Trip to 'Black Hole' no treat for 49ers

Playing the Raiders in Oakland on Halloween week. Now, that could be a frightening experience. And the 49ers, already having a good idea what to expect when they venture into the "Black Hole," will be ready for anything.

The frenzied fans that come to Raiders home games usually don't need anything extra to get worked up about. But this week they'll have a couple of extra things with the neighborhood rival 49ers coming to town a few days after All Hallow Eve.


"It's Halloween," Niners defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield said. "We're playing at their stadium, and every freak in every outfit and every costume is going to be out."


This could be just a bit distracting for a San Francisco team that is attempting to reach midseason with a 6-2 record. The Niners already have plenty to be concerned about against a Raiders outfit that leads the league in total offense. The Niners won't just have to deal with that explosive Oakland attack. They'll also be dealing with some large doses of volatility from the stands.


Or course, this is what every team that visits Oakland must deal with.


"People already wear their Halloween costumes there on a constant basis," Niners quarterback Jeff Garcia pointed out. "It's going to be a loud crowd. We saw some of that in the preseason game, but it will probably be even louder. It'll be one of those games where we have to do our best to just block them out as much as possible. It's not going to be easy. They're fully supportive of their team. It's a great crowd. We just have to do a good job of blocking it out."


Said Stubblefield, "It's going to be like a Monday night-type of intensity. You're talking about the Raider Nation, you're talking about the ‘Black Hole.' You're talking about the Coliseum. Are you crazy? You don't see them that often, but when you do see them, it's ‘Look out.'"


The Niners got a taste of the atmosphere during a 17-10 preseaon loss to the Raiders on Aug. 24.  Throw in the elements of cross-Bay rivalry that exist between the two teams and their fans, and the Niners can expect that atmosphere to be at a peak level Sunday.


"It's going to be a fun game," Stubblefield said. "It's going to be exciting. You just think about your college rival team or your high school rival team, and you can't even imagine what it's going to be like for a lot of these young guys. They really don't know. They know there's another team in the Bay Area that doesn't like us, and we don't like them. But when these two teams meet…"




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