Until yesterday, Niners Nation had never truly known great pain from the team. The team lost tough battles along the way, but for us as fans, yesterday stands as the worst experience of the last five years. I know the 49ers history dates to well before Niners Nation, but as this community has grown, it has become a bit of a history unto itself. During that time, we've experienced some bitter defeats that felt pretty awful at the time.
Now, we sit here a day later after the toughest loss since Niners Nation has been around, and one of the toughest losses in franchise history. I suppose it is fitting that arguably the two toughest losses in franchise history were both against the Giants ('91, '12), featured a key late turnover (Craig, Williams) and saw the Giants kick a game-winning field goal (Bahr, Tynes) to end the game.
That game was a roller-coaster of emotion and it ended with one final swing through. One minute I'm jumping up and down after a huge sack, the next minute I've been basically knocked on my butt by the Kyle Williams fumble. The Giants ran several plays after the fumble and there were some commercials mixed in, which led to a sort of half-dazed viewing of the final moments of the game. I was hoping we'd see a huge special teams play to save the day, but it was not to be.
In those moments after the game I was busy getting a post up at NN and a few other things done. However, once I finished that all up and was about to grab some dinner with a friend, the emotion came out. It's been a while since I felt like that after a game, and in fact, I don't know if I've ever felt quite like that following a 49ers game. But after what has been just over a calendar year of a wild ride with Jim Harbaugh and this 49ers team, I think I was just emotionally spent.
The 2011 season was a wild ride starting with the Jim Harbaugh signing and finishing up with yesterday's game. There were low expectations coming out of the lockout, but somehow this team found a way to overcome adversity and shock the world to a certain extent.
For Niners Nation, since the lockout ended, it has been go-go-go thanks to a truncated offseason. I have been able to enjoy the 49ers magical run this season, but I haven't had a ton of time to reflect on the wild ride that has been the last six months. As I was sending out a tweet about something or other, it all just sort of hit me like a ton of bricks.
In years past, the 49ers have been eliminated from postseason contention with at least a couple weeks worth of regular season action remaining. That has provided time to transition towards the offseason and get ready for reviewing the season that was and a look ahead to free agency and the NFL Draft.
This year, it has all come to a screeching halt without the usual transition period. We'll still have plenty of content for you here at Niners Nation, but my apologies if things are a little haphazard at times in the coming days. Last night, I found myself wondering thinking, "What now?" I know there is the offseason to discuss and there is plenty of recap material to dissect, but at times over the last twelve hours, I just haven't felt like any of that. I'm slowly starting to bounce back, but it's still a tough loss to get over.
At the same time, I got a great tweet last night that sort of sums it up. I'm not one to get overly emotional, but yesterday hit me like a ton of bricks, as I'm sure it did for many of you.
@NinersNation still proud to be a Niners fan...honestly weeping like a baby makes one feel alive— Chris Wagner (@ChrisWagnerEsq) January 23, 2012