Levi’s® Stadium has its field goal posts.
A crew led by 49ers director of engineering operations Pat Rogan and First Down Football Products president George Wiley installed the posts at San Francisco’s new Santa Clara home on Friday morning.
They are the first automatic, collapsible posts in the NFL.
Here’s what that means: After the final whistle of 49ers home games, it will take a single member of the Levi’s® Stadium grounds crew eight seconds to lower the uprights and cross bar onto the field. All he’ll need to lay them flat on the grass is a simple drill motor. (Raising the uprights and the cross bar takes 30 seconds.)
Wiley, a Pasadena, Calif. city employee for 40 years before he retired, was inspired to create this flexible system for NCAA football stadiums after his work overseeing public safety at the Rose Bowl.
“It’s become popular again, mostly in the NCAA, for fans to rush the field after a game and tear down the field goal posts like they did when they were old and made out of wood,” said Wiley, who has installed his product at Boston College, the University of Arizona and plans to do the same at Texas A&M next month. “What happens now if you tear a structure like that down, you bonk somebody on the head with a piece of 30-foot piece of aluminum, there’s going to be injuries.
“I scratched my Walter Mitty head and said, ‘I think I can do this,’ and this is what I did.”
The 49ers hired Wiley, the patent-holder on the system, to keep their new stadium on the cutting edge.
“When I first talked to the San Francisco management people at the Rose Bowl, I got the hint that this stadium would be very high on technology,” Wiley said. “I didn’t understand what that could possibly mean until we came out here. This whole place is technology, and we like to think that our product leads the field in technology as far as goal posts go.”
While the posts increase safety on the field, they will also ease the stadium’s transition for non-football events. To completely remove the posts from the field, all that would be required is a two-man crew, a forklift and 30 minutes. (Re-installation could be accomplished in less than an hour.)
All that stays inside the stadium at all times are two steel structures, a trunk and a gooseneck, that serve as the posts’ base but are 18 inches below the grass, which hasn’t been installed yet.
Early Friday morning, the crew started by setting this base under gravel behind the south end zone. A hydraulic unit allows the posts to lift up and down with the hand – and drill – of a single operator.
“Once it’s right the first time,” Wiley said after the posts rose high into the air for the first time, “it will go back in with no adjustments.”
Call that an extra point.
--Andrew Pentis, 49ers.com
As our grand opening nears, we will start bringing you Spheres from some of the best vantage points at Levi's® Stadium.
We start with the NRG Solar Terrace, where 1,150 solar panels span a green roof. Right now, the roof is bare, but soon it will be decorated with plants.
Enjoy the views.
Not long after Jordan Stewart chose his MLS team, he had to pick his NFL team.
His new San Jose Earthquakes teammates demanded it.
“I went with the 49ers,” said Stewart, a midfielder who came to San Jose last summer after 15 seasons as a professional across the pond, where he shifted in and out of the Premier League. “The guys gave me a hard time for choosing the better team, saying I was the frontrunner. For me personally, the 49ers are known across the Silicon Valley. Even growing up in England, you know who the 49ers are. I’m an adopted fan.”
In a locker room of soccer players with allegiances to both Bay Area football teams, Stewart is on the right side for another reason; he gets to open San Francisco’s new Santa Clara-based ballpark.
In Levi’s® Stadium’s first scheduled professional sporting event, the Earthquakes host the rival Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 2.
Tickets go on sale on Friday, March 14 at 10 a.m. PT via Ticketmaster.
We caught up with Stewart, who turned 32 this week, to discuss his interest in the 49ers, their new stadium and what we can expect from his ‘Quakes.
So your teammates’ interest in American football piqued your own?
When I came over, all the guys like talking about fantasy football. I hadn’t ever played football other than playing ‘Madden Football’ on the computer. The basic rules I knew, but as I watch more and more, I learn the players and the positions.
How knowledgeable are your family and friends back home?
They know Colin Kaepernick (laughs).
How invested are you in the 49ers success?
I watched the last playoff game in a bar with some friends, and I was really disappointed. I can’t imagine how disappointed the people who have been fans for years were.
You have this on Kaepernick and Co. – you get to play a game at Levi’s® before the 49ers…
I found out on Twitter when I was in England. As an organization, it will help boost the MLS.
He didn’t get to play, but our own Lawrence Okoye got to be on the sideline for the 49ers win in London this past season…
As a soccer player, I know how cool it is to play at Wembley (Stadium). I imagine Levi’s® will remind me of some of the Premiership stadiums I have played in.
Alright, now some serious stuff. You’re listed at 6 feet tall and 180 pounds – what position would you play in our version of football?
Wide receiver – a lot of people want to play quarterback, but I figure if I’m playing wide receiver, I’ll be able to talk a little trash.
Do you talk that much to opponents while playing soccer?
Not to that extent. In football, I would be able to get away with it.
So you’d rather catch the pigskin than throw it?
I tried to throw a football, but my technique is horrible. One time we were shooting hoops and I missed the rim altogether. I need to work on my American sports. The boys give me trouble for it. I have to learn.
What stands out to you as the major difference between your sport and ours?
If fans haven’t been to a soccer game, I say: Have a look and see what you think. Football is very much start and stop. Soccer is constant for minutes, up and down the field.
Before we let you go, what can 49ers fans and Levi’s first crowd expect from the Earthquakes?
We want to get in the playoffs. Last year was disappointing because we didn’t. As a defender, I’m not OK with allowing more goals than we scored. We want to win the MLS cup; I want to play in that game. Some of the boys will just say, ‘We’ll see how it goes,’ but we have the players and coaches to do it.
--Andrew Pentis, 49ers.com
— Matthew Butter (@MatthewButter) February 27, 2014
— MrMojorisin (@mrmojorisin2) February 27, 2014
— Ben Mancini (@bmancini42) February 27, 2014
Levi’s® Stadium is starting to look like a steel fortress.
So it's funny how many different kinds of lumber are being rolled into the 49ers busy construction site.
On a recent tour, it was easy to notice walnut wood taking shape in the in-progress players locker room here and tulip wood lining the Legacy Club ceilings there.
Jack Hill, the team’s project executive, and Tambra Thorson, an interior designer for stadium architect HNTB and a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specialist, filled us in.
Turns out, choices were made for aesthetical reasons. Each Levi’s® club levels will have its own personality.
The fast-growing, highly renewable resource is the primary wood of choice in the Violin Memory Suite Tower's suites, conference rooms and lounges; levels 500 through 800. Typically grown and harvested in China, bamboo is coming direct from San Francisco supplier Smith & Fong.
Many pieces of club furniture, including communal tables and barstools, were made locally of walnut wood. Not to mention the players’ 10-foot lockers, which haven’t arrived just yet.
Reclaimed from Moffet Federal Airfield's hangar in nearby Mountain View, this will be featured in the 500 level Citrix Owners Club and suites.
Also reclaimed, oak flooring is currently being installed in the 300 level Champions Club and the 400 level Yahoo-sponsored clubs. There will also be oak paneling in the loft club.
This is employed on the origami-looking ceilings of the Legacy Club. Thorson said it fit the criteria for the design: a light wood, in that color range and with that type of graining.
--Andrew Pentis, 49ers.com