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THE FAITHFUL FOOTBALL

Celebrating random acts of the faithful
 
The 49ers and beHuman are partnering to get Faithful Footballs in the hands of the people that deserve it the most. For every touchdown the 49ers score at Levi’s® Stadium, we honor a deserving fan with a one-of-a-kind gold paneled football representing that score.

Winners are being rewarded for their actions or long time faithfulness which have made a positive impact on others.

To nominate someone whose long-term loyalty or act of faith is deserving of the Faithful Football, please e-mail us their story in 150 words or less to faithfulfootball@49ers.com.



Stephen Ashford
Touchdown #1 of the 2017 season and #45 in Levi’s® Stadium history

Week 3 vs. Los Angeles Rams - Brian Hoyer 9-yard touchdown run

Stephen Ashford uses his fandom as a bridge to his own community. Stephen’s ties to the 49ers began as a child in the late 1970’s when his grandmother would receive a pair of tickets each year to watch their local team play at Candlestick Park. That was the first time Stephen would ever attend an NFL game and what would start a lifelong dedication to the 49ers. Just two years after attending his first game, Ashford experienced his first championship parade, as San Francisco would go on to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26–21, in Super Bowl XXIII as the 49ers hoisted their first Lombardi Trophy.

Though impressive, the parade wasn’t Stephen's greatest memory. The tradition that was built the following year, attending 49ers training camp at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif., with his father continued throughout the years. It was a personalized experience for those in attendance. Stephen had the opportunity to meet famed coach Bill Walsh, and get autographs from his favorite players that he still owns today.

Now a teacher of 18 years and a high school football coach, Stephen is a proud season ticket holder of the last three seasons. He was recognized as the 49ers Teacher of the Month as a hero in the classroom. Stephen has built a relationship with the organization to make a difference in his school through backpack drives and school rallies with the help of the 49ers and its players. The memories and experiences of being a 49ers Faithful continues to shape Stephen and his community around him.

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Carlos Padilla
Touchdown #2 of the 2017 season and #46 in Levi’s® Stadium history

Week 3 vs. Los Angeles Rams - Carlos Hyde 1-yard touchdown run

A gold San Francisco 49ers starter jacket began Carlos Padilla’s journey as a member of the Faithful. Born and raised in Stockton, Calif., in a household that was unfamiliar with the game of football, Carlos quickly learned the red “SF” oval was more than just a logo. It’s a family.

At the age of nine, Carlos’ curiosity with the starter jacket worn by classmates and peers drew him into learning more about the 49ers organization.  His earliest memories were of Steve Young and Jerry Rice connecting on Sundays that would eventually roll over to schoolyard discussions the following day.

For two seasons, Carlos would take the city bus 30 minutes to watch the 49ers training camp practices at the University of the Pacific. By the age of 17, Carlos witnessed his first game in person. In awe from tailgating, to the thrill of halftime, to the entirety of the game itself, Carlos fell in love with the camaraderie of watching thousands of people come together to support one team.

Now as a father of two young children, Carlos hopes to establish a tradition within his own family. He's a proud owner of his own gold 49ers starter jacket and looks forward to the future of the organization.

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Neal Ashton
Touchdown #3 of the 2017 season and #47 in Levi’s® Stadium history

Week 3 vs. Los Angeles Rams - Garrett Celek 1-yard touchdown reception

Neal Ashton has been in the stands for every 49ers home game since 1971. His most memorable ties to the 49ers organization come from witnessing just about every milestone throughout the history of the franchise. Beginning from his childhood in Redwood City, Calif., where Neal’s parents would take him to 49ers practices, to becoming a season ticket holder during the franchise’s first season at Candlestick Park. It’s the memories and experience that has continued to shape Neal’s fandom.

