The Evidence of Things Now Seen.

There is no reason for this. No justification. No excuse. No forgiving.

Regarding the NFL’s suspending (or more precisely extending) Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice two-game suspension to an “indefinite” one I have two questions.

Is anyone so gullible to really believe the NFL never saw the video of Rice punching out his fiancée before TMZ released the video to the world?

If so, could I interest you in some oceanfront property in the desert?

This is a billion dollar business that suspends a player for the entire season for smoking marijuana while giving another TWO GAMES for knocking out and dragging an unconscious woman off of an elevator and dumping her on the floor like a sack of potatoes.

This is a league that misled, deceived and lied to the players of the damage concussions were doing to them and then tried to nickel-and-dime them in a lawsuit with a settlement so chintzy even a federal judge threw a penalty flag on it.

The NFL doesn’t give a damn about women. Why would they? There are active players in the league whom have killed people, who have been convicted of drunk driving, gang bangers, drug addicts and other law breakers and given them chance after chance to play in the league. If Aaron Hernandez wasn’t behind bars under suspicion of murdering at least two people, he’d probably still be catching passes from Tom Brady on Sunday afternoons.  Conduct a poll of the average fan and they’re probably less concerned about domestic abuse than what Rice’s suspension means to their fantasy football team.

Welp, I guess I got more time to work on being the new Mike Tyson…”

To be a fan of NFL football means you gotta take a lot of bad with the good and I should know. I’m a San Francisco 49ers fan.

What’s the lesson here? Beat a woman’s ass and you get a couple of weeks off. Fail a drug test and you’re done for the year. Some lesson.

Roger Goodell‘s much ballyhooed new policy cracking down on woman beating ballers only came to pass after the NFL caught hell from the public and press for the sloppy wet kiss Rice received. The league doesn’t care what the players do to their wives, girlfriends and significant others as long as it doesn’t blowback on their precious, carefully calculated image.

Goodell and the Baltimore Ravens are enablers of violence against women. Which is kind of funny when you consider how in Goodell’s NFL the big killshot hard hit has nearly been flagged, penalized, regulated and legislated out of existence.

The NFL hasn’t gotten around to Atlantic City elevators.  I knew this shoe was going to drop. If anyone can go to You Tube and watch video of Jay-Z and his sister-in-law duking it out on a lift, who’s gonna believe the most powerful and wealthiest professional sports league in America can’t get their hands on what happened to Janay Parker before Ray Rice dumped her on the floor of an Atlantic City hotel?

Commissioner Clueless.

Goodell, the Ravens and Rice all lied, all deceived,  until it all blew up in their faces.    Had this video not emerged, Rice would be two weeks away from practicing and playing against the Browns.    Now he’s got a lot of free time to kill and Janay  should be worried about what he’ll do with all that idle time on his hands.

When the shitstorm of criticism blew up in his face,  Goodell weakly admitted he “didn’t get it right” with Rice’s wrist slap.  Goodell is nothing but consistent:  He’s still not getting it right.

The NFL doesn’t advocate domestic abuse.   But it doesn’t take it seriously either.

 

What Could and What Will Never Be

So close, but too far.

So close, but too far.

Well, that was an unpleasant way to spend four hours on a Sunday.

Here’s what you need to understand about me.  I’m not the best of winners or the worst of losers. I congratulate the Baltimore Ravens and all their fans for winning the Super Bowl.  Despite the horrid beginning, the game ended on an exciting note.   I love my Niners and while the loss still stings, I’m proud they used that 34-minute blackout to pull their heads out of their butts and give the Ravens a game.

Not making it to the Super Bowl is hard.  Losing a Super Bowl is harder.   Prior to Sunday, the 49ers had never lost one, so you’ll just have to try and understand why I’m bumming big time over this.  Even after 18 years away from the Super Bowl, I have no previous frame of reference with the Niners losing this game.

When it was over,  I didn’t watch any post-game analysis.  Why should I?  I saw what happened.  I know football.  I didn’t need some ex-jock or coach telling me what I already knew.  The 49ers played like ass for the first 30 minutes, gave up a backbreaker of a kickoff return to start the third quarter and with a score of 28-6 generally played like a bunch of sick nuns.

Then boom! boom!  Out went the lights.   When they finally came back on the Niners woke up from whatever stupor they were in and mounted a fast and furious rally that was undermined by the lackluster performance of the disappointing defense, some curious offensive play calling and finally having dug themselves into a hole too deep to climb all the way out of.

