The San Francisco 49ers are set to face the Green Bay Packers later today in their first Monday Night Football game since 2016. This is one of four prime time games for the team, and it was once one of five. They have two MNF games, one Thursday Night Football game, and at one point had two Sunday Night Football games. Last week, however, the NFL announced the 49ers were flexed out of their Week 7 SNF game against the Los Angeles Rams. They face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13 SNF, and odds are good that gets flexed out as well.
The prime time games were made with the 2018 roster in mind, but that roster is decimated due to injuries. The most significant, and the reason for the flexing is the loss of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He led the team to five straight wins to close out the 2017 season, making the team media darlings in the process.
The loss of one and likely a second SNF game didn’t sit well with the team. It is a vote of no confidence that anyone will watch the injury-riddled 49ers, led by C.J. Beathard. Tight end George Kittle was asked about this decision and gave what is probably the most awesome response:
“Everyone says we have a lot of injuries and kicked out of a Sunday Night Football game. And no one really expects us to win on Monday night. Screw them and we’re going to do everything that we can to show up. We’re gonna ball out. That’s about it.”
When asked how he felt about being kicked out, Kittle responded, “You can talk to Coach Shanahan about that.”
Shanahan did have some thoughts on the matter. He was asked about being pulled on Saturday:
“I think we want to win as bad as anything, so I don’t think there’s anything that can make us want to win more. Any time people count you out and don’t think there’s something you can do, I think that challenges a lot of people. I know when you go into something and you want to show people what you can do, you hope the whole world is watching, not just your own state. So, yeah, we like being on national TV. We like to prove people wrong. We’re excited we get to do it this week. That won’t be the case next week, but we’re glad right now that we get that opportunity.”
The 49ers/Packers matchup was originally seen as a really fun game with Jimmy Garoppolo squaring off against Aaron Rodgers in a potential re-birth of the 90s rivalry. I myself said they would be very similar in the progression of their rebuilds and predicted whoever won would be who had the ball last. That’s just not the case now. The Packers have have their own issues—injury or otherwise—and they are going into a game against a 49ers team that has lost a lot of firepower over the weeks.
Hopefully C.J. Beathard and company can show that the 49ers can still put on a good game in prime time.