Legendary former San Francisco 49ers owner and recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Eddie DeBartolo Jr. will be honored at Levi's Stadium during the team's November 20 game against the New England Patriots. The event, which was scheduled months ago, certainly has the potential to be an awkward situation.
Hall of Famer Eddie DeBartolo will be honored at 49ers-Patriots game on Nov. 20 at Levi's Stadium, team president Al Guido said on @CSNSTL.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) August 11, 2016
In case you haven't been following them this season, the 49ers are bad. Like, historically bad. If you didn't know that, we're really sorry to have to break the news to you. The defense is ranked last in the league in points, total yards, and rushing yards allowed. They are on pace to give up 3,088 rushing yards, which would be the most in the NFL since the 1978 Buffalo Bills, and 520 points this season – probably more. They have allowed a 100-yard rusher in seven straight games. That is an NFL record. That number is likely to be eight by the time the 49ers meet the Patriots.
So we have established that the 49ers are bad this season. While a half empty stadium, which has been the case for multiple home games this year, would be awkward in itself, that is not likely to be the case for the 49ers' matchup with the Patriots. The stadium may be nearly full. The problem is that the majority of the fans will likely be supporting the Patriots and not the home team. Their fans travel well and 49ers fans have not had much reason to venture out to Levi's Stadium to watch the team. That could be awkward.
There is also the fact that the Patriots are pretty good and are very likely to blow out the 49ers. It could be pretty embarrassing. That could be awkward.
In August, DeBartolo acknowledged that the 49ers are starting all over with head coach Chip Kelly. "I think they're going to do just fine," said DeBartolo Jr. "It's just going to take a while."
There was a name that was noticeably missing from DeBartolo's enshrinement speech in August. His nephew Jed York, the current CEO of the 49ers who lost the support of fans years ago following the firing of Jim Harbaugh. And then, more recently, DeBartolo's daughter, Lisa, publicly expressed her opinion of DeBartolo's nephew and even supported the wishes of fans that want to see her dad as the owner again. The fans loved her for it. Will she be present for the honoring of her father? That could be awkward. Will York be there? That could be awkward.
If York does make an appearance, the home team fans will almost certainly boo him if he makes his way onto the field. That could be awkward.
And then there is the anti-Trent Baalke banner that was scheduled to fly over Levi's Stadium prior to the 49ers-Saints game on Sunday but was grounded. Baalke is the general manager that fans are blaming for the team's deminished roster and demanding that York fire. York has been very hesitant to do so and has fired two head coaches instead. It probably would have been better for ownership had that banner flown on Sunday because those responsible for the fan supported initiative have rescheduled the flyover. That new date has been announced as...wait for it...November 20. That could be awkward.
The 49ers' game against the Patriots is shaping up to be an interesting one, but for all of the wrong reasons.