49ers Therapy Session

Doc: Hi Zach, how have you been?

Me: Been better, Doc, I’ve been a whole helluva lot better

Doc: Still pissed about the NFC Championship game I take it?

Me: You could say that Doc, but really, it goes a whole lot deeper than that.

Doc: Oh? Why don’t you kick back on the couch, prop up your feet, and take a load off.

Me: That sounds like a great idea.

Doc: So, you mentioned that you’re not just upset about the NFC Championship game, but something more?

Me: Yeah, you know Doc, I’ve been meaning to have this talk for a long time. I should have done it after last year’s Super Bowl. You see, I’ve been a fan of the San Francisco 49ers since I was 9 years old. I really love that team Doc, and when their season ends the way it has the past 3 seasons, it’s really emotionally devastating.

Doc: Ah, I see. You know Zach, for a second there I thought you actually had some real problems, but it sounds like you’re just upset over sports? Do you need to see a therapist to talk about sports-related disappointments, disappointments that you have literally no control over, and, in actuality, have no real tangible connection to your everyday life?

Me: Yes

Doc: Wow, OK, I guess I can take this conversation a little less seriously now.

Me: Thanks?

Doc: So anyway, you were saying?

Me: Yeah, so, about the 49ers…and thanks by the way for ruining my upcoming rant by putting it into prospective early on and making it seem super trivial.

Doc: You’re welcome?

Me: So, I’ve been waiting a long time for the 49ers to win the Super Bowl again Doc. A LONG ass time. Since 1995 to be exact. Back then, I assumed the 49ers winning the Super Bowl would be a semi-frequent occurrence. You can’t win it every year, but I figured at least once every 2-3 years.

Doc: Why haven’t the 49ers won the Super Bowl in so long Zach?

Me: (Sigh) What a loaded question Doc.

Doc: That’s what I’m here for. Please, enlighten me.

Me: Well, right after the 95’ Super Bowl, we lost both Deion Sanders and Ricky Watters to free agency, and I believe both Mike Shanahan and Ray Rhodes got head coaching jobs. It was like a fire sale and we lost some major pieces. Couple that with key injuries, and the ascendency of Brett fucking Farve, and the result was the Green Bay Packers eliminating us from the playoffs 3 consecutive years in a row.

Doc: That sounds frustrating. How did that make you feel?

Me: Almost as frustrating as getting asked a cliché “how does that make you feel” question by a therapist who literally just perfectly characterized exactly how it made me feel.

Doc: I take it you were frustrated?

Me: (Blank stare)

Doc: Please, go ahead…

Me: So, yeah, it was not only frustrating, it was infuriating, because they were beating us at our own game: the west coast offense. They did it better than us, and, as much as I hate to admit it, Brett Farve was….b….bet…..b…..no, no, no, I can’t say it. I can’t say it because it's not true. Brett Farve was a reckless redneck asshole QB with a strong arm and didn’t have the smarts or athleticism of Steve Young…Young was statistically better, but Farve always beat Young…mainly because the Pack usually had home field advantage, and a better defense.

Doc: So Young never beat Farve huh?

Me: Well, not until the 1999 NFC Wild Card playoff game at The Stick, or as I like to call it, the 2nd greatest game of all-time.

Doc: That must have been a good feeling, finally beating your old foe.

Me: Oh absolutely, and in dramatic fashion too. It was the best sports-related moment of my childhood. Super Bowl XXIX was great, but it felt like a formality. This game was epic, but I’ve talked about that before.

Doc: Yes, you talked about how you thought the 98’ 49ers were a team of destiny…but what happened after that game Zach?

Me: (Sigh) Garrison Hearst destroyed his knee on the 1st play the next week at Atlanta, and we ended up losing that game 20-18.

Doc: That must have been disappointing Zach.

Me: You’re really good at stating the obvious aren’t you?

Doc: That’s why they pay me the big bucks.

Me: Well, at least I can thank-you for not asking me “how it made me feel”.

Doc: You’re welcome?

Me: So anyway, the next year Steve Young gets knocked out by Aeneas Williams (because Lawrence Phillips didn’t pick up the block) on Monday Night Football and decides he needs to retire, and we went on the finish that season 4-12.

Doc: The end of an era.

Me: Indeed, it was really devastating. We had 16 consecutive 10-win seasons Doc. Not just winning seasons, but 10+ win seasons. No other team in the history of the NFL has ever come close to that. So not only did we have the most Super Bowl victories (well, tied with the asshole Cowboys) but our ability to string together 16 good seasons was unprecedented, and profound.

Doc: Hard to argue with that.

Me: I never thought I’d see the day Doc. 4-12, but I was somewhat surprised at how quickly we were able to rebound and start a new era of success, albeit a short-lived and equally frustrating one.

Doc: The Garcia years.

Me: Yes, you know, I’ve always been a big Jeff Garcia fan. He was like the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL: the dude never got any respect.

Doc: I suppose he was a pretty good QB.

Me: You bet your sweet tits he was.

Doc: Zach, forgive me for asking, but do you really want to relive the past 20 years of the San Francisco 49ers? I thought you had some specific, more recent issues you needed to work out?

