Former San Francisco 49ers owner and recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Eddie DeBartolo Jr. was honored by the team during halftime of today's game against the New England Patriots. To be honest, it was kind of an embarrassing display.
The rain was pouring down during the ceremony. DeBartolo addressed a nearly empty stadium. Most of those that were there were supporting the visiting team. Most of the participants during the ceremony seemed eager to get off the field. The opposing quarterback's name thundered through the stadium via chants from the crowd on more than one occasion. Oh yeah, and the home team lost their ninth straight game of the season, tying a franchise record set all the day back in 1978, which was DeBartolo's second year as team owner.
OLB Ahmad Brooks called the showing and lack of support "a little disrespectful." Many fans could argue that the product that has been placed on the field by ownership and management is disrespectful to those that have been faithful for so long. Fans are making their voices heard by avoiding games and have lost interest in the diluted product which only seems to be getting worse each year.
Brooks was asked if having so many 49ers legends there made him sad about the team's current state. "No," he answered. "Not necessarily because it is a new era, a new day in age, times have changed, football has changed, it has revolutionized."
"[Eddie DeBartolo Jr.] was pulling for us today," said head coach Chip Kelly following the 30-17 loss. "We were hoping he was going to be our good luck charm today and unfortunately I think we let him down."
Kelly was asked if the team was affected by the large contingent of Patriots fans cheering in the stadium. "Once you get on the field you just listen to the referees and the whistles and things like that," Kelly answered. "But, it wasn't too loud or anything that affected our play on the field."
RELATED Recap: 49ers drop 9th straight in 30-17 loss to Patriots
QB Colin Kaepernick was asked if he noticed the amount of Patriots fans. "I really hadn't thought about it, but there were a lot out there," he answered.
"I just feel like there are a lot of people around the country, across the world, that love Tom Brady and the Patriots," 49ers T Trent Brown said via the San Francisco Chronicle following the game.
"Does it bother me? It is what it is," SS Antoine Bethea said. "What can I do about it? I can't do anything about it. There were a lot of Patriots fans. They travel well."
The Patriots didn't seem to feel as though they were at a disadvantage. They too noticed the remarkably pro-Patriots crowd.
"Yeah, I definitely felt the Patriots fans out there before the game, when we scored, when we made good plays, and after the game," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "Yeah, looks like we travel well."
It was a homecoming for Patriots QB Tom Brady and WR Julian Edelman. Both grew up in the Bay Area. Edelman was asked if it felt like a home game. "Definitely," he answered. "It's pretty crazy. Anytime we come out west it seems like we have a lot of fans out here. It's pretty amazing to see, and it's exciting being in your hometown area and seeing some of the greats that you watched growing up here. It was a fun experience."
Brady was asked about the number of supporters in the stadium. "Yeah I've got a lot of people out there waiting for me so it's very cool," he said. "It doesn't get any better than that. For the first chance to ever do that it was very special. I felt it in pregame warmup and it carried right to the last play of the game. It was pretty great. They've got a great organization, they always have and it inspired a lot of kids here in the Bay Area in my time growing up and I was one of them. To see Tom Rathman before the game, I mean I idolized him. Dwight Clark and Joe Montana, to see them at halftime it was a pretty, pretty great day for me."