By Daisy Barringer
Remember last week when I complained that Harbaugh’s coaching was a little too reminiscent of former coach, the conservative Mike Singletary? Believe me, I usually like being right; unfortunately, being right this time cost the 49ers the game.
I should be writing this post in a feverish post-game frenzy of exhilaration. There should be way too many sentences in all caps and a bevy of girlie exclamation points. I should be jumping up and down in 2 and 0 joy. But instead, I’m reporting on a 27-24 loss in overtime. To the Cowboys. The wretched, terrible, awful, horrible no-good Dallas Cowboys.
But I’m ahead of myself here. Let’s start at the beginning. The back of the 77x when I asked my friend Page to please hand me a beer. “Damn,” the Cowboys fan next to us said as I cracked open my ice cold Bud Light. “Everyone’s drinking beer. I wish I’d brought one.”
“Want one of these?” my friend Page asked. AND THEN HANDED THE COWBOYS’ FAN ONE OF OUR BEERS. (Oooh! All caps!)
Do I blame Page for being a kind and decent human being, a man who was raised well and enjoys sharing? YES. BECAUSE WE DON’T GIVE OUR BEERS TO COWBOYS FANS. Do I think that’s what lost us the game? PROBABLY. Well that and Harbaugh’s decision not to erase a fourth-quarter field goal and accept the penalty that would have given the 49ers a first down on the Dallas 22-yard line with 11:22 left in the game.
I was reading Twitter on the bus (because, unlike Page, I don’t talk to Cowboys’ fans) and I saw all of these tweets noting all the blue and white attire at Candlestick. I should have been prepared when we got off of the bus. But nothing can really prepare you for such lopsided fandom. And nothing can ever make it okay.
Our parking lot—our stadium—was overrun with people in blue and white (and so many, many tacky rhinestones) rooting for the Dallas Cowboys. And I don’t know which of you sell your tickets to these people, but it’s a disgrace and you should be ashamed of yourselves. I get that you’re probably like, “Oh, whatever, it’s just a football game,” but do you know what changes games? Crowd noise.
The Cowboys’ fans at yesterday’s game effectively destroyed our home field advantage. When your offense is driving down the field and they hear a roar of “defense! defense! defense!” from the stands, they’re demoralized. And if you’re the visiting team? Well, we think the Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo said it best. “That was possibly the difference,” Romo declared. “They were loud.”
Literally, Cowboys’ fans surrounded my seats. Cowboys’ fans who did not stop talking the entire game. And no, I didn’t start anything with them. (Although I did correct their football “knowledge” one or two or, um, seventeen times). Yes, I wanted to stab them in the eye with the pole of my Ticketmaster-sponsored 49ers flag, but I’m an adult and I like not being in jail, so I refrained. Just barely.
But seriously people: If I had assaulted a Cowboys’ fan do you know whose fault it would have been? That’s right: The 49ers’ “fan” who sold him the seat. (Also, mine, but let’s not get carried away with technicalities.)
I get that San Francisco is full of people who deserted their hometowns to live somewhere far superior. And I get that because San Francisco is one of the most amazing cities ever, people are going to continue to move here from places like Dallas and Green Bay and Seattle. And I get that even though they come to this city to live and work and play, they will forsake our home teams and, instead, root for the team who plays in the place they just abandoned. I get all of that, yes. But that doesn't mean we have to let them do it in our stadiums.
What happened yesterday in Candlestick park was a travesty. Not just the conservative play calling, the crappy offensive line and the non-existent defense, but the fact that our stadium was overrun with people rooting for the other team.
Should Harbaugh have taken the points off of the board and accepted the penalty and first down that would have given the 49ers a shot at a touchdown and the chance to run time off of the clock? Yes. I know that you’re never supposed to take points off of the board, but that decision to decline the penalty changes the game. The decision gives Dallas the chance to tie up the game, and ultimately, kick the game-winning field goal in overtime. That decision gives the huge crowd of Dallas Cowboys’ fan a reason to hope. A reason to cheer. And oh did they do that loudly.
So, yes. I blame Jim Harbaugh. His Singletary-inspired coaching lost us the game. But honestly, as long as we let Candlestick Park fill up with fans rooting for the other team, we don’t really deserve to win anyway.
Prediction for Next Week: San Francisco over CINCINNATI. Because we’re going to lose to the Eagles and we can’t go 1-3.