Me: Oh, right, well, I do, but I’ll get to that later. You see you have to have some context to fully appreciate my angst Doc. I’m working my way up to that. Giving you some prospective on my trials and tribulations as a loyal 49er fan…

Doc: OK, please continue.

Me: Thanks.

Doc: You’re welcome?

Me: So anyway, in a matter of two years, my boy Jeff Garcia leads my 9ers out of the darkness and into the light with a 12-4 season.

Doc: Wow, that’s a great record. And what was the team’s reward for going 12-4? Maybe home field advantage, or certainly a 1st round bye right?

Me: You’d really think so Doc, but guess what our reward was?

Doc: What?

Me: A one-way ticket to lovely Lambeau Field in January to play Brett Farve and the Green Bay Packers.

Doc: Oh…them again?

Me: Yeah, that’s right, them again. And as scrappy a bunch as that 2001 team was, we weren’t going to win against Brett Farve in Lambeau in January…it just wasn’t going to happen.

Doc: So, I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive me, I lost count of how many times the Packers eliminated you from the playoffs again?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Was that 3 or 4 times? Oh, that’s right that would be the 4th time that your season was ended by Brett Farve and the Green Bay Packers.

Me: (continued blank stare…)

Doc: And….how did that make you feel?

Me: OK! You’re lucky I have a sense of humor…asshole…

Doc: I’m sorry, I can’t help myself.

Me: It really added to my passionate dislike of the Green Bay Packers, Doc. It really did. Have any more stupid questions?

Doc: Not at the moment.

Me: Thank you.

Doc: You’re welcome?

Me: So, we seemed to have something going with that Garcia team, had a good season the next year, were a Top 5 team if you ask me. We pulled off the 2nd greatest comeback in NFL playoff history against the Giants, but then we ran into a buzzsaw down in Tampa.

Doc: Wow, the 2nd greatest comeback in NFL playoff history? That’s quite an accomplishment.

Me: Yeah, but outside of San Francisco, no one seems to care or remember that game.

Doc: I wonder why?

Me: Because, like I said Doc, Jeff Garcia gets no respect, and I think fans of other teams resent the success and epicness of 49er playoff games.

Doc: Could it also be because the 49ers got their ass kicked in Tampa the following week?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: And that, you know, because of that, the prior accomplishment (if you want to call winning a wild-card game an accomplishment) was essentially irrelevant, since the 49ers couldn’t do anything with it in Tampa?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: What was the score of that Tampa game again? I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive me. I forgot.

Me: 31-6

Doc: Wow, quite a beating!

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Maybe it was jet-lag?

Me: Are you finished?

Doc: …I guess…please continue…so what happened after that season?

Me: We fired Mooch and hired Dennis Erickson.

Doc: Hah! Good one. You’re too funny.

Me: No really, we fired Steve Mariucci, who in spite of his short comings had done quite a lot with very little when you think about it, and we hired…Dennis Erikson.

Doc: Wasn’t he a good college coach?

Me: Apparently, I don’t really watch little-league football, but needless to say his college success did not translate well in the NFL.

Doc: Wow, so you mean essentially the same team that led the 49ers to two consecutive 10+ win playoff seasons suddenly didn’t do well under Dennis Erikson?

Me: (Sigh) Yes…we went 7-9 that year.

Doc: Wow that must have been disappointing.

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: So what happened the following year?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Did things get better?

Me: I don’t think I want to talk about it.

Doc: Oh, now don’t say that Zach. I’m here to help you, and I think it’s important to hear you talk about the trials and tribulations of being a loyal 49ers fan.

Me: You seem EXTRA interested in hearing about the 2004 season.

Doc: Not only that Zach, I’d also love to hear about the following seasons as well. Say, didn’t you move out to San Francisco in 2004?

Me: Yes

Doc: And you were there for 5 years right? From 2004-2009?

Me: Yes

Doc: That must have been awesome, to live in the home city of your favorite NFL team from your childhood. To finally be right there, cheering with them.

Me: Yeah…kind of.

Doc: What do you mean “kind of”?

Me: You know what I mean Doc…

Doc: No, I don’t have a clue? Please, enlighten me.

Me: 2004: 2-14...2005: 4-12

Doc: Wow, in 2005 you won twice as many games!

Me: (blank stare)...2006: 7-9

Doc: Nice upward trajectory going on there!

Me: 2007: 5-11

Doc: Aw shucks.

Me: You’re an asshole.

Doc: Now Zach, that’s not a very nice thing to say to your therapist.

Me: It’s a factual statement.

Doc: Let’s not get off subject, please continue…what was their record the following year?

Me: 7-9

Doc: Wow, so how many consecutive losing seasons was that? You’ll have to forgive me.

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: 4?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Oh, no, that would be 5. Sorry, I was confusing that with how many times the Packers beat you in the playoffs back in the day. That was 4 times. Anyway, you were saying?

Me: (blank stare).

Doc: Tell me, who were some of the QBs for the 49ers during that stretch of atrociousness?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Please, tell me. My thirst for facts about the mid/late-2000s San Francisco 49ers is palpable.

Me: Tim Rattay…Ken Dorsey…Trent Dilfer…JT O’Sullivan…Shaun Hill…Alex Smith…

Doc: Gee, it’s no wonder you had some many consecutive pathetic losing seasons.

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Most of those QBs are pitiful.

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: A true disgrace to the game.

