Quinton Patton. Why are we so fascinated with him that we have created a bandwagon to follow him?
By most stats Patton hasn't wowed things as a rookie. Before his foot injury he had one catch for zero yards. Even after he was fully healed, Mario Manningham was above him until MM basically went on IR. His next touches weren't until week 17 where he had two catches and one run. He has had one catch in the playoffs so far.
So again, why do we have a bandwagon for this guy?
There are many things we attribute to this rookie WR. For some of us, he represents a drive and desire to win. Patton, after hearing he had been drafted by the 49ers, bought a plane ticket with his own money and flew to San Francisco. He wanted to start as soon as possible to prepare to be in the NFL. Though he was told he couldn't go until later, he impressed Coach Harbaugh. He further impressed Harbaugh by admitting he had a lot to learn, working hard despite injuries (though he did annoy them making one-handed catches he wasn't supposed to be doing), and not relying on his initial "first impression" but continuing to work hard. He wants to win, and knows it is done through hard work.
For others, it's his athletic ability. He has made some fantastic catches and has great quickness (second only to Tavon Austin in the rookie class). He doesn't take a play off. He can block. He is willing to run inside if the lane is available.
Some love his team-first mentality, a necessary trait to be on the San Francisco 49ers. No one player is above another. As stated above, he will block for another runner to get those extra yards. He will play decoy so Boldin or Crabtree can get a vital first down. He played special teams when asked to. He listens and learns from other players, especially Boldin. He doesn't complain. Even after making a catch that helps win a game, he goes back to work and doesn't expect special treatment.
There are a few who like his fiery spirit and his love of fun. He will talk; in fact he still maintains he is the best rookie WR this year. He has been known a time or two to be involved in #dunkcam (note: if the General is pointing his camera phone at you, be prepared to be dunked on.) He's been known to razz other players, and can trash-talk with the best of them while maintaining his cool. He loves the game. Even with all of this, he will go out of his way to help those less fortunate than himself. On those things, he does it not to gain popularity, but to help make someone else's day a little bit brighter.
All of these elements add up to a good guy and a baller. However, for me, what he represents is hope for the future. Quinton Patton is a young man who has fought his way up from a community college to be an NFL player on one of the top 4 teams in the league. He is not satisfied with the status quo. He has a zest for life, and a spirit of play. He listens, learns, and then DOES. He will be a great example to others who will surely come in the future, and will feed off of him to make themselves better.
Whatever your reason for joining the battlewagon, I thank you for being on this journey with me. Watching this kid play in the few opportunities he has been given has been a special treat. But hear me now: this journey is far from over. We have a game against the Seahawks at the Clink coming up. When we slay that giant, we then have a Super Bowl against an all-time great (whether it be Brady or Payton). And after that, we have many, many more seasons to watch Quinton Patton become better. And yes, we will win the Super Bowl this year, and have a few more Lombardi's before Patton retires. And why do I dare to make such a bold prediction?
BECAUSE WE ARE THE GENERAL'S BATTLEWAGON, AND WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT!
Welcome to the always open 7-11!