"Yes, I AM mad, bro."

“Yes, I AM mad, bro.”

Before the confetti fell from the rafters, before the trophy was presented and before Ray Lewis started giving praises to the Lord, I bailed.   I bailed on everything from ESPN.  I didn’t watch Sportscenter.    I didn’t listen to Chris “Boomer” Berman do the replays.   I didn’t want to see Herman Edwards shucking and jiving or any of the other “experts” telling me what I already knew.

The next day I didn’t turn on the television.  Didn’t listen to the radio.  Stayed away from the sports websites.   Didn’t want to check Facebook for updates or Twitter for the tweets.   I had a headache most of the day and all I wanted was to be alone with my dark, dark thoughts.  Fortunately, it was a dreary, sunless day so at least Mother Nature was doing me a small favor.

Call it an overreaction if you want to.   That’s fair.  I really don’t care.   When you wait nearly two decades to get back to the Super Bowl and the end result is you’re the second-best team in the NFL it sucks.

Because you  aren’t the second best team in the NFL.  You’re just the last one to lose.

There can only be one.  And it's not you, Jim.

There can only be one. And it’s not you, Jim.

Break Up the 49ers!  (But Why?)

I’m a hardcore fan, but I’m not a fanatical fan.   Last year the 49ers fell one game short of the Super Bowl.   This year they fell one touchdown short of winning it.   Which if getting closer means anything, next year the Niners are a lock to be the ones hoisting the trophy, right?

Not if some of the faithful that make me look like a non-believer have their way.   After the game these guys were feeling raw and they were ready to start handing out bus passes and shipping players and coaches out of town.
Get rid of Colin Kapernick.  Keep Alex Smith.  Fire the offensive coordinator and the defensive coordinator.   Patrick Willis didn’t make any plays.  Everyone on the defense stinks.  Jim Harbaugh got out coached by his big brother.  David Akers couldn’t kick a can down the street (okay I agree on that last one).

Let’s all calm down here.  Losing our heads because we lost the Super Bowl is understandable, but let’s not be rash and start applying drastic solutions to frustrating situations.

You don’t burn down your house because of a broken window. Release Willis and 31 teams will fight over the right to sign him.   Jim may be more emotional than John and you can push his buttons pretty easily, but what he’s done in two seasons, even the Genius himself, Bill Walsh, can’t match and he was a pretty good coach.

What you do is go out a get a pass rusher. Justin Smith and Ray McDonald are stout against the run, but ordinary against the pass. If you replace anyone in the linebacker corps, it’s Ahmad Brooks, not NaVorro Bowman, not Aldon Smith and DEFINITELY not Patrick Willis. I’d ship Brooks, Sopoaga, Culliver and probably Carlos Rogers out of town.

Kapernick needs a young speedster to pair with Crabtree. Moss can’t get it done anymore. Williams can’t stay healthy and Jenkins is clueless. Manningham can do what Moss does, but he’s no burner.   Find Colin a rocket on two feet and watch what happens when the Niners have a receiver who gives defensive coordinators a reason to stay up late nights.

If Cleveland or Kansas City are really the likely destinations for Alex Smith, then the Niners have to get either a good draft pick (and I don’t mean a fourth-rounder) or some young talent in return. Letting him walk for nothing should be out of the question. Ever since New England torched the secondary it should be apparent that is the weakness of the defense. That, and no consistent pass rush. Aldon Smith may be a star one day, but a star doesn’t disappear for four or five consecutive games.

Oh, and David Akers is history. Agreed?

The officials didn’t cost the Niners the game.  They contributed, but you can’t spot any NFL team 28 points before you score your first touchdown and not have contributed mightily to your own problems.  This was a loss they earned.

Now available.  In Zambia and Romania.

Now available. In Zambia and Romania.

Super Bowl Swag Giveaway

Ever wonder what happens to all those “Super Bowl champions” hats, t-shirts and other gear for the team that loses?  Well, if you’re in the market for some “San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl 47 Champs” swag, you’re going to have to travel to somewhere in the world where the NFL is unheard of according to ESPN.com.

Niners Super Bowl championship merchandise, mostly T-shirts and sweatshirts, that were made in advance and bought by retailers are in the process of being donated to Worldvision, a Christian humanitarian organization that has worked to aid impoverished nations.

