NEW ORLEANS — The 49ers will miss the annual sideshow to the Super Bowl, a steady stream of multi-million-dollar commercials that are discussed almost as much as the actual game is.
But those on the team don't need to be around a television to know what their favorite commercial is. In fact, they were in it. The 49ers filmed a Visa commercial during training camp that has been shown regularly during the NFL season.
"It's weird to see it so much," said lineman Joe Staley, one of the 49ers shown in the commercial. "We've been pretty surprised by how much that's been on TV."
The commercial, filmed over the course of eight hours at Candlestick Park, features a fan (played by an improve comedian) firing up the 49ers before a game. Only a handful of 49ers were invited and the rest of the set was filled up with extras wearing 49ers jerseys.
Alex Smith is the first 49er to be prominently displayed, giving a strange look to the camera early in the commercial. Teammates said Smith didn't need long to nail the scene.
"He's pretty quick," Staley said. "He's a natural born actor."
Near the end of the commercial, coach Jim Harbaugh walks into the shot and asks, "What the heck is going on in here?"
What did Harbaugh's players think of his performance?
"No comment," lineman Alex Boone said, laughing.
It wasn't Harbaugh's first acting experience. He appeared in "Saved by the Bell" when he was a player and the clip circulated earlier this season.
"His acting has come a long way," fullback Bruce Miller said. "He was pretty good this time around."
While most 49ers enjoyed the experience, one player said the team's commercial isn't his favorite 49ers commercial.
"The best one is the one with the 49ers dude sitting on the couch," running back Anthony Dixon said, referring to the Bud Light spot where a fan goes to his old apartment and watches a game from the exact spot where he used to sit.
"We're one win away."