by Daisy Barringer
The headlines this morning are pretty funny. “49ers Drop Heartbreaker to the Giants,” “49ers, Colin Kapernick Suffer Heartbreak in Meadowlands,” “49ers Lose a Heartbreaker.” Why are they funny, you ask? Because they imply fans actually believed the 49ers could pull out a win over the mediocre New York Giants.
Many years ago, I used to go to a bar in New York's East Village called the St. Mark’s Ale House every Sunday to watch the 49ers with a group of guys I met while watching football there. Time does what time does and thanks to babies, and wives, and careers, almost none of us live in New York anymore, but we do still keep in touch over group text (yay, technology!). I don’t know how to explain this particular group except to say we were all there every Sunday, butts in chairs, Budweiser bottles in hand, rooting for our boys. (I was young; no one had explained to me yet that “Boys drink Bud; girls drink Bud Light.”) I never had to call to check in and make sure we were all still meeting up. Every. Single. Sunday. We were there. We screamed, we yelled, we eventually got 86ed from the bar for getting in the face of some loser Cowboys fan. (Okay, only I got 86ed; I was young. My temper was how shall we say it excessive.) During this time we had seasons when the 49ers only won four games. Or six games. But we still showed up. And we never stopped believing.
If you looked at the text messages we sent each other before, during, and after last night's game against the Giants, you would have no idea this was the same group of fans. We all bitched about having to even watch the game. Laughed at what a joke it was bound to be. Sent pics of the booze we were drinking to ease the pain. Ironically discussed the commercials. #AllDayBreakfast
We didn’t get into why we’re so over it, why we don’t believe, why watching the 49ers suddenly feels like a chore and not the highlight of the week. But it was clear we all felt the same way. And it’s clear that the people we blame the most are the ones running the organization.
Is it perhaps that we can tell Jed York and Trent Baalke don’t believe? And if the dudes in charge of it all don’t even think we can win, then why on earth should we?
Yes, the 49ers looked adequate last night. I’m not going to say they looked amazing because they didn’t; they looked like a mediocre NFL team who has some talent, but can’t get its shit together (in part thanks to crappy coaching). And yes, that allowed them to play the NY Giants tougher than we’ve seen in recent weeks. But seriously, was ANYONE surprised when they didn’t manage to actually pull out the W? I couldn’t even muster up disappointment because to feel disappointment, I would have to have had hopes and expectations. And I don’t have those anymore.
I’ll admit the offense looked a helluva lot better than in previous weeks. Good for them. None of that matters if the defense regresses. (Eli Manning completed 41 of 54 attempts for 441 yards and 3 TDs.) Yes, it was great to see Hyde rush for 93 yards and Boldin get 8 catches and a TD. But it wasn’t enough because the defense missed easy interceptions, including one that would have ended the game. And ultimately, when the game was on the line, they couldn’t stop Manning and his receivers. And so we lost.
I like to think of myself as a “So what if the glass is half empty? I can always fill it with more vodka” kind of girl. An optimist, as it were. Right now that’s a hard thing to be with the 49ers. Like, I appreciate that Bowman thinks the 49ers “have a bright future with [them] being so young and having so much adversity early in the season.” But the problem is that adversity, in many cases, is actually just incompetence. Incompetence that starts with Jed York, trickles down to Baalke, and, sadly, lands heavily on the coaching staff. I don’t deny there is some real talent on this team. But talent means nothing if there’s not someone there to cultivate it. (R.I.P. Jim Harbaugh.)
After the game was over, Kaepernick said the 49ers “still have the opportunity to go 12-4.” The Niners are currently 1-4, which means that Kap thinks maybe the Niners could win 11 straight games. Sure, statistically what he said is true: the Niners COULD win out the rest of the season. But they aren’t going to. And everyone knows it and to even say such an idiotic thing when we’re clearly one of the worst teams in the league.
Kapernick also said something else that rubbed me the wrong way. “It’s a game at the end of the day. It’s not life and death.” Again, technically true. Football IS a game. But to imply it’s JUST a game? Which is why I think he was doing? That I’m not okay with. Because what Kaepernick thinks it’s just a game is a game that requires a stadium built with taxpayer dollars. It’s a game that people spend thousands of dollars to have the “privilege” to watch in person. It’s a game that pays him millions to play. It’s a game that brings a group of strangers together in a bar to become lifelong friends. So no, Kap. It’s not life and death. But it is many people’s livelihood. And the bright spot in many fans’ days. So maybe don’t brush it off like it’s not a big deal. Like it’s just a game. Because, whether you like it or not, for many, many people, it is so much more than that. And it should be for you as well.
Next Week: The Baltimore Ravens come to SF. Oh, sorry: Santa Clara. The Niners actually have a shot at winning this one. Still, I think I’ll sell my tickets. Even copious amounts of $12 beer can’t make watching two 1-4 teams battle it out to see who sucks less any fun.