Me: OK

Doc: I’m sorry, didn’t mean to dwell on that.

Me: Yes…I’m sure you didn’t.

Doc: (blank stare)

Me: (Sigh)…so, um, I’m sorry, I lost my train of though. Was having PTS-related flashbacks of those teams…those were hard years.

Doc: I’m sure that was a very difficult time for you.

Me: Sports-wise, yes, but I lived in San Francisco so needless to say I was too distracted anyway to worry too much about the sorry state of my 49ers.

Doc: And hey, at least the Cubs were doing good right?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Gee, have you ever noticed that when you move to a city where your favorite teams reside, they suddenly become god-awful?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: I mean, the Cubs were a good team in 2004, and made the playoffs in 07’ and 08’, all the while you were in San Francisco!

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: And then, you know, you finally make the big move to Chicago in 09’, and they don’t even make the playoffs!

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: And the Cubs have pretty much been sub-pathetic every year after that!

Me: Can we please stay on subject here? I don’t have the emotional capacity to talk about the disappointments of both the 49ers AND the Cubs. The Cubs alone would require multiple sessions.

Doc: I understand, and I’m sorry I brought that up.

Me: I’m sure you are.

Doc: (blank stare)

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: So, when you moved from San Francisco to Chicago, the 49ers suddenly got good again! I bet you were happy about that.

Me: Yes….yes, I was quite happy about that, but it didn’t happen immediately when I moved to Chicago…so you’re little theory doesn’t quite hold up there.

Doc: I guess you’re right. How did the 2009 season go?

Me: Not bad for once, we finished the season 8-8.

Doc: Well, good for you! Snapping the streak of 5 consecutive losing seasons.

Me: Yeah, you know, we got better the 2nd half of the season, which led to…

Doc: ..But I guess your streak of consecutive non-winning seasons was still in-tact right?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Because, you know, 8-8, that’s not a winning season.

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: It’s kind of like a tie. Very unsatisfying…

Me: Are you finished?

Doc: Yes, you were saying?

Me: So because of the way we closed out the year, we hired then interim coach Mike Singletary full-time.

Doc: Wow, what a great decision right? 

Me: Yeah, not so much…

Doc: Why, what happened the following season? Did you build off the momentum in 2009?

Me: Well, we started the season 0-5, and…

Doc: Wow! 0-5! That’s terrible!

Me:….and finished the season 6-10.

Doc: Sounds like you guys went from being boring and mediocre to going right back into the shitter again!

Me: I do not appreciate the repeated tone of enthusiasm you seem to be projecting when you hear negative information about the San Francisco 49ers.

Doc: Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t realize I was doing that.

Me: I’m sure you didn’t.

Doc: (blank stare)

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: So what happened to Singletary?

Me: We fired him, and hired Jim Harbaugh.

Doc: Another college coach, I’m sure that turned out well.

Me: This time, it actually did. It turned out beyond my wildest expectations.

Doc: Oh, wow, did he finally bring the Lombardi trophy back to San Francisco?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Oh, that’s right, the 49ers Super Bowl drought has continued, even under Jim Harbaugh.

Me: Yes, but the strides we took that 2011 season were profound. We finished the season 13-3, won the greatest NFL game of all-time against the Saints, and hosted the NFC Championship game.

Doc: Wow, quite a turnaround. What happened in the NFC Championship game?

Me: (Sigh)…that was the beginning of my most recent stretch of 9er-related angst…what I came here to talk about today.

Doc: Sure did take a long fucking time to get to the nuts and bolts of what you really wanted to talk about.

Me: I can’t help myself…remember Doc…context.

Doc: Right, so…have you ever heard of a guy named Kyle Williams?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: I understand he's the son of White Sox GM Kenny Williams.  Isn't that neat?

Me: Go fuck yourself.

Doc: Zach!

Me: We were a team of destiny Doc…a team of destiny.

Doc: Kind of like the 98’ and 02’ 49ers that both pulled off epic playoff wins, only to lose the following week?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Weren’t you at that game? The 2012 NFC Championship?

Me: I sure was Doc. Cold, wet, and yelling until I went hoarse.

Doc: Wow, being there in person must have made the experience of losing in OT even more devastating to you huh?

Me: Surprisingly, not really. Being there and sharing the anguish with all my 9er brethren helped ease the pain to some degree, but yeah, it was an awfully bitter pill to swallow.

Doc: And it was all Kyle Williams fault?

Me: Not to be too simplistic, but, yes, it was Kyle Williams fault. We lost the game because Kyle Williams fumbled the ball inside our own territory in OT, leading to the game winning FG by the Giants.

Doc: Didn’t Alex Smith play a shitty game?

Me: That might be a little harsh, the Giants defense was great that year. He played a very average Alex Smith game, but he was completely ineffective in the 4th quarter/OT. But he also didn’t commit any turnovers to my recollection, something Kyle Williams did twice, both times leading to points for the G-Men.

Doc: Was that the most devastating loss you had ever suffered?

Me: For football…probably…obviously the Cubs had given me the most disappointment up to that point…

Doc: …Oh, so, there were more, equally bitter and gut-wrenching 49er related disappointments to come for you? I mean, how could you possibly top the agony of losing the NFC Championship game at home?

