Well, I go back to the Steve DeBerg years. At one point, he became known as the QB who played just well enough to lose. In truth, he played on some weak teams but put up some decent numbers. He had a very strong arm and as the game would come down to crucial moments where other things were failing, he would attempt to fit passes into places where there was just no space. The result was very frustrating interceptions. At those times the fans would boo, however those boos were nothing compared to last night.
In my opinion, last night was not about Alex Smith alone. Part of it was about Smith but the larger part was about fans who have lived with 8 years of mismanagement and poor coaching.
This franchise has always been about an entertaining offense based on passing. From Y. A. Tittle to John Brodie to Montana and Young, it was always about the forward pass. It wasn't that those years DIDN'T run the ball. They did, and often very well. However, the heart of the franchise was about passing.
Things changed drastically in the Donahue years beginning when Garcia was allowed to leave with no provision for a solid replacement. As foolish as that decision proved to be, the worst decision the franchise made as the 11th hour decision to hire a strongly defensive-minded coach in Mike Nolan. He proved he had no sense of offense and how to manage players. He was followed now by Mike Singletary who has proven to be as bad, if not worse in terms of his understanding of offense in the NFL in 2010.
The style of offense that Singletary has imposed is so odious to 49er fans, both young and older, that when it has failed, and it HAS FAILED, that they express themselves at the ball park. Fans are objecting not only to the failure to win games, but to the square peg style of offense that is being forced into the round hole that was cut by exciting, high-quality passing offenses.
Yes, Alex Smith is the most visible expression, but the booing went much deeper than that. Consciously or not, it was a message to Jed York that we are sick and tired of defensive-minded coaches who do not honor the tradition of San Francisco offenses that are well-thought out, carefully orchestrated and well-executed. It was a message that we are sick of a coach who was prematurely elevated to a position for which he clearly is not yet qualified to fill and who has proven it by responding in the only way he knows, by emotional outbursts.
The booing was about all of this and more...and yes, it was the loudest this ancient, archaic "stadium" has heard...which suggests another reason the fan base is upset but that is another topic for another time.