Last year, after the first Crabtree fade, I helped my girlfriend and best friend gather their belongings for their trip back home. A somber ending to an exhausting day. I then went home and talked about the season with my grandfathers and went to bed. I stayed up all night, visions of Jacoby Jones running through my restless mind.
After Kyle Williams, I dry-heaved in my friend's laundry room. If I had been able to eat anything during the second half, I would have thrown it up. To this date, it is the worst I have felt after any sporting event.
And now, after "Crabtree Fade II," I sit in my college dorm room. I have locked my door. My lights are off. The muffled post-game reactions of my dorm-mates bounces off my walls. My phone explodes with messages from all over the big blue marble. My twitter is the object of much trolling. I will be here until tomorrow.
This is misery.
Misery has many forms. And I know, I know. This is not the worst misery. Misery is being a fan of the Browns, a fan of the Cubs, a resident of Detroit.
But this is misery. And this, in my opinion, is the worst.
Watching Tim Rattay was bad. Watching Cody Pickett was worse. Trying to convince myself that Shaun Hill was a playoff bound quarterback and that Arnaz Battle was a worthy fantasy pickup did not produce fun times.
Watching Kentwan Balmer was miserable. Did anyone enjoy watching Rashaun Woods play? Of course not.
Every Sunday, I wear an Andy Lee jersey. I love my Andy Lee jersey. But let's be real, I have an Andy Lee jersey not only because he's a fantastic punter, but also because I saw him after about 75% of offensive possessions from 2004-2010.
I've never forgotten the days of Jim Hostler, of the times when opposing teams would put everyone but the cotton candy vendors and stadium security in the box to stop Frank Gore.
I know the sucky niners. I'm no bandwagoner.
I've made a "Put In Nate Davis" sign before. I remember Darrell Jackson's drops, Ronnie Heard getting beat deep, being excited when Troy Smith entered the game. I was watching during "We want Carr," during Phillip Adams (the original Kyle Williams moment) muffing the ball along the sideline on MNF, and when Antonio Bryant was our "best" receiver.
Over the course of my young life, I have directed a lot of anger towards Moran Norris.
And yet, this is worse. Failure sucks. Failure when you've tasted success, when a chance at Super Bowl redemption is yards away, is worse.
On the Play-calling:
To be fair, hindsight is 20-20 and I am most certainly playing the result here.
BUT... WHY THE CRABTREE FADE?
Did we not learn anything from the Super Bowl? If you're going to throw the ball up in the air and hope your guy makes the play:
A) That man better be Anquan Boldin. Hell of catch over Earl Thomas.
B) The man guarding him better not be Richard Sherman.
I'm not sure who to blame here. Roman for calling a play with that route, Harbaugh for approving it, or Kaep for throwing it. It's not like we haven't seen this movie before.
Super Bowl 47: Fade to Crab, incomplete, season over.
Week 14: Fade to Crab, pick by Byron Maxwell.
WHY THE CRAB FADE?
On Colin Kaepernick:
I think most of the off-field criticism of Colin Kaepernick is absurd.
I do think that Kaepernick's attitude toward his media obligations is less than stellar, and that he needs to realize that providing answers to the media that go beyond 3 syllables will do him no harm.
However, to call him unprofessional because he wears a backward hat is reckless. To say he needs to act more like Brady and Manning is unnecessary and a bit racially insensitive, and to criticize his vest choice is un-informed.
Kaep has lots of room for improvement. So does every other quarterback, especially when they're 26 years old. Kaepernick has a rare skill set and boatloads of potential. He will come back stronger. He will get better. He will have more great games. He will have bad games.
Colin Kaepernick is a damn good quarterback. 90% of the NFL teams would take him immediately as their starter. Us Niner fans should be grateful to have our future resting in the hands of such a talent.
On the Real Worst Part of This Game:
Russell Wilson's broken play heave was not the worst part of this game.
Marshawn Lynch's undeniably "Beast Mode" touchdown run was not the worst part of this game.
Kaep's god-awful "here ya go Kam Chancellor" interception was not the worst part of this game.
The game losing interception was not even the worst part of this game.
The worst part of this game was Navorro Bowman's injury, with Mike Iupati's broken ankle taking a close second. Early reports are that Bowman's ACL is torn, and that he might not play a significant part of next year.
Now that we have the result, watching the clip of Bowman's leg bend like a noodle should bother you much more than Sherman's season ending tap-back.
Injuries bring out the harsh reality of football, and watching Bowman's season end was the most painful wound in a game that slowly bled out to its fatal conclusion.
Speaking of Richard Sherman:
There's no question that Richard Sherman's post-game antics lacked class. He did not handle his success (based on his comments) in a manner that reflected an awareness of his team's accomplishment.
He's Richard Sherman! This is what he does! If you were shocked by his comments, his arrogance, or his volume, you shouldn't be. Abrasive ranting is kind of Dick's thing.
This is the same guy who asked Tom Brady "U Mad Bro?"
This is the same guy who tapped Coach Harbaugh on the ass and then ran off after week 2.
This is standard Richard Sherman behavior. But let's get this straight:
He is not stupid.
Richard Sherman is a Stanford graduate. Richard Sherman had a 4.0 high school GPA. Richard Sherman had an above average Wonderlic score. His score was 18 points better than our beloved Frank Gore, and I don't think any of us would call him stupid (rightfully so, I might add). You have to be some level of smart to be an NFL football player, especially a great one. Richard Sherman is elite not just because of his athleticism or 40 yard dash time, but because he is a very intelligent human being.
He should not inspire this reaction:
Nor this one:
richard sherman is a fucking dumb, dirty nigger
Especially that one. C'mon people.
He is arrogant.
As ESPN multimedia journalist Dan LeBatard has alluded to many times, you have to have an abnormal amount of confidence to make it to the top level of professional sports.
Say what you want about Sherman, he's a great corner. And you have to be very confident in your abilities to be the player he is.
Could he be a lot more professional? Sure. Would he be getting all of this flak if he were white? I think so. Was his trashing of Crabtree necessary? Of course not.
But, I don't think Richard Sherman was out of line. Because if you know who Richard Sherman is, where he comes from, and some of the details of his story, this is right in line with who Richard Sherman is.
Here's to shutting him up next year!
Thank you to the 2013 San Francisco 49ers.
Fandom is not about winning or losing. Remember why they call us "the 49er Faithful."