USA TODAY Sports
We take a look at the various stages of grief, and how each fan grieves over a loss individually.
Over the last 48 hours at Niners Nation, there have been plenty of complaints raised about the officiating in Super Bowl XLVII. There has also been anger, disappointment, confusion, etc about some of the play-calling at the end. Oh, and of course there is plenty of anger over the struggles of the secondary throughout Sunday's game.
I raise each of those points because everybody is dealing with this loss in their own way. Some are angry, some are depressed, some are trying to ignore it and move forward. While this is not the same as losing a loved on, there is a certain measure of grief involved following this loss. I have no trouble calling this the worst loss in franchise history. When you lose in the manner the 49ers lost, on the biggest stage in American sports, fans are going to be struggling to cope with it.
While I have no problems with people complaining about officials, or play-calling, or execution, I do think it is unfair to complain about the complainers at this point. At some point I do think people need to learn to move on, but with the "body still warm", it seems unfair to force others to comply with a particularly code for handling a loss. As long as people are not attacking other people, most reactions can be considered reasonable under the circumstances.
There has been some talk about sour grapes and 49ers fans being bitter. Well, OF COURSE WE'RE BITTER. The 49ers just suffered a brutal loss, so it seems only right that people would have sour grapes. I agree that there is a thing for losing with dignity, but I don't think it is undignified to lash out about officiating or play-calling or anything related to the on-field performance of the game.
For now, we each have to get through our grief in our own ways. Others may scoff, but given the emotion that comes with sports, and particularly our strong communities, there is a measure of grief to be considered.
Generally speaking, you've got denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think we all go through them in different ways. The only denial I think I've dealt with thus far came after the Crabtree incompletion when I had the faintest of hopes the 49ers would figure out something even with only one timeout. I was not ready to completely give up hope, but it would have taken a miracle to end all miracles to make that happen.
I think I've spent a good chunk of time in the depression mode since then. I think I'm coming out of that, and getting a bit more into anger mode. I banned a couple users from other sites who had a problem with how we were comporting ourselves. One complained about free speech issues in an email response. I basically said I wasn't banning for his viewpoint, I was banning him because he was being an ass and had no right to be that way a day after the loss.
I'm not really sure if bargaining will really play into anything at this point. While I don't know when I'll fully accept the loss, I do know that I have already begun the process of moving forward. Looking ahead to free agency and the draft is one way to do that. Although, I suppose that could also be some form of denial.
Whatever the case, grieve as you will. If it means complaining about officials, complain about officials. If it means complaining about the play-calling, complain about the play-calling. If it means just being quiet for a few days, do that. Aside from attacking other users, I think most things are fair game.