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January 17, 2014
Beats by Jim: 49ers coach raves about QB's headphone ad that upset some Seahawks fans

When it comes to Colin Kaepernick's Beats by Dre commercial, life imitates art. At least according to Jim Harbaugh.

"I love it. I absolutely love it," the 49ers coach said of the ad in which Kaepernick escapes the taunts of opposing fans by slipping on a pair of black headphones. The fans in the ad are particularly rabid, they live in a rainy city and they wear colors similar to those of the Seattle Seahawks. When it was released last month Seahawks fans complained about the near-feral manner in which they were depicted.

Is the portrayal accurate? "It's somewhat like that," Harbaugh said of arriving at an opponent's stadium. "Yeah, definitely. Riding in and the fans are all out there. Sometimes they're the way that they are in the video."

The 49ers, of course, won't have the luxury of noise-canceling headphones Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

To prepare for the din there, the 49ers cranked up the music and artificial fan noise at their Friday practice to higher volumes than they would for a typical road trip and played it for longer durations. The offensive linemen, who must get used to snapping the play off of silent counts, wore earplugs.

The 49ers also have altered their travel routine.

They flew to Seattle on Friday afternoon, a day earlier than they normally would for a West Coast trip. Harbaugh said a contingent of players came to him and suggested the change of plans. After all, the 49ers had Friday departures for their road wins against Green Bay and Carolina, and there's a sense that the team is in a nice groove.

"Being together," he said of the benefit of an early start. "Being together an extra day, and I think the majority of our road trips have been like that. Really the only games we don't do that is Seattle and Arizona. It's a departure in one way and in another it's the same as what we do."
As for Kaepernick, he said it didn't matter when the team traveled.

"I think we've been close this whole season," he said. "We've been through a lot together, we've fought through a lot together. This is another obstacle for us to get to where we want to be."
And as for the Seattle fans? Does he have the same interaction with them that he does in his commercial?

"We pull in through the back, so we don't really don't see too much," he said.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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