John Mathews is his name. He lives in Chicago. He is originally from St. Louis, but he is a die-hard member of the 49ers Faithful.
What makes this 30-year-old fan even more unique?
He wears a custom, logoed suit every time he watches his favorite team play. But wait, the story gets better. Much better. Mathews' gameday attire is a three-piece suit that was made by his girlfriend of two years. Mathews wears it proudly. He attends at least two games a season, including each Niners game in St. Louis against the Rams.
Mathews’ suit was featured in our “22 Signs You Really Miss the 49ers” article and when we spotted him again at the “Legends of Candlestick” flag football game, we had to reach out and find him.
Fortunately for us, the power of the Internet worked in our favor. We found @49ersSuit immediately and a friendship was formed.
“There’s a lot of those pictures floating around,” Mathews told #Niners365. “I live in Chicago, we started a 49ers bar here and a lot of the people who hang around started posting pictures, too. It’s been really cool.”
Those pictures have also made their way to 49ers.com. Without further delay, here’s an interview with the man, the myth, the legend, the #49ersSuitGuy.
Q: First off, let's get the most important question out of the way. Can you tell us the story behind the suit and how this amazing gament came into your life?
A: That’s the funny part. It usually brings up a lot of questions. People will come up to me and say, “Did your mom make that?” She did not, but my girlfriend did. She grew up in rural central Illinois and grew up doing seamstress work, making dresses and other clothes. And then randomly, when we got together, my friends and I would wear different funny clothes as Halloween outfits and things like that. So she came up with the idea of making a 49ers suit. She surprised me with it and a trip to see the Rams play the Niners in San Francisco. That’s a big rivalry for me by the way. I got to wear it to the game the next day and I’ve been wearing it ever since.
Q: Walk me through how John Mathews in the Midwest started rooting for a football team in California. How did you become a Niners fan?
A: Growing up in St. Louis, we didn’t really have a team back then. The Cardinals were on their way out and the Rams didn’t arrive for another 10 to 15 years. I was just a huge fan of the West Coast offense. Bill Walsh was a genius. I remember watching more Steve Young than Joe Montana, but I stuck with the team and I’ve always been a Niners fan – even when we only won two games in the not-so-distant past. When the Rams came to St. Louis – instead of switching over or even considering it – they became my bitter rival. It’s a fun game every year because my friends and family are all Rams fans. It’s always a good game for all of us to get together.
Q: You went to the Super Bowl, last season's playoff win in Carolina and many other games - what were those experiences like for you?
A: It was an amazing experience to go to the Super Bowl. Obviously the game didn’t turn out the way we wanted, but the environment of being around so many 49ers fans was crazy. Going down Bourbon Street, everyone was cool and really welcoming like, “Let’s take a picture together.” I met a lot of really cool people, and the suit really served as an icebreaker. Often times I go travel to games on my own because I don’t have a ton of 49ers fans in Chicago. So with the Super Bowl, I just got in my car and drove to New Orleans to be there. I take a lot of pride in going to road games and representing the Niner fans in a classy way, too.
Q: Another highlight for you, I'm sure, was attending the "Legends of Candlestick" game. Where does that experience rank in your book of being a Niners fan?
A: The event was very underrated. I really had no idea it was going to be that amazing. I can’t say enough great things about the 49ers players who participated. They went out of their way to make the fans feel special on that day. I don’t think they’ll know how much they touched so many people. One of the things that didn’t even get coverage was Steve Young came back out in his street clothes. He signed autographs for another 20 minutes. All these guys were so gracious. Dwight Clark was standing on top of the Candlestick dugout signing things the whole time. It was truly amazing. I’m not a big autograph guy, but when I see Steve out there signing for so long, I asked him to sign the collar of my shirt. I finally got one and he’s always been my favorite player. It was really a special moment.
Q: Hopefully after we post this article, people will be asking for your autograph when they see you on the road...
A: [Laughs] Yeah, that would be cool.