Me: Well, we lost the Super Bowl the following year.

Doc: Wow! That sucks!

Me: Honestly, I haven’t fully come to terms with that…the San Francisco 49ers don’t lose Super Bowls Doc…they just don’t.

Doc: That’s right, they were a perfect 5-0 before last year’s Super Bowl.

Me: Yes, they were. No other team with at least 5 Super Bowl trophies were undefeated in the Super Bowl, but we were.

Doc: Yes, you were.

Me: I still can’t believe that Super Bowl actually happened…the way it all went down.

Doc: Oh? You can’t believe you got beat by Joe Flacco in the Super Bowl? That the 49ers essentially took the entire 1st half off, allowing the Ravens to take a commanding 21-6 lead into halftime, and that the 49ers also gave them an extra free TD to start the 3rd quarter via a Jacoby Jones kickoff return, before finally realizing about midway through the 3rd quarter that the Super Bowl had actually started over 2 hours earlier, and that they need to snap the fuck out of it and play football?

Me: Um…yes…yes…that pretty much sums it up.

Doc: Anything about the 1st half stick out to you in particular?

Me: (sigh) I remember Joe Flacco throwing a lame-duck, wobbling, horrible looking hail-Mary pass that seemed to say up there forever, and I remember two 49er defenders completely missing the ball which led to an unbelievable TD.

Doc: Kind of fluky!

Me: (sign)  Yeah...

Doc: Flukey Flacco!

Me: Hah

Doc: Anything else?

Me: I remember us driving down inside the 10 yard line at the end of the 1st half and having to settle for a FG.

Doc: Those 4 points would have made a huge difference in the outcome of the game.

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: That kickoff return for a TD to start the 2nd half must have been awfully demoralizing.

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: If somebody, I mean anybody, any one of the ELEVEN special teams players can trip him up, or at least slow him down, that would have likely changed the outcome of the game, no?

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: But how about that comeback in the 2nd half. That was almost epic!

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: Do you remember when Kaep made that 15 yard TD run in the 4th quarter, making the score 31-29?

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: Do you realize if they had made the 2 point conversion, it would have tied the game at 31, making the need for a TD on the final drive unnecessary?

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: But I guess, you know, if they would have scored a TD at the end of the 2nd quarter, or hadn’t have let Jacoby Jones return the opening kickoff of the 2nd half for a TD, that would be a mute point wouldn’t it?

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: So, just needed anyone one of those 3 huge scenarios to work in the 49ers favor, and would have probably been a different result.

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: And how about the near-epic final drive? 1st and goal at the 7 yard line.

Me: (sigh) Yeah…I’m starting to feel sick…

Doc: They didn’t give the ball to Frank Gore once!   Not once!

Me: (sigh) I think I’m going to vomit…

Doc: But hey, 4th and goal, better go with the best play you have in the playbook right?

Me: (Projectile vomits into doctor’s face)

Doc: (blank stare)

Me: (continues vomiting)

Doc: (wipes orangish vomity goo off his stupid fucking face)

Me: I’m sorry, I just, ugh, God…

Doc: An overthrown fade route to Michael Crabtree?

Me: (more projectile vomit)

Doc: (blank stare)

Me: Oh, Jesus, God, ugh…I hate vomiting…but I feel better now

Doc: And, they wasted at least 5-10 seconds letting that dipshit punter run around the endzone before the safety…

Me: (Dry-heaves)

Doc: That would have at least given you guys a chance for one last hail-mary after the punt return.

Me: (Continues dry-heaving)

Doc: Which, you know, not to beat a dead horse, but all that wouldn’t have even been necessary had one of the many unfortunate sequences of the game turned in the 49ers favor. Just one!

Me: (Continues dry-heaving…some apparent blood involved)

Doc: You only get so many changes to get to the big stage like that, you have to take advantage of every opportunity, much less play horribly for 2 ½ quarters

Me: (More blood than actual vomit at this point)

Doc: And the crazy thing is, they still almost won!

Me: (Needs medical attention)

(about an hour later)

Me: Where am I?

Doc: You’re here at my office Zach.

Me: What happened?

Doc: You started vomiting uncontrollably talking about Super Bowl XLVII and lost consciousness.

Me: Ugh, my stomach and esophagus hurts

Doc: That’s understandable

Me: Shouldn’t I be at a hospital or something?

Doc: Probably, but we haven’t finished our session yet Zach

Me: Oh God, ugh, you don’t want me to talk about…ugh…

Doc: Yes Zach, this season, tell me about how the 49ers season ended this time.

Me: I, uh, I don’t think…

Doc: …Don’t be a pussy Zach. I want to know if the 49ers redeemed the excruciating losses of the past two years with a Super Bowl victory. Did they get back to the Super Bowl Zach?

Me: Ugh, no, uh…no they didn’t.

Doc: And why is that Zach?

Me: It’s too soon Doc…I think it’s just too soon to fully digest what happ…

Doc: …Zach, do you remember I said about not being a pussy? You need to come to grips with what happened…in Seattle…

Me: God, no, I haven’t even watched the highlights yet…

Doc: I understand that you beat two very good teams in tough environments to get back to the NFC Championship game Zach

Me: Yes, I was at Green Bay for the Wild Card game…it was cold…so cold…

Doc: And then they defeated the upstart Carolina Panthers in Charlotte…is that correct?

