The sports director at KNTV-Channel 11 is supposed to be unbiased, so he quickly insists upon explaining his response.
"I grew up a Raiders fan, so of course I didn't like the 49ers," the Los Altos High graduate admitted. "And when I worked for the Chargers (as a public relations assistant), we played the 49ers in the Super Bowl. We all know how that turned out."
Mathai has no such problem rooting for San Francisco's other pro sports team the Giants. And that's a good thing being that KNTV will be the club's flagship station the next three years.
Mathai took time Sunday to discuss the general migration of pro sports toward the South Bay.
On the Giants leaving KTVU-Channel 2: "I'm a Bay Area guy. When I think of the Giants, I think of Channel 2. The fact the Giants are going to another station is shocking. Coming to my station ... that's amazing."
On whether the Giants should pursue Alex Rodriguez: "As a sportscaster, I'd say yes. Absolutely. He's so much fun. But as a fan, I'd have to say it's probably not a good idea. They need more than one guy taking up all that salary."
On the A's pending move to Fremont: "I love the A's in Oakland. But if that's not going to happen, I just want to keep them in the Bay Area. I don't care if it's Napa, Fremont or Palo Alto I'd favor any over leaving the Bay Area."
On the 49ers possibly relocating to Santa Clara: "Candlestick is horrible. I want the 49ers to have a first-class facility and hope it happens at Hunter's Point. They need a new stadium. If that means Santa Clara, that's great."
On Sunday's Patriots-Colts showdown: "With our local teams as bad as they are, it was a breath of fresh air. You cannot compare any team in the league to the Patriots or Colts, they're so far ahead of the game."