Hola Niners Nation! (Spanish for hello, not street for hello) I made the decision today to stop reading and start writing...I have been lurking on these threads for most of this season and have enjoyed the articles, analysis, comments, GIF's, trolling, and general feel of other Niner fans sharing the experience of following our favorite football team together. This is the best place online for non-biased (okay, maybe slightly biased but in the right way) 49er fans to go...now I just skip ESPN and the NFL sites!
More than just the typical "long time reader, first time poster" introduction, I really have something to say here...I'm convinced that there is a new dynasty on the horizon. (most of you feel it already too..or you wouldn't be here)
Growing up in the Bay Area (San Jose), I can remember every Christmas/New Years vacation in Merced, CA watching 49ers football with my die-hard granddad. I was 5 years old in 1988 and can still remember him pulling out a Super Beta tape (say what!) of "The Catch" to explain the significance to me, which even then was strong. I was born into it, molded by it and it's a family line...he actually moved to SF and lived there in the years after WW2 and was rooting for the Giants and Niners from the day each team arrived...and many of those years were without much to offer in the way of wins for his beloved boys from the Bay.
So I knew we were Niners fans but to be honest, that's where it sat for many years. I got into baseball real strong at the same age (he nearly died when my stepdad got me to be an A's fan...especially during the World Series!) and stayed with baseball. (I did switch to the Giants after McGuire/Canseco/Henderson left) Basketball I stopped watching after Jordan hit that last shot against the Jazz for his 6th ring, while fighting the flu...I was 12 or 13 and there hasn't been a need to take that sport up again!
So...enter football fandom.
This will probably get me banned, but.............I started following football (in a serious way) because of Tim Tebow. *ducks*
Okay, some background real quick before I get crucified (pun intended)...I was a real punk in high school, got arrested alot, spent some time "on vacation", and got cleaned up and married in college. I'm actually heavily involved in youth ministry and have been for years, working with teens through the church. So, while leaving out any buzz-words that might put people off...you can guess why I was into the Tebow story at first.
And it was a great time! He won games and made headlines of course, but...I started learning about football. I started watching the analysts and getting a real appreciation for the game. I sat in rapt attention as he threw for the 316 yards against the steelers and cheered when he hit the TD pass in OT and dropped to ground pounding his fist in the "Tebow" pose in the moment that would actually end up being his highest in the NFL.
And as this was happening (following Tebow), I began to wonder: what about the 49ers? In all honesty, i hadn't followed them because I knew they stunk for years and I didn't know any of the players anyways. But I decided to watch and see.
The first 49ers game I sat and watched as adult was the 2011 playoff game against the Saints. And I was hooked.
I remember feeling bad for Tebow when Tom Brady with a commanding lead punted away his future on a 3rd down the next week (the ownage makes even more sense now), but I was more excited for the next Niners game!
But unlike my buddy Tebow's game...this one didn't make me sad. It made me angry. I knew the better team lost...I knew it. Somehow, I could tell.
I didn't know any of the players, any of their strengths, that Harbs had taken over that year...any of it. It was my grandpas team in the playoffs...and I was rooting for the boys from the bay.
The next year I watched every game. I found about Alex Smith, about Akers, about Gore, about Davis. (being a n00b, my appreciation for the defense hadn't kicked in yet). I loved Harbaugh's craziness. I was pissed about Alex Smith and then convinced when Kap beat Brady with his arm in Foxboro in December.
I hosted a playoffs party at my house and invited my other youth ministry buddy and his parents, the youth pastors over...they were all Green Bay fans. ("He faked out the ENTIRE STADIUM!")
I cheered in Atlanta and cried at the Super Bowl. (well, not really cried but kinda on the inside) We should've won and again, you all know why. I don't need to say anything more.
This year, I followed everything. I watched every pre-season game. I followed Eric Reid through draft day and onto the starting 53. I kicked something when Crabtree got hurt. I joined a fantasy football league and nearly won. (my wife too...she's converted and will watch football if I'm not even home, even other teams. She's all about it and a Faithful forever.)
I really learned alot about the mechanics of football from the articles here, the comment threads, the all-22 breakdowns, etc...you guys have jumped my understanding of the game way up.
I could go over all the highlights of the season (my 2nd greenbay game party with the same people for opening day, lol), the lowlights (weeks 2-3, Carolina loss, jobbed by the refs in NO), the playoff run (really was great, all things considered) and the end, but I think that's all been well covered and is a little too fresh in everybody's heart and minds anyway.
I'm probably still too green and would be considered a homer but I think we are seeing the next 49ers dynasty upon us.
And I'm on record: I think it's because of Colin Kapernick.
He needs work on the progression reads (but made some good strides this year) could be better with the press (I watch alot of CSN Bay Area), and is young.
But he stood up and took the blame of the loss like a man. Something about that, seeing that press conference just did it for me...we have the right guy. Seeing the story on 49ers.com today that he's already back to work at the facility and is taking the General with him for off-season workouts, something in him that has to prove to everybody "he's the man"...he's the key piece that was missing. For whatever reason, the loss and his reaction has cemented it for me.
I'm 30 years old, grew up listening to hip-hop and Colin Kapernick isn't my grandpa's quarterback. He's my quarterback. I'm a 49er fan. And I believe the best is yet to come.
Bold Prediction: with Crab, Davis, Lattimore, Aldon, Reid, Bowman/Willis (my actual 2 favorite players...again you should know why) and yes, Kapernick...we will be in the NFC championship 3 times in the next 5 years. We will win 2 superbowls, number 49 and number 50 when we host it.
And I have my 5 year old son watching with me. Someday, it'll be his team too.