Once the merchandise is received, Worldvision officials will sort the gear by size, gender and season and then determine which items will go to which countries.

Five countries that will definitely receive 49ers items are Zambia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Armenia and Romania, according to Jeff Fields, corporate relations director for Worldvision.

“The people really light up when they see that they have a chance to wear a new T-shirt,” Fields said.

Fields said that it’s not likely that anyone who gets the items will have any idea what is wrong with them.

“We’re going to some really remote parts of the world,” Fields said. “They don’t have the Internet. They don’t know about the 49ers or about American football.”

I know the feeling.  The day after the Super Bowl I didn’t want to know about the 49ers or about American football either.

The Biggest Loser

Real men wear pink, right Chris?

The Niners Nation is suffering, but not nearly as much as reserve cornerback and notorious homophobe Chris Culliver who got embarrassed by being undressed on national television by Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin and set defensive football back a decade by his atrocious non-tacking of Jacoby Jones on his touchdown catch.    Who had a worse day than that brother?

Chris, you may not believe this right about now, but trust me.   It gets better.    YOU, on the other hand,  need to get a LOT better before you step on a football field again.   First,  take a class or something on diversity and learning how to be sensitive toward gays.   I assure you, Mr. Culliver, at some point in your undistinguished football career;  whether it was in the NFL, college, high school or Pop Warner, you have played with a gay teammate.  You may have hung out,  told him anti-gay jokes and even passed him the soap in the shower.   You don’t know for certain, but on the off chance  that you have,  maybe you could stop running your mouth and stop proving every negative stereotype of the dumb jock, you bleeping idiot.

Anyway,  the 49ers football season  is over.   It was like The Dark Knight Rises: great beginning, lagged in the middle, picked up in spots and the ending was lousy.

"I am sorry I am stupid.'

“I am sorry I am stupid.’

A Gold Rush in the Big Easy

The Quest is nearly over.

When you’ve waited nearly two decades between Super Bowl appearances, my first instinct is just to be happy the San Francisco 49ers have the opportunity to play for the championship of professional football.

After happiness passes, what’s left is nervousness.   Fans get too worked up and involved in the fortunes of their favorite sports franchise.  It leads to alcoholism, needless anxiety, panic attacks and early baldness.

I think the 49ers will win, but I can’t say complete certainty.   That’s what an 18-year absence from the Super Bowl does for your confidence.  It makes you run scared.

Everybody’s got a guess.  The experts can go down a list of every player on both the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens and tell you with total confidence this will be the contributing factor that tilts victory to one side or the other.  They’ve crunched the numbers.  They’ve watched the tape.  They’ve consulted with the wisest of wise men.

But all they’re doing is giving their best guess.   They know all the reasons why the Niners or the Ravens will win.   What they don’t know is who will.

My nature is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.    The Niners have a great defense, playmakers on both sides of the ball and in Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick I trust.   But everything the 49ers have, the Ravens have too including a Harbaugh of their own.   It’s hard to have any swagger when each team has it own share of Unmovable Objects and Irresistible Forces.

Make way for a new Lord of the Rings?

There have been some signs of the Niners not handling the media attention well.   Reserve cornerback Chris Culliver’s anti-gay remarks made him look dumb and revealed how poorly the 49ers front office prepped the players to deal with the extra attention.   The former Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange is no journalist and he baited Culliver with a leading question, but Culliver put his own feet in his mouth and swallowed.

There’s no undue pressure on either team.  This is the the second  Super Bowl appearance for the Ravens and the sixth for the Niners, but that doesn’t mean there’s no expectations for the 49ers.   They’re challenging the Pittsburgh Steelers for a sixth ring, but unlike the Steelers, the Niners have a perfect record:  They’ve won every Super Bowl they’ve been.

That’s where the heavy hand of history falls squarely on the shoulders of the 49ers.

In the big picture of the carnival that is Super Bowl week, the Culliver controversy isn’t all that big of a deal.  He isn’t going to be star of the game.   More likely it will be someone named Lewis, Willis, Flacco, Rice, Crabtree or Gore (and if you don’t know who those guys are, you’re better off watching The Puppy Bowl or the Lingerie Bowl).

I will tune in at 6:30 ready for three or four hours of hype, commercials, celebrities, and oh yeah, a football game.  I expect big hits, edge of the seat excitement, good company and hopefully—HOPEFULLY, a sixth ring for San Francisco.

