Small town excitement for a big Super Bowl


Arrow Van Abrams and Alex Martin

Super Bowl Sunday brought out intensity, excitement and rage in the Chico community. Local sports bars contained mods of fans supporting their favorite team across their chest.

On Sunday Feb. 2, the Kansas City Chiefs were set to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54. 2013 was the last time the 49ers made their appearance in the Super Bowl. 

Seven years ago, the game finalized in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers last Super Bowl win dates back to 1995. The Chiefs, on the other hand, have not won a Super Bowl in 50 years. This left Chiefs fans hungry to take home the Lombardi trophy.

Without a local college or professional football team in Chico since the dismissal of Chico State’s university team, the 49ers have found their way into the hearts of Chico locals. Being one of the closest professional football teams to Chico, 49ers pride here high here. Additionally, many former Bay Area residents now reside in Chico. To no surprise, a majority of local fans were rooting for the Niners. Chico locals were brimming with excitement and had their own pre-game predictions. 

Sports fans flooded to Riley’s Pub on W Fifth Street to watch the big game. Many viewers had strong opinions about the outcome.

“23-20 Niners. Don’t ask me why, I just feel it,” Riley’s pub attendee Kristen Rajala said.

“I got the 49ers [winning] 53-51. I’m taking the Niners because of defense. They got to get that field goal to win it,” Niners fan Austin Cowan said with a grin.

A popular opinion around the Chico bar scene was that the Niners’ strong defense would carry them to a win.

“I’m sticking with my 49ers. I say that because defense wins championships,” said Miles Johnston, with a Patrick Willis jersey on his back.

Many Chico bar hoppers also predicted a hard-fought game that would end up coming down to the wire. Some, however, had no doubt in which team would come out victorious.

“Chiefs by 90,” Chiefs fan Billy Bandy said. “Mahomes is going to be running around the field all day. Bosas is not going to be able to contain him. Sherman is going to look like a snack out there!”

While the majority of Chico bar hoppers were in favor of the 49ers, the Chiefs had scattered fans, like Bandy, throughout Northern California.

As it would turn out, the 49ers defense did not turn out to be strong enough to stop the high-powered Chiefs offense.

The Chiefs won 30-21.

Several fan predictions did end up being accurate. The game was hard-fought and came down to the wire. Out of all predictions on the day, however, one Riley’s bar attendee predicted the game the best.

“Chiefs by seven because [of] Patrick Mahomes. That’s about it. It comes down to Patrick Mahomes,” Riley’s Bar viewer Josh Sweeting said.


Arrow VanAbrams can be reached at [email protected] or @Arrow__3 on Twitter.

Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @amjournalism130 on Twitter.