In an era where economic woes are of plenty and job security is paramount, those that have prominent roles in their professions are considered one of the lucky ones. San Francisco 49ers' general manager Scot McCloughan may need to take a trip to the Las Vegas strip as soon as possible, because his efforts over the weekend of the 2009 NFL Draft single-handedly saved his job.
Let the superstition begin with one of the most highly-anticipated moments of the weekend, when the 49ers unvieled their new jerseys to the rowdy crowd of 5000 crammed in the Santa Clara Convention Center on Saturday. Players from past and present - including the likes of Tom Rathman, Patrick Willis, Jesse Sapolu and Josh Morgan - were on hand to model the new home and away apparel. A mixture of new patterns and old styling adorn the jerseys, but whether or not they have the same impact as say, a pair of lucky boxer shorts - remains to be seen.
One person said, "Man, I love the new jerseys, its like we're going back to the glory days."
Yet while the new jerseys were a popular hit among fans, it was McCloughan's "Top 10 Chart Topper" that had fans singing his praises. Selecting Texas Tech wide receiver and two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree with the 49ers' first round selection (10th overall) completely erraticated the tension that had built since the Seattle Seahawks went on the clock at fourth overall, being the first team that realistically could take the productive pass catcher. As each team completed its transaction, you could see the spirits in the room keep lifting, and as time went on it became apparent that the 49ers would be in the contest to obtain one of the top-rated players in this years' class. But when the large monitor screens that were displaying the NFL Network draft coverage panned over to Crabtree, talking on the phone as the seconds ticked down with the 49ers on the clock, it finalized the thought in the minds of those in attendance that the gambling by the 49ers to not move from their position on the draft board would provide a big payoff.
Before the word "Crabtree" could escape the mouth of NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell, mania swept over the overcrowded building in Santa Clara. Some were yelling, others high-fiving and hugging, and some said nothing at all, in awe of what had occured. It was certainly a remarkable moment for a team and a fanbase that hasn't had many of those in recent memory.
"Great pick, I loved it!", a fan said immediately following the selection.
That was the consensus' thought as well. All that could be heard in the time following was how the team "got it right," not to mention the numerous chants of "lets go Crabtree!".
Perhaps the best sentiment was given by 49ers' head coach Mike Singletary, who addressed the fans a short time after the selection was made.
"There's talk about wanting winners," he said. "There's talk about an opportunity. Today, we had a great opportunity to pick a great kid, a great wide receiver. This kid has been the most productive receiver in all of college football over the past two years."
"I'm excited. I'm excited for you, and for the direction of this team."
True, pure excitement was felt Saturday. Trading for an additional 2010 first round draft choice from the Carolina Panthers, as well as the third round addition of Alabama tailback Glenn Coffee added to the rapture of 49er fans, who definitely believe that McCloughan and the team passed the "eyebrow test".
The real exam starts in September, but there is nothing wrong with a celebration after an exhausting amount of time spent studying.
LINK TO EXCLUSIVE 49ERSWEBZONE.COM VIDEO FROM THE EVENT (PROD. BY FRISCO FITTED TV):