"Its the most, wonderful time of the year…."
Ah, the offseason. For us football fans who grew past leaving cookies out for Santa, these are the days counting up until the real Xmas day, where we draw up mock drafts like they were letters to Santa in hopes that he brings us our coveted gifts that we will enjoy for years to come. Forget a BB Gun that will only shoot my eye out. I want a missile out of the backfield to destroy my enemies. A bag of plastic Army men? Give me a defensive backfield instead. I’ll trade a Playstation for a future Hall of Fame quarterback to pWn the Raiderfan living next door. These are the days where we tune out our significant others despite we not getting any before we met them. Even though a down of football isn’t being played, we football fanatics are praying on our bedsides all night that our team doesn’t screw OUR Xmas day up instead of fighting for her for the covers, or her being pissed that she couldn’t sleep because she heard us scream "SPILLER!!" in our sleep. The NFL never ends for us. It never ends for them either. They are tortured every day and night due to our obsession, and are left hopeless while we dig through the trash bin, looking for our perfect mock that we wrote on a napkin during breakfast. Draft weekend is the weekend where housewives in Philly plan a small vacation. They still shudder at the name "Donovan McNabb". Divorce Lawyers have that weekend circled on their calendars. Yet, I was a young, single man working that NFL Xmas weekend, and one name ruined Xmas’ to come from that day forward.
I grew up knowing Santa Claus never existed. We didn’t have a chimney growing up. We lived in the freakin’ California desert. While people in Green Bay were freezing their tails off in the winter, we grew up playing Golf on perfectly sculptured courses. I didn’t hang a stocking on a mantle. I hung my driver headcovers on the side of my bag. We didn’t throw snow balls at each other. We threw dirt clods. Digging ourselves out of snow? I had to dig myself out of sand dunes due to me not knowing that the ridge on the top of that dune meant a 15 foot drop into a bowl full of sticker bushes riding my bored out Suzuki RM 125 (with a DG seat!) as a kid. All I hoped for Xmas then was a new set of piston rings because I, in haste, mixed the oil and fuel mixture wrong. I was Al Gore’s worst nightmare, sending emissions out that would choke a spotted owl while hunting down and running over fringed toed lizards with hardcore knobby tires. Good times. Little did I know then that one of my new passions in life would haunt me for years to come. You see, I had control of my little world then. I grew up building things with my hands. Even when I screwed that up, I still could fix it. My Father never had a real garage because I took it over. I had my drumkit in one corner, my motorcycle in another, and a bench full of electronic crap (with a badass soldering iron) right in the middle. I built my own little world with my bare hands as a kid. It was safe there. Garages are and should be part of American life. What I found hard to handle in my next phase of American life was being a football fan.
My Father was Ram fan. Was, because he hates Georgia Frontiere with a passion. I think part of my frustration with NFL ownership lies within my Father being a then lifelong Rams fan. By the way, he likes the 49ers now, is a die hard California Angels fan (he worked for them during Spring Training), and now is a "retired" fan of the NFL. One of the reasons why I became a 49er fan was that my uncle (who was a drummer, and started me on the drums at the age of 4 years old) was a hippie in San Francisco, and I grew up knowing that I would live in that City one day, which I did for years later in life. But I remember my Father screaming at the black and white television in the late 60’s. Do you want to know the first day I ever prayed by my bedside for a football team to win a game? Well, that was the day. I prayed for my Father, not for his team, but for my Father. Here is the kicker: I was praying FOR A RAMS WIN. It was then I realized just how much being a fan of a team meant. I wasn’t praying on my bedside for the Rams. I was praying that my Father would have a playoff win. I was about 3 years old at the time, and I wound up crawling out of bed to be at my Father’s side after the loss. Everybody else was asleep. It was just my Father and I sharing his pain. We still share that moment years later. But now, he shares my pain as a football fan, and I blame it all on one person. Carmen Policy.
I remember laughing in my apartment at my television back in the early 90’s. I wasn’t watching a sitcom on NBC. I was watching big, huge, grown men throwing blocks of ice over their heads to clear a concrete wall behind them. It was The World's Strongest Man competition, and it was awesome. I think ESPN had it on late night, but the big man to beat was Magnus Ver Magnusson, whose legendary feats of awesomeness rival in mythology to Chuck Norris and Patrick Willis. I would come home from a hard days work, crack open a cold beer, and witness reality television’s forbearers. The announcers would call out Magnus’ name like he was the Spaniard in Gladiator. MAGNUS was cried out like a latin soccer player’s name was cried out on Spanish language television during the 1994 World Cup (DUNGA!!, BrrrrANCO!!), and he became a drunken late night legend, the kind of legend my late Grandfather worshipped watching "Mad Mountain Mike" in the early days of televised wrestling. He simply was a beast. I dunno if there is a ROM of a Nintendo game out there featuring Magnus, but there should be. All I remember is a feature on where he pulled a 2 ton truck strapped to his waist. Even though I saw it on ESPN, was I witnessing a feat of athleticism? Or was I watching a freak show?
