(By Daisy Barringer)
I know there are people out there who don’t love—or even LIKE—football. What I don’t understand is WHY. Since the end of snowboarding season, my Sundays have been spent working, lackadaisically brunching, or putting in quality bonding time with my DVR. But now that football season is here, I have something to live for again. A reason to get out of bed. And even better? It makes me happier than almost anything I can think of. Like, literally all day yesterday I couldn’t stop announcing to anyone who would listen just how MUCH I love football.
Of course, there are some key components involved in order to create a recipe for a truly exciting game. Ideally, the game should be close throughout; if more than one touchdown separates you, it’s too easy to get complacent. In fact, just to ensure your emotions are that of a bi-polar person, your team should also be behind at some point. The final drive should give the other team the potential to win, but ultimately, your team must come out victorious; otherwise, you end up with all of those highs only to walk out feeling like death.
The 49ers did not disappoint yesterday, giving us just that: a football game that was exciting to watch, showed off how astounding they're going to play this season. The game also left us biting our nails and making deals with God. Ultimately, however, they brought home the victory, beating stupid Green Bay by 34-28.
I have a rule that I’m not allowed to drink too much the night before football games. Unfortunately, I do poorly with rules, so I’m pretty sure I spent Saturday night accosting a piano player at John Foley’s who had the audacity to call football "lame" and then say "Go Raiders." The trolls. Why do I feed them?
Nonetheless, I woke up Sunday morning in the best mood of my life, ready to go. One quick decision about what to wear (I went with a Niners’ cowgirl look), and my friend and I were in an Uber en route to Candlestick. (Muni SERIOUSLY needs to start running buses more than two hours before kickoff. It’s offensive. Even if arriving in an air-conditioned town car is rather pleasant.)
Words can’t do justice to the feeling I received walking into the sea of red and gold in the parking lot. It’s easy to forget during pre-season just how far people take their outfits, tailgates, and enthusiasm. The 49ers pop-up tents everywhere. Cornhole, footballs, mini grills, gourmet spreads, and huge flat screen TVs in the back of trucks. I mean, when I die, just spread my ashes in the parking lot. At least my final resting place will be with my people.
Sure, there were some Green Bay fans there, but not nearly as many as you’d think considering how notorious they are for traveling to see their team play. Once inside, their “Go Pack Go!” chants were only loud enough to hear over the Niners’ fans on a few occasions. And one of those instances was while Green Bay was on offense. If you’re stupid enough to scream loudly while your QB tries to communicate the play, I’ll take it.
Clearly, the big story of the day was Anquan Boldin. Basically: I love him. Like: a lot. I’ll admit I was slightly annoyed when we signed him in March; after all, his team had just crushed my hopes and dreams and left me bedridden for an entire week. But then I got over it because if there’s one thing we needed, it was a WR who could produce. And omg, did he produce. Thirteen passes for 208 yards and a TD. And just to prove how phenomenal that is? He’s now tied for fourth on the 49ers’ all-time list of single-game receptions and eighth in receiving yards.
I hoped he’d produce, sure, but I was blown away by just how confident and composed he was. Oh, and what did we have to give to get him? A SIXTH-ROUND DRAFT PICK. I mean, basically we got him for free. Except all of the money we’re now paying him, but whatever: worth it! Also, the Ravens suck now, so that feels good too. The best part? That was his first regular season game with Kaepernick. As Boldin said, “"The more we play together, the better we'll be.” Personally, I can’t wait.
But let’s not forget Kaepernick. (Like anyone could forget Kaepernick.) Three TDs, 412 yards passing, and no interceptions. The best part? Everyone loves to say how Kap is just a running quarterback. In fact, last time we faced the Packers, he set rushing records. This time? He only ran for 22 yards. But who cares because he consistently hit his two biggest targets, Boldin and Vernon Davis. Sorry Randy Moss, but though Kap and VD might have lacked rapport last year, I’m pretty sure they’re on the same page this year. A dangerous duo, for sure. So hahahaha other NFL teams, but Kaepernick isn’t a running quarterback. He’s a quarterback in all respects and that sucks for you because he’s also damn good at his job.
What’s crazy is how well the Packers stopped the Niners running game. Gore and Hunter both had some good runs, but this was not a game that happened on the ground (the Packers also struggled to get anything going with the run). In a way this is disconcerting—we need to be able to run the ball—but it’s also refreshing. The most fun football games to watch are the ones where the ball spends lots of time in the air. Especially when your team is bringing it down for big gains. Mostly, I feel confident that we can do both. It will be interesting to see what happens next week against Seattle. (More about that on Friday.)
Listen, the Niners had some stupid mistakes, the biggest one being SO MANY missed tackles. Rookie safety Eric Reid also had a few missed tackles at the beginning of the game, but after his second quarter interception, he looked pretty great and I definitely professed my love for him several times. Although, let’s be honest, I professed my love for everyone several times. I even hugged the people around me and everyone knows I HATE HUGGING. (Now forget that I ever admitted that; I have a reputation to maintain.) We also had a lot of really dumb penalties (11 for 85 yards) and Dawson missed a field goal, but I’m going to forgive all of those mistakes as just brushing off the cobwebs and getting back into a rhythm.
Anyway: WHO CARES because we totally beat the Pack!
Which felt good for so many reasons, only one of which is that Clay Matthews had to suck it. (Yes, “suck it.” I’m 12.) Seriously though, his late hit on Kaepernick during which he attempted to force Kap into giving him a piggy back ride was totally ridiculous. He spent all week talking about how he was going to hit the QB, but since he couldn’t actually do it (he did get a sack later in the game), he had to go for it when he had the opportunity even though Kap was already out of bounds. Classy.
The best part, however, was watching Joe Staley run over to the sideline to defend his guy. I just love Staley. Not only does he play well, but he has so much heart. He’s just fun to watch on and off of the field. Clay Matthews then HIT Staley in the helmet, which, last I checked, is cause for an ejection. Instead, the refs called a late hit on Matthews and a personal foul on Staley, but then screwed up and let the Niners replay the down.
RESULTING IN AN ANQUAN BOLDING TOUCHDOWN, the best F-you I saw all day. I mean, my friend who was fifteen sections over ran all the way down to my seats just so we could high five. It was a thing of beauty.
A few non-football related notes. The half time show was a total bust. I think some people were supposed to parachute onto the field? Instead, they totally missed and who knows where they landed. Hopefully, they aren't still stuck hanging on a flag pole or something.
The new clear bag policy is a total joke and here’s why: at least they looked inside your bag last season. Now they just assume they can see everything and in don’t check it at all. I decided to test the boundaries and walked inside with a bottle of vodka. (Vodka lemonades are delicious in the hot sun.) I look forward to enjoying more of them over the course of the season. Also, when they wand you, they never wand the bag. Basically, you could totally bring a gun inside the Stick, but please don’t because that would be dumb.
Lastly, sad news: Kevin Hayes, a 32-year-old Niners’ fan, fell to his death from an elevated walkway outside of Candlestick. My thoughts go out to his family. So sad.
All in all though, it was a great day to be a 49ers’ fan. Our team looked good. We beat the Packers. And I think we’re going to have a great season. I know I just said on Friday that I didn’t think we could make it to the Super Bowl, but god I hope I eat crow on that one.
In fact, the only other bummer of the day was the fact that it was so hot in the sun and I now have a brutal farmer’s tan on my legs and it will likely be months before I can get nekkid in front of someone. Not that boys are banging down my door, but still.
Ultimately though? Totally worth it. I’ll take a 49ers win over sex any day.