Neal remembers the reaction of the crowd at Candlestick Park as Joe Montana found Dwight Clark for the leaping grab over Everson Walls during the 1981 NFC Championship Game in what is now known as “The Catch”. To this day, he still remembers sharing that moment with his parents and those seated around him as the 49ers took a 28-27 lead over the Dallas Cowboys with 58 seconds left on the clock.

Neal went on to attend Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XIX and witnessed the dawning of NFL great, Jerry Rice.

Neal is still in attendance each Sunday at Levi's Stadium and is a true testament to being Faithful then and Faithful now.

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Nancy Tufts Klein
Touchdown #4 of the 2017 season and #48 in Levi’s® Stadium history

Week 3 vs. Los Angeles Rams - Trent Taylor 3-yard touchdown reception

Some people adopt their NFL fandom, while others are born into it. That was the case for Nancy Tufts Klein. A San Francisco native, Nancy’s parents owned season tickets from 1952 at Kezar Stadium through the 49ers years at Candlestick Park. The family remained season ticket holders when the doors opened at Levi’s® Stadium in 2014. The 49ers remain apart of the family’s culture, as Nancy shares her love of the team with her five grandchildren.

Her earliest memories included attending the team’s final game at Kezar Stadium and attending the 49ers 1971 playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys with her father.

Nancy’s eldest daughter Kelsey nominated her for a Faithful Football because of her loyalty and love for the red and gold. Nancy continues to pass along her love for 49ers football to all of her children and grandchildren.

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Don Ferrente
Touchdown #5 of the 2017 season and #50 in Levi's® Stadium history

Week 7 vs. Dallas Cowboys - C.J. Beathard 4-yard touchdown run

A season ticket holder of 27 years and a Faithful since childhood, Don Ferrente remembers the exact moment he and his buddies waited in line for three days to get their hands on tickets to the NFC West Divisional game in 1982. Fans began lining up at Candlestick Park days before tickets went on sale to watch the 49ers make a push for their first trip to the Super Bowl. Don and friends camped out in a “car line”, where thousands of fans wrapped around the stadium in their vehicles to guarantee them a seat to the game.

It became a small tailgate - barbecue pits and hangouts among cars lined through the parking lots and down the hills. Fans assembled to show their support and love for their local team. Don managed to acquire tickets for 28 members of his family and friends. He and his guests would have no idea they were soon to witness what would be known as one of the most historic moments in 49ers and NFL history, “The Catch”.

Don recalls the energy inside of Candlestick Park as Dwight Clark was just moments from sealing the 49ers victory over the Dallas Cowboys. 

That same memory was revived as Don was in attendance for “Dwight Clark Day” in Week 7 of the 2017 season against the Cowboys. To watch the members of the 1982 team come together to celebrate Clark, his legacy, and his journey with ALS was a culminating moment that brought Don back to the 19-year-old boy who witnessed history unfold that day at Candlestick Park.

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Al Mendez
Touchdown #6 of the 2017 season and #51 of Levi's Stadium history

Week 9 vs. Arizona Cardinals - C.J. Beathard 1-yard touchdown run

If you’re walking amongst the tailgaters at Levi’s® Stadium and spot a large, friendly crowd decked out in full team garb, you just may have run into Al Mendez. A rejoining season ticket holder since 2014, Al regularly hosts tailgates for friends, family, strangers, even fans of the opposing team. The only prerequisite? You must be a lover of football. 

Al’s admiration of the 49ers transpired into having a hand in bringing the franchise to Santa Clara. Al was a part of the committee to helped obtain citizen votes for the approval of the stadium construction in Santa Clara.

Al prides himself on being a part of the foundation of Levi’s® Stadium. During Levi’s® inaugural year, Al’s eldest grandchild surprised him with a commemorative brick lining the stadium’s “front door” at the Levi’s® Stadium Fanwalk that reads "in Papa's house we're born Faithful!!"

He has become a regular face that has continued to support the organization he was raised a member of. As Al puts it, “it’s not all about just the game. It’s the experience working up to the game and having a good time. It’s about family.”