It's Super Bowl week -- a week that divides America like no time other than Presidential election week. There are the longtime 49ers fans and longtime Ravens fans. There are fans whose rooting interests are directly tied to which side of the betting line they put their money on. There are temporary fans cheering for the Ravens because their smarmy roommate has been obnoxiously rooting for the Niners, and vice-versa. Then there are the bandwagon fans, Oregon Trail lengths of them.
Whichever category a person falls into, there's really only one official way to declare your side: the Facebook "Like" has become the modern day window-flag.
According to the folks at Facebook, "about 35 million account holders in the United States ... have 'Liked' a page for one of the 32 teams in the league."
And based on the social media site's data, a whole lot of those account holders will be wearing red-and-gold something on Sunday.
This week, Facebook released color-coded maps showing the most "Liked" team in every county across the nation. There were maps for each playoff round, showing only the fandom distribution of the surviving playoff teams. As the playoff advanced, the stretch of 49ers red expanded.
By the time the 49ers landed in New Orleans for Super Bowl week, their fans outnumbered Ravens' fans in almost every region west of Tennessee.
The Facebook team calculated that with each playoff win, a team gains more than 7,000 new likes -- by comparison a regular season win brings fewer than 2,000. But, clearly, not all playoff wins are created equal.
Sure, Baltimore is the team of The Wire's Jimmy McNulty and Avon Barksdale. But the 49ers have been racking up bandwagon fans for 30 years now. Many of those fair-weather rooters -- looking for the indulgent thrill of one-season-stand -- likely fell in love, collecting memories and jerseys. The team has three generations' worth of supporters coming out the woodwork. Nostalgia is blooming. Kaepernicking is trending.
And the Ravens are probably running out of bulletin board space.