Candlestick Park is one of the oldest stadiums with a completely outdated setup. At halftime, coaches who stay inside the press box area must go down the lone elevator, go through the crowd down the steps and run across through the dugout area to get to the locker rooms in order to talk to players.
If the only elevator is broken, the worst case scenario is to go down the stairs through the upper-level stands before heading down to the field level stands and running across the field. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio estimated that there is only a six-to-seven-minute window to talk to players before returning to the booth.
"You don’t feel the stress [at other stadiums]," Fangio said. "You know you’re going to get up and out, up and down at a normal stadium. Here you always got to fight through the crowd, which can be a little bit chaotic at times. [It's] nobody’s fault. There are just a lot of people going up and down those steps. And then you’ve always got the elevator there. You might have to wait for it. There’s only one, where these new stadiums usually have a bank of three or four there. But, luckily in the last three years, we’ve been fairly successful at home and the fans have been cordial going up and down.”
Fangio spent time with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers when they were NFC West division rivals before the 2002 realignment. He was on the opposition in Candlestick Park for 13 seasons from 1986-1998, where he remembered fans being just as cordial back then like today. He described the visitor's locker room as a "small closet."
Media members including myself have gone down through the stairs of the upper deck before fighting the exiting crowd through the lower deck to get on the field when the game ends. The one elevator in the press box will only go to the field level, as every person must go through the stairs to get on the field.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman described his move to the locker room as a long process. Smiling, he said it was something classic about Candlestick Park.
"You have to get on the elevator, take it down to the main concourse, fight your way through the people getting beer and pretzels and hot dogs, go down the stairs of the first level, get on the field, sprint to the dugout, sprint to the locker room. You’ve got about five minutes there, and then it’s a full sprint back. So, what does that tell me? Every week is that man I’ve got to get more exercise in because I’m breathing really hard by the time I hit that elevator. We just look at each other when we hit the elevator and go, ‘Man, we’ve got to get more exercise.’ But it’s interesting. It’s definitely part of the lore of Candlestick Park.”
Roman admitted running through the stadium can be hectic, as he almost didn't make it back in his seat on the return trip a few times. He said he never missed a moment in the second half of a game before.
Both 49ers coordinators will most likely make the final trip at halftime in Candlestick Park on Monday night football.