I remember exactly how the day started when I gave up on the the draft. I was out having fun with a girl I knew at the time late, and I had to be at work early. Back then, I wore a suit to work. I wound up wearing the same suit, with of course, a change of undergarments. I wanted the day off, but my boss needed me to be there. He was a 49ers fan as well, and he had to stay at his desk to because he had a pile of paperwork to sift through. I was there at 7am in the morning, drank some coffee, and both my and my boss’ day was not only consumed with work, but in who the 49ers would pick in the first round. Steve Young was the quarterback of the 49ers then, with no real backup or successor in place, just in case he got hurt. The 49ers had a clear choice on what position had most importance in a meager draft with only 3 picks at their disposal. Of course, the biggest pick would determine the QBOTF. They already wasted future picks with trades prior to only have 3 this critical draft, and QB was the priority. Bill Walsh was alive then, and though not part of the organization, was asked on who he thought the 49ers should look at for that draft pick. He liked Jake "Da Snake" Plummer out of ASU, a mobile gamer that was raw and unpolished, yet years later after suffering in AZ purgatory, had played great under the WCO disciple in Mike Shanahan. I liked Plummer out of college. I mean, come on, how could he not have less potential the Grbac? Bono? Brohm? Musgrave? 49er backup QB’s with marginal talent still had great schooling. Plummer, if drafted, may have not become the next Joe Montana, but if he was in the same position that Jeff Garcia was at the time, would Garcia beat Plummer out?
You see, I’m trying to forget something here. I’m trying to forget that even though Bill Walsh,…ok I was gonna add more to this, but really, all you have to say is Bill Walsh, and that in his mind during this critical draft thought the 49ers should draft Plummer…….
Hold on, I’m feeling my pain as a 3 year old. Again.
Ok, now I’m back to my day at work. Draft day. Bear in mind, I paid for information then. I still have a box full of pre-season magazines that only rival my box of porn (which I also don’t pay for anymore). Well, Neil O’Donnell and Keyshawn Johnson grace one of the covers of those magazines, and I paid for the freakin’ thing while I lived in New York. Jenna Jameson and a porn mope had better chemistry back then. But what killed Xmas forever wasn’t because of my prayers. It was because of ESPN. Magnus. Stupidity. Arrogance. Oh, did I mention Carmen Policy?
Jim Druckenmiller could be a latter day Satan to Tim Tebow’s current Messiah. You know, even though Druckenmiller is in obscurity now, I would still see Scot McCloughan looking at him if he were in this draft. I mean come on now, he is a ScotM prototype. Big, Big, Big, hell just fill in the blanks after the word Big. Policy saw Druck as Big, with a Big arm, Big body, and nothing else. Do you remember when you realized there is no Santa Claus ? It came to me that weekend , witnessing the the GM of the team you root for draft a QB primarily to show up a guy like Bill Walsh, yet, the one of the primary reasons why they drafted Drucknmiller was due to his strength, not because of what scouts had told them, but a videotape of your future franchise QB pulling a Magnus sized truck with his waist. Question: What did Carmen Policy see in Druckenmiller that we didn’t?
I’ll give it a Jeopardy break here ……. . …. ………… . …. . .
Answer is : "I see a little Joe Montana in him" - Carmen Policy
I’m a fan that speaks to you from the heart. You are here contributing to this forum because we all share the same glee and feel the same pain. I just want to let you know how all this has been a part of my life, from child to adult. What I’m sharing with you are moments of my life not only as a 49er fan, but how in life, we all share the moments of triumphs along with the losses amongst each other. Listen here, you’re not a 49er fan because you post on this site. You’re a true 49er fan because you found it. Even though I have shared many close moments with my immediate family when it comes to football, I’m now most involved with this growing family here.
So, every day is Xmas to me again. Thanks to you, and to hell with Carmen Policy.
Footnote: one of my childhood heroes passed on today, Merlin Olsen. RIP.