(KTXL) — One of the biggest Niner fans at Saturday’s game didn’t have to fly there or book a hotel room. Darin Gilbertson and his family got in the car and drove to Lambeau Field from their home in Amery, Wisconsin.
“I pretty much live and breathe 49ers,” Gilbertson told FOX40.
You won’t find a more passionate Niner fan in the Green Bay area than Gilbertson. But he might just be one of the biggest Niners fans anywhere.
“I grew up in Wisconsin my whole life,” explained Gilbertson, who has never lived in California. “So how I became a Niner fan was my sister used to live in San Mateo. So she flew me out there when I was 14 in 1979 and brought me to my first game at Candlestick, and it happened to be Joe Montana’s rookie year. And ever since walking into Candlestick, I’ve been a Niner fan.”
The mega-fan’s wardrobe is worth mentioning.
“I have approximately 30 jerseys that I wear,” he said. “And if one’s not working the first quarter, you can guarantee I’m switching.”
And his collection of memorabilia makes his man cave more like a museum.
“It all started with an autographed Joe Montana jersey. So that was the first piece I got, and it’s built from there,” Gilbertson said.
“Even my Packer friends, if they’re someplace and they see something 49ers and they think that I might not have it, they’ll pick it up for me and give it to me,” he continued. “And unbelievably, I haven’t got any duplicates. And then, me buying online and my wife and kids buying me presents, that’s kind of how it all got to this point.”
Among his collection are two stadium seats, one from Candlestick Park and another from Levi’s Stadium.
“I’m kind of running out of room now, but my son moved out, so I knocked the wall out and went into his room,” Gilbertson said. “So he’s like, ‘Oh, so I’m not coming back, huh?’ ‘Well, you can come back. You can sleep on the couch, but you’re bed’s gone.'”
But Gilbertson’s greatest treasure of all — a very understanding wife.
“Well, she was a Packer fan. I converted her about 10 years ago,” he said.
“Friends will ask her why she lets me do this, and she’s like, ‘Why wouldn’t I? It’s what he loves to do,'” he continued.
The memorabilia just has to stay within the walls of the man cave.
You would think his passion for the red and gold might be a liability deep within Green Bay territory.
“Packer fans are pretty loyal to their team, but they’re pretty classy fans too. So I’ve been accepted well,” Gilbertson told FOX40.
Camaraderie comes naturally in Gilbertson’s man cave, just like it does on his favorite football team.
“That’s what I love about this team,” he said. “They seem like they’re really close-knit. Kyle and John have done a great job of assembling the team and the future’s bright.”
You can be sure all that memorabilia is very well-protected. In his day job, Gilbertson is a security technician for an alarm company.