49ers head to Atlanta for NFC championship game

January 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The big NFC championship game is this Sunday in Atlanta. The San Francisco 49ers had one last practice at their facility in Santa Clara before taking off for Georgia Friday afternoon.

The team boarded their team plane around 3:30 p.m. The big question now -- will this be a historic weekend.

By the time the 49ers boarded their team plane Friday afternoon, they had already put in a busy day by anyone's standards. They're trying to keep to a routine. But everyone knows better, especially their young quarterback.

"I mean, it's going to be the same routine that we always do," said 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. "It's just gonna be in Atlanta, not here."

After last weekend's triumph against Green Bay, the Niners gained some respect again. Since his record-breaking win, quarterback Kaepernick has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The Niners are new darlings. Their coach, unfazed.

"People said some nice things about us, that's nice," said 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh. "Cover of Sports Illustrated, very nice thing, says a very nice thing about our team. You put it in a frame, put it up on a wall, says something nice about you, but it doesn't change anything about what our job is."

And as Atlanta prepares to host the 49ers, we not only have two different teams, we have two different touchdown celebrations. The Falcons have the Dirty Bird, while the Niners have Kaepernicking, the quarterback's signature touchdown celebration in which he flexes his right arm and kisses his bicep.

Falcons fan Shane Elliot doesn't think he'll be doing a lot of Kaepernicking on Sunday, noting, "I think we have a game plan and we'll stop him."

But Atlanta resident John Cooper thinks the game will be filled with the quarterback's signature move. And even though he says being a 49ers fan in a city full of Falcons fans is tough, he wears his team's gear with pride, "I almost got jumped in the lunchroom," Cooper said while laughing. "But that being the case, I still wore my 49ers hat and I'm standing tall, looking to Kaepernick to bring it home for us."


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