The past three years has been a train wreck of epic proportions for the San Francisco 49ers. And it is no surprise that people are amazed by how badly things went south. There is plenty of blame to go around. Jed York and Trent Baalke were the two constants during the rise and fall of the organization, but blame can sink down to plenty of other levels. Hell, you can paint at least a little blame on Jim Harbaugh and his wild personality (some will pin a lot more on him than I will).
No matter who you want to blame, the 49ers fall from near the top is unlike anything we have seen in some time. I won’t say we have never seen it because there is a lot of sports history to dredge through, but it is not something we see all that often. And considering the history of it, it would make for one heck of a documentary.
In the week since the end of the 2016 regular season, I have seen three separate mentions of the need to film a 30-for-30 on the 49ers story of the past five or six years. For those who don’t know, 30-for-30 is the award-winning documentary series Bill Simmons helped create at ESPN. They’ve made some amazing documentaries, and I feel like they could do a fantastic job with this story.
I know we say this for everything, but damn, might sacrifice my first born for a 30 for 30 on everything 49ers from final year of JH to now— David Neumann (@davidneumann_) January 2, 2017
David Neumann’s tweet was the first time I saw a 30-for-30 reference, but then I came across a quotation in Peter King’s MMQB column. In his quotations section, he said that on Sunday, a former 49ers staffer had this to say about the state of the 49ers right now:
“They’re going to do a 30-for-30 one day on the destruction of the franchise. I’ve talked to some people there, and there’s misery in that building.”
Later in the week, Andrew Brandt had a comment about the 49ers in his MMQB column looking at what NFC teams needed to do this offseason:
There will be an interesting 30 for 30 one day about the steep decline this team has had since being a play away from winning the Super Bowl a few short years ago and is now bereft of talent.
I don’t see anybody would not be fascinated by a documentary detailing the 49ers fall from grace. There would have to be coverage of the rise because a fall only matters when you’ve reached certain heights. You open with a quick montage of the struggles from 2003 to 2010. Then you cut to black, and show Jim Harbaugh’s introductory press conference. That is followed by highlights from 2011 to 2013 as the franchise gets so close to Super Bowl glory. The interviews focus on the positives that arose during that time.
Then, we cut to black again. That is followed by some of the news reports of the Harbaugh-Browns trade rumors that percolated in 2014. That’s when you start getting the interviewees talking about how things were starting to crumble. I think the bulk of this would be 2014 through the firing of Trent Baalke. That is sort of the end of that era to some extent. Now, if Jed York departs the 49ers or his role goes to someone else, that would make for another book-end point, but you get the general idea.
I don’t know if they would be able to land the kinds of interviews that could make this a great documentary. It is interesting from a general sense, but without more nitty gritty on what was going down that led to all this, it would not be quite as good. But if they could, this would be a pretty fantastic documentary. Or maybe I can just get started on the book!