A Note on SBLIII

Showing solidarity with the thugs who jumped Jussie Smollett.

Of all the entitled billionaire owners in the NFL, you’d be hard pressed to find one more stupid and undeserving than San Francisco’s Jed York. He got where he is today just by plopping out of the right vagina onto this planet. When asked what his toughest decision in life has been he replied, “whether to go to grad school or assume the Presidency of the 49ers.” The Niners have been league doormats ever since.

That is with the exception of the Harbaugh years, 2011-2014. During that era they staged a miraculous turn-around going to three consecutive NFL title games and one Super Bowl. In 2014 Little Jed incongruously started dismantling the winning program, fired Harbaugh, reduced payroll expenses significantly and once again wore the mud from the league’s cleats.

What happened?

In June 2010, after decades of futility trying to build a new San Francisco stadium, Santa Clara voted to authorize use of their land to construct one. The quest to pull together private construction money wasn’t easy because it was right after the Bush Crash of aught eight.  Finally, coinciding with the groundswell of enthusiasm for Harbaugh’s successful first year, funds were secured in December 2011.

There was still wide-scale fan resentment for moving the team 50 miles away. But the euphoria of title games and a Super Bowl helped gloss over the transition. When Levi Stadium opened in 2014, the 49ers went 8-8 and began the rapid decline back to Little Jed’s natural habitat, loserville.

The relationship between Commissioner Goodell and Pat’s Owner Kraft requires a closer examination.

Would the NFL really go to that much trouble to fix things just to build a stadium and maintain a fan base? They would if it’s one of the nation’s most affluent regions and the 6th largest TV market in the country (back then, it’s now 8th).

Which brings us to the second largest TV market, Los Angeles. After two decades with no team but plenty of Southern California apathy, the Rams returned for the 2016 season. The fans’ response was lukewarm. Concerns rose when there was a precipitous decline in attendance in 2017. Then a sudden, unexplained upswing in regular season fortunes, a blown last minute call that gets them into the Super Bowl, and it’s now hoped Ram Fever will once again sweep the Southland.

This view is usually dismissed as that of a paranoid conspiracy nut. One who probably also believes the mega-bucks owners at the behest of a wealth-preservationist President would collude to keep a star quarterback out of work. Just because he won’t tow the MAGA line.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for MAGA. As long as it means Make the AFC Great Again so we can go back to two competitive conferences.

Of the top 17 media markets in the country, the AFC has numbers 7, 10, 16, and 17. All the rest are NFC. (They share number 1, New York). It explains why the National Conference sends a variety of teams to the Super Bowl each year and the American Conference seems to be stuck on the number 10 market, Boston. (Throw in the “New England” moniker and you get the 37 (CT) and 52 (RI) markets as well.)

With ratings the name of the game, we’ll probably never see the dream matchup of New Orleans (51) versus Buffalo (53) in a Roman Numeral showdown.

Multi-billion dollar businesses rarely just leave things to chance.

Let’s bring sexy back. The NFL’s true MVP.

 

 

The Curse

My vintage midriff tee. Unofficial and unlicensed by the NFL. The best kind.
My vintage midriff tee. Unofficial and unlicensed, the best kind.

I was back east and couldn’t attend the World Series parade on Friday. I’m extremely bummed I missed my shot at a pair of Mad Bum jockeys.

These championship celebrations always remind me of the best one: the first Super Bowl win. What helped make that one so great was, after years of mediocrity or worse, it was so unexpected.

I watched halfheartedly the first part of that season since the Niners always fizzled out in the end. As they kept winning I started talking them up to David on our Sunday evening trips to the Midnight Sun. He didn’t care about sports but as momentum built he sensed a moment in history and became a fan.

After the Clark catch we wondered where we would watch the Super Bowl. We wanted to be out in public but the only gay venue with large screen television was the Sun. Gay men were apathetic sports fans at the time, we weren’t sure they’d even show it.  We took our chances and went over to the Castro at halftime. It was on and there was a decent crowd.

We drank Cape Cods because the color matched the Niner’s uniforms. After the thrilling victory David and I went out into the street. The crowd of 50 began to grow exponentially. We went into the package liquor store for a pint of Hennessy, then into the Star Pharmacy for all the value packs of toilet paper we could carry. We started tp-ing the intersection. Soon the mob caught on and every available roll in the Castro was hanging on the cross-wires at 18th.

The crowd was now thousands deep. Cars couldn’t get through and Muni, though a little more persistent, gave up too. The driver on the last bus just stopped. He emptied everyone off, locked the doors and abandoned the vehicle.

The vacated bus was a challenge I couldn’t resist.  I squeezed through the pneumatic doors and started dancing alone up and down the aisle. The crowd rocked it back and forth. I sat at the controls and got the wipers going. Then the lights flashing and plenty of horn. I realized it was electric and didn’t need a key so I started it and put it in gear. It lunged about 2 feet. I thought “danger zone: drunk, thousands of people, heavy equipment–not good.” I shut it off, opened the doors and the masses streamed on.

David and I went on to other neighborhood celebrations like the bonfires in the Mission and the Broadway crowd in North Beach. It was such an odd feeling,  kids who would have beaten me up any other day of the year were high fiving and hugging me that night. The next morning we each woke up with one of those aluminum crowd control barricades in our apartments. We weren’t sure how they got there.

David. The best PR in town.
David. The best PR in town.

We told our friends about our wild night. David’s version, however, had more legs since he emphasized I “stole” a Muni bus. So effective was he that 20 years later people still asked me, “did you really steal that bus?” As if I’d taken it on the 49 mile scenic drive. I knew better than to trample on a good image, I would just shrug and smile.

Last year I finally asked David what he’d said. He replied sheepishly, “oh, that you drove it to the end of the block.”

***

I once told my friend Carl about my game day superstitions. Not watching a batter and the guy would get a clutch hit. Scrubbing the bathroom and the Niners would pull out a last-minute victory. He was skeptical, “you really think you have that much power?” Yes, I think I do.

I’ve lived in San Francisco for 42 years. Before I moved here neither the (San Francisco) Giants nor the 49ers had ever won a championship. In the past four decades we’ve won 5 Super Bowls and 3 World Series. If I lose my apartment in the City and am forced to move away, well………

Next: C’mon Ride That Booty

Previous: Life at Home, Alone

The complete saga, From the Beginning