Me: Yes

Doc: Zach, can you tell me why the 49ers had to play all of their playoff games on the road this year?

Me: Because of the Seattle Fucking Seahawks

Doc: Oh, I see, they won the 49ers division, so even though the 49ers went 12-4 they were awarded a road game in Lambeau to play the 8-7-1 Green Bay Packers.

Me: Yeah

Doc: That makes perfect sense.

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: But hey, they made it happen, and made their way to Seattle to face the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.

Me: I think everyone already knew it was going to come down to that at the start of the season.

Doc: Why did the Seahawks get home field advantage Zach?

Me: Because their schedule was relatively weak, granted they’re a good team, but they didn’t play hardly any tough road games…and those they did…they lost

Doc: Like the one at Candlestick in December?

Me: Yeah

Doc: Do you remember what Richard Sherman said during his pre-game pep talk before that game Zach?

Me: Yeah

Doc: And what was that Zach?

Me: He said that the game was just glorified practice.

Doc: And how did that make you feel Zach?

Me: I thought you were going to stop asking stupid questions?

Doc: That was a long time ago Zach, when I last asked that question. We’ve discussed much since then, and made great progress.

Me: Like me vomiting up blood and losing consciousness? Is that what you call progress?

Doc: Progress is a funny concept Zach. It means different things to different people.

Me: That doesn’t make any sense.

Doc: How does Richard Sherman make you feel Zach?

Me: Angry, infuriated, etc.

Doc: Why is that Zach?

Me: Because he is a punk-ass shit-talker, and is the best player on the team that has come out of nowhere, copied our style of play, and arguably does it better than us, and they’re going to the GD Super Bowl, and our season is over.

Doc: That sounds an awful like your characterization of the Green Bay Packers of the mid/late 90s Zach. And, I would say, since the Seahawks just beat you in the NFC Championship game, it’s hard to argue that they’re not better than you (49ers).

Me: My stomach hurts

Doc: Yes Zach, let’s talk about the end of the 49ers season, up in Seattle.

Me: Ugh

Doc: Losing the NFC Championship game has got to hurt Zach, but you know all about how that feels of course.

Me: (groans)

Doc: I understand that the 49ers took a 10-0 lead in the 1st half, and essentially took the “12th Man” out of the game early on?

Me: (sigh) Yeah…

Doc: I also heard that you were up 10-3 at halftime, is that correct?

Me (sign) Yes…

Doc: What happened in the 2nd half Zach?

Me: (sigh)A lot happened the 2nd half…

Doc: Is it true that Seattle converted a 4th and 7 by throwing a 35 yard TD pass to take their 1st lead of the game early in the 4th quarter?

Me: (sigh) Yes…

Doc: Who was covering the receiver on that pass, or, rather, should I say, who wasn’t covering the receiver, lol?

Me: (blank stare)

Doc: Get it?

Me: Carlos Rodgers

Doc: Oh, that’s right, the guy who had been injured the prior two playoff games.

Me: Yeah, and the weakest link in our secondary.

Doc: What happened after that Zach, did the 49ers answer?

Me: (sigh) No…

Doc: What happened Zach?

Me: Kap got stripped from behind and Seattle recovered the fumble deep inside our own territory.

Doc: Oh my. What was the score at that point Zach?

Me: 20-17 Seahawks

Doc: Did the Seahawks go for the jugular and score a TD?

Me: They tried, but our goal line defense prevailed, at the expense of Navarro Bowman.

Doc: Oh?

Me: Yes, Bowman sacrificed his knee to strip the ball at the 1 yard line. He tore is ACL and MCL in a gruesome injury, but he held on to the ball.

Doc: Wow, Navarro Bowman is a fucking warrior! That’s great he caused the turnover.

Me: Yes, unfortunately Seattle technically recovered the ball in the ensuing maylay, and the refs did not allow Harbaugh to challenge the play.

Doc: Wow, I’m kind of an asshole Doctor and everything, but that’s really fucked up! You’re telling me Navarro Bowman had his knee destroyed and still managed to strip the ball and recover the fumble, but they still gave the ball to Seattle?!

Me: That’s right Doc, but a little thing called karma came to our aid on the next 4th & goal play.

Doc: Oh, what happened?

Me: God stripped the ball from Lynch and they turned it over on downs.

Doc: Right on! So did the 49ers answer? Did they do their fallen teammate justice by marching down the field and scoring?

Me: No, Kap almost immediately threw an INT directly to a Seahawk player…just threw it right fucking to him…he was wide open, but unfortunately he played for the wrong team.

Doc: Aww, what a bummer. So did the Seahawks put the game away with a TD?

Me: No, our defense once again rose up and held them to a FG. Our defense is fucking awesome and is the best unit in the league. They are all warriors…except Rogers…

Doc: OK Zach, so 23-17 with a couple of minutes left, you still have a chance, was Kap able to redeem his past fuckups and lead the 49ers to a game winning TD against the “legion of boom” effectively silencing the “12th man” and showing the entire world that the 49ers were truly the better, tougher team, and had unfinished business to take care of back in the Super Bowl?

Me: I’m sorry…you just made me shit my pants….

Doc: Oh my.

