It was high drama — literally — in Mexico City on Monday and George Kittle was in his element.
Of the 78,427 fans inside Estadio Azteca, an estimated 64,000 were screaming 49ers fans, who arrived four hours before kickoff. That included perhaps Kittle’s favorite fan, the luchador wrestler known as Pentagon Jr.
Kittle’s seen “Penta” wrestle at events in the past, they’ve met each other and they exchanged gifts, a No. 85 jersey for the wrestler, a luchador mask for Kittle. The tight end has said he models his own operatic, on-field persona after that of the wrestler. Kittle’s first-down and touchdown celebration — a finger gesture known as “Cero Miedo” or “no fear” — is a nod to Penta.
In fact, Kittle strutted into the stadium wearing the very mask Penta had given him four years earlier, then was presented with a new luchador mask — this one sparkling gold, with a 49ers emblem and a football facemask — by Penta before pre-game warm-ups.
Cameras followed him the entire time and fans chanted his name. Perhaps in part because of his devotion to Penta, he has the No. 2-selling NFL jersey in Mexico behind Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
That is, there was plenty of pre-game hype surrounding Kittle and thus a lot of pressure to have a big game, which was a question mark heading into the contest. After all, he’d been targeted just twice in the 49ers’ Week 10 win over the Chargers and had three catches for 39 yards in the game before that. Would it be another quiet outing in the passing game on “Monday Night Football”?
No, it would be one in which Kittle came flying off the top rope.
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Update on Youtube San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals | 2022 Week 11 Game Highlights
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