterous, full house at Fizz, a Ravens bar as of this season, courtesy of Ravens friends Dieter and Matt. The pair hosted a Ravens party at Corcoran's in 2011 and packed it for the playoffs but decided to look for a new venue when Corcoran's asked them to guarantee 20-25 people.
At the same time, Fizz (already a Saints bar) was looking for an AFC team. They researched the foreign embassy NFL sports bars in Chicago and realized the Ravens were without a Chicago road-home. Dan from Fizz found Matt at his Ravens group at chicagomeetup.com, and the rest was history.
Dieter said they have a loyal following from Corcoran's, and they've expanded for the playoffs: 35 fans for the Colts game, 60 for the Broncos, 100 for the AFC championship against the Patriots. They were at least 70 on Sunday, per Dieter's estimation.
No matter the number, both Dieter and Matt are thrilled with the spirited gathering. "I always said, 'All we have to do is make the Super Bowl and everyone will show up,' " Dieter said. "And look, we're in the Super Bowl and everyone's showing up."
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