Me: Yeah, I know…it’s not a good feeling…my daughter does it all the time and doesn’t seem to care…I admire her fortitude.

Doc: So how did it all go down Zach?

Me: Well, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy driving down the field, needing a TD, against those assholes surrounded by their obnoxious miserable fans raining down their insufferable noise on my 9ers. But when Kaep converted a huge 4th & 2, I started believing. Then he threw a serious pass downfield to Vernon Davis, getting us inside the 30 yard line with just under a minute remaining. We had 2 timeouts, and were at the 29 yard line I believe. When Kap threw that pass to get us down there, I started having heart palpitations that we might just pull this one out in incredibly epic fashion.

Doc: So what happened then Zach? Why aren’t the 49ers going back to the Super Bowl and why are you here sitting in a pile of your own shit with blood stains and vomit on your shirt?

Me: Kap went for the jugular, probably a bit too early, to a tightly covered Michael Crabtree in the endzone.

Doc: Who was covering him Zach?

Me: (sigh) Richard Sherman

Doc: I see.

Me: Sherman did his volley-ball tip-drill thing, batting the ball up in the air, and one of their backers intercepted the pass. Game over.

Doc: Wait, are you telling me that the 49ers season again ended with an unsuccessful fade route to Michael Crabtree in the endzone?

Me: Yeah…fucked up isn’t it?

Doc: I’ll say

Me: You know what makes it even worse Doc?

Doc: What Zach?

Me: Richard Sherman made the play. And I really dislike Richard Sherman. Not only that, he proceeded to talk shit immediately after ending our season. He taunted Crab, gave the “choke” sign to Kap on the sideline, and did an embarrassing Clubber Lane impersonation to Erin Andrews after the game. What kind of an asshole does that Doc?

Doc: A childish, insecure, classless, doughbag of an asshole?

Me: I think if you looked up Richard Sherman in the dictionary, that’s pretty much the definition.

Doc: Why is he such an asshole Zach?

Me: You mean aside from the fact he’s the best player on the team that I can’t stand/resent?

Doc: Yeah, besides that?

Me: I don’t know. He’s probably the best corner in the league, so you would think he would let his play on the field speak for itself. You’re the doctor, what do you think?

Doc: Well, it’s classic short-man syndrome/small-penis syndrome. He’s trying to make up for his inadequacies. Also, in his childhood, his mommy probably didn’t pay enough attention to him. He might be the youngest child in his family, that’s a possibility.

Me: Do you think he also has an inferiority complex about playing for the Seahawks? An incredibly lame, hollow organization with atrocious fans and an abysmal history?

Doc: Sure, that makes too much sense actually. The Seahawks fans are assholes, so maybe he’s trying to emulate their insufferable fanbase by being the biggest asshole on the face of the planet.

Me: That makes sense Doc, it really does.

Doc: But you know what Zach?

Me: What Doc?

Doc: There’s a little thing in this world called karma. What goes around, comes around.

Me: Kind of like when they didn’t give Bowman his fumble and then Karma stripped Lynch on the very next play?

Doc: Yes Zach, that’s exactly right. And karma will find Richard Sherman in the near future.

Me: I don’t know Doc, I think Seattle is probably going to w…..wi….win….(vomits blood again…)

Doc: Win the Super Bowl? That’s certainly possible Zach, but what about next season?

Me: (stops vomiting blood)

Doc: Yes Zach, you see, Seattle is not going to have a B-Team schedule next year, being that they are the NFC Champs. They’re actually going to have to play tough games, much like your 49ers did this year.

Me: You know Doc, you’re right. And that means we’ll have a better shot at taking back the NFC West next year, and getting home field advantage.

Doc: That’s right Zach.

Me: And who knows, maybe with our new stadium, we can create a formidable 12th man ourselves.

Doc: Yes Zach, but the 49ers don’t need a 12th man. They’re actually a complete team from top to bottom. The Seahawks wouldn’t have been able to win at Lambeau and probably not at Carolina either. Taking them away from CenturyLink Field is their kryptonite. They’re great at home, but they’re just pretty good on the road.

Me: Yes, I can see it now Doc. I see us winning back our division and hosting the Seahawks in the playoffs next year. I see a similar scenario, maybe we actually try another fade route to Crab in the corner of the endzone, and finally he pulls it down, right over Sherman’s stupid fucking face.

And I would like nothing better than to see Kaep and Crab give him the proverbial “choke” sign, and we go on our way to the Super Bowl where we will finally bring that long awaited Lombardi trophy back to the City by the Bay.

Doc: That’s a beautiful vision Zach.

Me: Ain’t it Doc? Ain’t it?

Doc: Here’s hoping you’re right Zach, here’s hoping you’re right.

Me: Thanks Doc.

Doc: I think you can go now Zach. I think we’ve had a breakthrough today.

Me: Thanks Doc, I appreciate it.

Doc: Oh, and Zach?

Me: Yes?

Doc: You should probably go to a hospital or something, on account of the vomiting up blood and losing control of your bowels thing. You really smell like shit. No pun intended.

Me: Thanks Doc. I’ll change my pants, but I think I’m going to keep the blood-stained shirt. I like the colors.

Doc: OK…

Me: After all, we all bleed 49er red right Doc?

Doc: That’s a disturbing thing to say Zach.

