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‘Please don’t light anything on fire’: San Francisco officials urge calm after Super Bowl

Mayor London Breed makes remarks at a pre-Super Bowl event at the Crossing at East Cut in downtown San Francisco on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.
Joined by fire and police officials, Mayor London Breed asked residents to remain calm after Sunday's Super Bowl. | Source: Gabriel Greschler/The Standard

No matter what happens on Sunday night, one thing is for sure: The streets of San Francisco are going to be filled with general craziness of the red and gold kind–and parade plans a couple days after the game are already in the works if the 49ers clinch a win.

But city officials had choice words on Friday for San Franciscans thinking of getting too out of hand, whether it's a 49ers win or loss against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I want you to celebrate, I want you to have a good time, I want us to be excited, and the love and the hugs and everything,” said Mayor London Breed at a pre-Super Bowl event at the Crossing at East Cut in Downtown. “We don’t want to be breaking people's windows. We don't want to take a joyous occasion and turn it into something else.”

Mayor London Breed stands with former San Francisco 49ers players John Paye, right, and Darryl Pollard at The Crossing at East Cut on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024.
Mayor London Breed stands with former San Francisco 49ers players John Paye, right, and Darryl Pollard at The Crossing at East Cut on Friday. | Source: Gabriel Greschler/The Standard

Breed’s warning, which was pointed specifically at the Mission District and reiterated by Police Chief Bill Scott and Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson, comes after other wins from San Francisco have sparked chaos in the streets. Nicholson recommended people be careful with cooking on Super Bowl Sunday, saying it's a common time for people to accidentally spark fires.

The 49ers’ win late last month in the NFC Championship Game 2 was followed by a shooting and several fires breaking out in the city. Two years ago, after the Warriors won the NBA title, over a dozen police officers were injured in what law enforcement described as a “riot” at the time in the Mission District.

“Please don't light anything on fire,” said Scott bluntly during Friday’s press conference. “Please don't break windows and vandalize your local businesses.”

San Francisco 49ers players Roger Craig, left, Vernessia Craig, center left, Jacqueline Rice, center right, and Jerry Rice ride in the Super Bowl Champion parade down Market Street in San Francisco on Jan. 24, 1989 following the 49ers Super Bowl XXIII victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
San Francisco 49ers players Roger Craig and Jerry Rice ride in the Super Bowl Champion parade down Market Street after the team's Super Bowl XXIII victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in 1989. | Source: David Madison/Getty Images

A series of Muni bus changes are also planned for the Super Bowl event in the Mission after 5 p.m.:

  • The 14 Mission, 14R Mission Rapid and 49 Van Ness/Mission will be rerouted to Guerrero Street from 15th to Cezar Chavez
  • The 12 Folsom and 27 Bryant will use Potrero Street, between 22nd and Cesar Chavez
  • 22 Folsom, 33 Ashbury/18th Street and 55 Dogpatch will be rerouted to 14th and 15th streets between Guerrero Street and South Van Ness Avenue
  • 48 Quintara/24th Street and 67 Bernal Heights will reroute to Cesar Chavez Street instead of 24th Street between Potrero and Valencia

Friday’s announcement wasn’t all serious. Breed, joined by former 49ers players John Paye and Darryl Pollard, proposed some playful competition to the Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. 

“I'm coming for you this time,” said Breed. “I'm gonna bet the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Don’t worry, it’s just a replica, she clarified.

If the city snatches a win, a parade will start on Market Street on Thursday, though a specific start time and location haven’t yet been announced by the 49ers. 

More details will be coming soon from the team, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The parade is likely to march southwest toward City Hall like other San Francisco sports teams have done after winning a championship, and a celebration will also take place at Civic Center, city documents show.

Road closures and bus reroutes are expected, so plan your transit options accordingly. 

The last time the city was able to celebrate with its hometown football team for winning a Super Bowl dates back to January 1995, when San Franciscans piled into downtown to see Quarterback Steve Young and Coach George Seifert. Newspapers reported a drizzle during the event, though it didn’t stop around 300,000 fans from attending the parade.

A bonfire at Union and Buchanan Sts. as fans celebrate the the 49ers Super Bowl win, January 24, 1982. | Eric Luse/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
A bonfire burns at Union and Buchanan streets as fans celebrate the the 49ers Super Bowl win on Jan. 24, 1982. | Eric Luse/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Photos from earlier wins show chaos ensuing on San Francisco streets after a 49ers win, something city officials are likely preparing for over the next week. In 1982, residents made a bonfire at the corner of Union and Buchanan streets after the team won, and images from the time also show people climbing Muni buses and piling into convertibles.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the estimated number of attendees at the 1995 Super Bowl parade.

Gabe Greschler can be reached at ggreschler@sfstandard.com