And I’ll hope most of all it doesn’t come down to a last second field goal from David Akers because the only thing I’ve been able to depend on Akers’ kicking is that I can’t depend on it.

Since Super Bowl 47 is taking place in New Orleans:  Laissez les bons temps rouler, Geaux Niners.

Got the Hope, Looking For the Glory

Tebowing is so 2012. “Kaepernicking” is the rage.

The NFL’s  32 teams open their training camps in the heat of summer and finish the endurance test that is the regular season in the cold of winter with one team being declared the best as it hoists the Lombardi trophy for winning the Super Bowl.

All any faithful follower of a football franchise can ask for is if their team makes it to the league’s version of the Final Four.   Only one team can be declared the best of the best, but it’s a successful season if your team is involved in the conversation.

My team is, and no matter the outcome when the San Francisco 49ers meet the Atlanta Falcons for the right to challenge the Patriots or the Ravens for the ultimate in bragging rights, it has been a very successful season for the Niners.

For the 49ers to come this close to breaking the 18-year drought of Super Bowl appearances leaves me with both anticipation and dread.   Anticipation that the Niners will beat the Falcons and advance.   Dread that they will lose and fall short (again).    It’s cool to get to the NFC championship round, but it’s better to actually win it.

I always run scared when it comes to predicting how the 49ers will fare in a meaningful game, but between Jim Harbaugh’s coaching prowess, their nasty smash-you-in-your-mouth-and-step-on-your-throat defense, and now the wild card of Colin Kapernick at quarterback, I feel confident the Niners will show up and acquit themselves admirably.

Or I could say I really believe the Niners are going to put their foot up the ass of the Falcons, but playing on the road in a dome against a team looking for the respect they feel nobody’s given them all season is a recipe for possible disaster, so I’m not going to say anything like that.  But you can’t kill me for thinking it.

Win or lose (please win),  unless he plays like shit, Kaepernick will solidify his hold on the starting QB job as he provides a degree of leadership meshed with talent not seen in the Bay Area since (dare I say it?) the glory days of Joe Montana and Steve Young.

Down.  Out.  Finished.  Bye-bye.

Down. Out. Finished. Bye-bye.

Is that being a wee bit premature?   Not really, because after last week’s ridiculous  offensive explosion against the Green Bay Packers  where he accounted for 444 yards of offensive and four touchdowns (five, if  you count the interception he threw early in the game), the word is out.   This kid is not a fluke and not a one-trick pony.   Colin Kaepernick is good.  He is Real Good.  C.K. is money.   Runs like a gazelle.  Flings the ball around like it’s rocket-propelled.  Can make a mistake and not let it screw up his entire day.   These are qualities one rarely sees in a single player and Kaepernick (so far) has demonstrated all of them.

A little hyperbole isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Young was forced into early retirement by a concussion from a vicious hit by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams (I was never mad at Williams for his hard, but legal hit on Young.  I’m not quite so ready to forgive Lawrence Phillips, the woman-beating, law-breaking asshole who missed the block on Williams).  What came next was nearly 20 seasons of has beens, warm bodies, and busted picks such as Jeff Garcia, Steve Stenstrom, Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, Cody Pickett,  Trent Dilfer, Shaun Hill, Chris Weinke, J. T. Sullivan, Troy Smith and finally Alex Smith, the overall Number One draft pick the Niners chose instead of Aaron “Discount Double Reality Check” Rodgers.

So you can understand if Niner fans go into tomorrow’s game with a hope in one hand and apprehension in the other.   We’ve been here before and last January it was the Giants and Kyle Williams’ bad luck that ended a great season one game too soon.

Fans tend to exaggerate their importance in how their team does in a big game.  We have no importance,   but all the same I’ll gear up, ready proper and necessary amounts of food to nourish and drink to steady myself during the particularly tense moments when fortune favors the other team as I yell like hell when something good happens and sit there sullenly as something bad follows.

Against the Saints last year,  Alex Smith played about as good as any elite QB in the league.   He shook the title of “game manager.”   He won’t be back with the 49ers next season, but he’ll be playing and starting for someone else.  With Smith you had a quarterback who made good and solid plays if not quite exceptional.   With Kapernick, how high his ceiling is remains to be seen.   He seems to be on the cusp of greatness, but he has to win two more games to achieve it.

The hope is there.   Whether the glory is as well remains to be seen.

A young man in a hurry to be great.