Me: Well, it’s not just a saying, it’s a scientific fact.

Doc: True

Me: Thanks Doc, see you next time.

Doc: Yes, we should schedule a Cubs session soon once spring training starts.

Me: (collapses)

THE END...and Go Niners...

Farewell Candlestick

Candlestick Park is a very special place.  Over the years, it has played host to some of the most amazing and memorable games in NFL history.  Growing up an avid 49ers fan, I have been treated to many incredible moments at The Stick over the years (some in person, but most from afar).  Some of the most euphoric sports-related memories of my life took place on that field, and the intense feelings of exhilaration and pride still burn brightly when I think back on them.  Simply put, Candlestick Park has a certain mystique about it.  There's magic on that soggy, wind-swept plot of land, a certain energy that I felt every time I entered the stadium.  Truth be told, it's kind of a dump.  It was originally built as a baseball stadium before the 49ers moved from Kezar in the early 70s.  As a result, it feels disjointed and archaic, but that just adds to its quirkiness, it's personality.  But every time I entered that stadium, you could feel the nostalgia, you could sense the ghosts of legends past, you could feel the energy of all those epic games that took place there.  Candlestick Park is haunted by greatness, and it's obviously hallowed ground for all 49er fans.  But really, if you are a real fan of the NFL, if you appreciate the history of the game, few places carry as much weight as that stadium.

So here's a list of my Top 10 favorite games at Candlestick of all-time.  This list is dedicated to the following: The late, great Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, Dwight Clark, Ronnie Lott, John Taylor, George Siefert, Steve Young, Ricky "Running" Waters, William "bar-none" Floyd, Brent Jones, Harris Barton, Jesse Sapolu, Dana Stubblefield, Bryant Young (BY), Ken Norton, Jr, Eric Davis, Merton Hanks, Tim McDonald, Deion Sanders*, Elvis Girbac, Marquez Pope, Jeff Garcia, Garrison Hearst, T.O., Mooch, Frank Gore, Alex Smith, Kap, Crab, Vernon Davis, Joe Staley, Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Navarro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Donte Whitner, etc.

#10 - Falcons 21 vs 19 49ers - September 2004


Even though this was a loss, this was my 1st game at Candlestick Park, so I'll always remember it.  It was a beautiful day, probably 70 degrees, and I was like a kid in a candy store.  Haven grown up watching my 9ers as a kid from 1000+ miles away, to finally set foot in the stadium was an awesome feeling.  Unfortunately we lost....and went on to go 2-14 that year...perfect timing for my arrival in SF...oh well...


#9 - Giants 20  vs 17 49ers - NFC Championship Game January 2012


I must be sadistic to put this game on the list, but I'm not going to deny that this was one of the greatest NFC Championship Games of all-time, a game that we should have won if not for Kyle Williams.  This game makes the list because I was there, soaked, in the stadium with all my 9er brethren.  I damn near lost my voice screaming so loud the entire game.  It was an awesome experience, but by the time OT came around, there was a slow sense of dread creeping through the stadium.  It just wasn't a good feeling, and sure enough, it was not mean to be for us that night.  Gut-wrenching loss indeed, one for the ages, but somehow being at the stadium and seeing 60,000+ other people feeling the same anguish I was feeling helped numb the pain somewhat.  Fucking Kyle Williams...


#8 - Raiders 20 vs 34 49ers - October 2006


OK now for the fun stuff.  The Raider-Niner rivalry is huge in the Bay Area, so even though both teams sucked that year, the cities were playing for pride.  And the 9ers came to play and represented that day.  I hung out with some friends of mine who were Raider fans so I was in enemy territory during their pre-game tailgate, but we all had a lot of fun.  Got completely tore up that day, just trashed on this and that.  There were fights breaking out in the stadium, and I think a couple Raider fans got stabbed, hah.  Raider fans like to think they're hard till they come over to Candlestick talking their S...you end up getting shanked, that's how niner fans roll in Bayview.


#7 - Cardinals 17 vs 20 49ers - Monday Night Football - September 2007


So this is probably the best game (that turned out in our favor) that I got to witness at The Stick.  It was opening night, Monday Night Football, and it was a tight game throughout.  The Cardinals were up 17-13 with a few minutes left in the game, and then my boy Alex Smith marched us down the field for the winning TD with a only a few seconds left on the clock.  We were all thinking FG, but we ran a reverse and got it in the endzone, and the whole place went nuts.

#6 - Packers 31 vs. 45 49ers - Divisional Playoffs - January 2012


OK now for games I had to watch on television.  This is the game when my boy Kap just went off, and is when I finally started believing he was the real deal.  But my own personal circumstances are what stand out to me most about this game.  I watched this game from the hospital holding my newborn daughter, who was only about 2 days old.  I had the TV on mute, or turned down really low, and I was so exhausted, I didn't know what time or day it was.  I was so tired it was like I was dreaming, watching the 49ers beat down the Packers, holding my daughter, it didn't seem real.  I remember when Kap broke that long run for a TD, I was yelling in a whisper so I wouldn't wake her up.  A great game, a changing of the guard in the NFC, and a nice memory.  Welcome to fatherhood.

#5 - Jets 30 vs 36 49ers


So this was the game where the criminally underrated Garrison Hearst broke a 96 yard run to the endzone to win it in OT, but people forget this game was awesome from start to finish.  But yeah, the 96 yard TD run was epicly awesome.



#4 - Cowboys 28 vs 38 49ers - NFC Championship Game 1995


Growing up in West Texas, it didn't take me long to start disliking the Dallas Cowboys.  I never liked cowboys, boots, belt buckles, rednecks, Texas, etc, and where did that whole "America's Team" garbage come from?  Please.  So I became a 49ers fan in 1992 as they were the Cowboys rival.  Plus I already liked Jerry Rice, Steve Young seemed cool, and California was obviously much cooler than Texas.  So that's how it started, me rebelling against my environment, and a beautiful thing was born.  My distain for the Cowboys only intensified as they ended the 49ers season 2 years in a row in the NFC Championship game.  But this was finally our year.  We got Deion, Ken Norton, and we HAD to win the Super Bowl that year, but that meant getting passed our old foe: the Dallas Cowboys.  I remember we jumped all over them early, 21-0, and never really looked back the entire game.  I was about 12 years old, and I was running through the house celebrating much like my boy Steve Young was running around Candlestick celebrating.  It was an awesome feeling, and I wore my Steve Young jersey to school with extra pride that following Monday.  How bout them Cowboys, eh?


What an awesome moment.


#3 - Giants 38 vs 39 49ers - Wildcard Playoffs - January 2003


In a nutshell, this was the 2nd greatest comeback in NFL playoff history, led by none other than my boy Jeff Garcia.  The Giants were up 38-14 with 3:00 left in the 3rd quarter and I had about given up all hope.  But man, my 49ers game storming back and it was absolutely incredibly awesome to behold.  Once we finally took back the lead, the Giants were in position to kick the game winning field goal, until the infamous botched snap/pass interference non-call.  I about had 4 seperate heart attacks during that botched snap, and I still to this day can't believe they didn't call pass interference.  This isn't just my 3rd favorite Candlestick game of all-time, but my 3rd favorite game of all-time period.  Props to my boy Jeff Garcia, who was a great quarterback.  That's right: GREAT.




#2 - Packers 27 vs 30 49ers - Wild Card Playoffs - January 1999


Up until about 2 years ago, I considered this to be the greatest game of all-time.  You see, the Packers had become the Cowboys in the since they kept ending our season in the playoffs.  Technically worse, in-fact, because coming into this game, they had ended our season 3 years in a row.  This led to some serious animosity towards Green Bay that I still somewhat harbor to this day.  We just couldn't beat them, and it looked like we were going to lose to them AGAIN, until my boy Steve Young put together an epic final drive, capped off by the most exhilarating sports play of my childhood: The Catch II.  Whenever I watch this, it's like it's happening live all over again.  The sheer elation of seeing this play will never get old to me.  The feeling of finally beating your foe, and doing so in the most dramatic way possible, the feeling is hard to put into words.  Sheer emotion.  And because of this play, I could never fully hate on TO (well, maybe not until he went to Dallas, but I digress).  And it should also be noted that this game was a slugfest, back-and-forth and incredibly awesome from start to finish.  But the finale, oh the finale.  Unbelievable.  I'm pretty sure I cried for this one...the best sports moment of my childhood.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaa-hooooooooooooo!!!!!!



#1 - Saints 32 vs 36 49ers - Divisional Playoffs - January 2012

It's hard to put into words the rollercoaster of emotions I dealt with during the course of this game.  It had been so long since the 49ers had played in the playoffs, all the memories were flooding me.  Nobody was giving us much of a chance against the high-flying Saints in this game, but I knew that we were not a fluke team, that we were mean, tough, and brutal defensively.  I thought if we were going to win the game, the Saints would have to succumb to our style of play: we would need to control the clock, pound the rock, and absolutely bring it on defense.  But this game ended up being a shootout, and the final few minutes of back-and-forth lead changes was absolutely epic.  The moment I lost it was when Alex Smith took it to the house on that bootleg.  I thought that was going to end up being the final scoring play, but I was wrong.  The Saints answered quickly, with a long TD pass to take back the lead, leaving us with less than 2 minutes to answer.  I'd be lying if I said I was optimistic about our chances at the time.  Alex Smith was an above-average QB, and I had hopes he could lead us into FG range, but I also knew it was going to be a long-shot.  But when my boy hit Vernon Davis over the middle for about a 40-50+ yard gain, I almost had an out of body experience I was celebrating so hard.  That got us into FG range, but we wanted to go for the win, and so once again Smith found Davis over the middle for the game winning TD, the 3rd score inside of 3-4 epic minutes of football.  That moment, was beyond words.  Not just because it was epic, but it was vindication for our football team, a team largely made up of the folks I had been haplessly cheering for the past several years, through one disappointing season after the next.  That team, Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, etc, had finally arrived, and it felt oh so damn good.  After all those horrible years in the mid-2000s, my loyalty had paid off. I felt like we were a team of destiny that year, so I had to be there for the NFC Championship Game the following week.  Unfortunately Kyle Williams ruined all that for this team, but that could never take away from this game, that moment.  Seeing my 9ers being an elite team again, by playing their hearts out and beating an equally great team.  It was like it all came full circle.  Truly unforgettable.  Epic.  The greatest game of all-time.


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