Our organization has gone to six super bowls, winning five, over almost a forty-year period. I wonder, though, what with all the fuss and panic about windows closing and investigations looming, fireplace yarns about the end of the Jim Harbaugh era, and 49ers fans wanting to change metro seats for something more 49er appropriate, if one title will do it. I used to think so. Often, in my own mental wanderings I postulate to myself that "one ring would rule them all." Maybe it is the fact that I am getting older and that this coming season will mark the twentieth anniversary of our last championship team. It could also be that we have all ridden this ride before.
Since their arrival, Jed York, Harbaugh, Balke have led a renaissance movement. We are winning again. Far more than we are losing that much is sure. When we lose, we do it in the most painful manners possible. In an era, where the media and athletes have spoken of Mount Rushmore's of this or that, we have our own national monument dedicated to pain: Kyle Williams (who should be on here twice for symmetry reasons alone), SB XLVII Loss, Kaep Int, and, of course, 2014 49er Offseason. Yes, I consider the 2014 Offseason to be a loss, not debilitating one, that is yet to be determined, but a loss nonetheless.
By loss, I mean that if you asked a 49er fan, they would tell you that our Mt. Rushmore of pain should not be about pain, but about the ecstasy of victory. It should be four more titles. A feat that would return us to the forefront of the NFL's Mount Rushmore: Steelers, Cowboys, Niners, Packers. The sane would tell you that the loss against the Giants was expected in the sense we had just emerged upon the scene. It was not our time. The loss against the Ravens, striking new territory for the 49ers, while painful should have been expected considering how we played in the first half. The loss to the Seahawks on the road is the reality of a quarterback with little experience playing in a hostile environment--he gave it all, but cost us as well. Half give him a pass because Colin gave everything he had, the rest will scrutinize and nitpick to make themselves feel better his performance.
I am an optimist, or at least, I try to be. Only a fool would look at our offseason and not be bothered by it. When it comes to the Niners, I believe they can win it all. I like the twenty year storyline. It is nice, neat, and tidy. But I wonder, if we win, and if we do what a story it will be, if it will be enough? Athletics, professional or amateur, are supposed to be about team building, enjoyment, and honest (in theory) competition. Being a 49er fan, over the past fifteen months, has been an emotional ride. One that we all signed up for, whether we wanted it or not, because we care.
I am not saying to stop caring; though, I bet we have all had that moment, arrest, stupid decision, horrid loss, that has shaken our faith to the point of ostracizing ourselves from the team. That honestly says a great deal more about ourselves than it does about the organization's woes. The sad truth, we are, in some ways, masochistic. Some of us break down plays, over and over, to seek the truth behind the defeat. As if we must know it. We cannot exist without it. It is so damn important we spend time, long periods to be certain, over it. We will justify criminal action and do out of poorly constructed rationale of personal rights of the accused. Even when it is clear that some wrong has been committed. For we, the court of public opinion, are the judge, jury, and executioner here. Not the NFL, not society, not anybody else. Others convince themselves this is some sort of ruse or insidious game that the world is playing against the 49ers. Whatever the cause, it robbed us of the glory of another championship, and instead caused us pain.
The truth, as far as I can see it, no one championship, no ten championships will make up for the pain of this era. We have gotten so damn close that it is beyond frustrating. We may never in our lifetimes get back to where we are right now. There is, however, the hope of tomorrow and of that elusive sixth championship. "the Quest for Six" is a catchy ad-driven idea. How about, though, we strive for the next. Or better yet, in our era, "the one ring that will rule them all". That is, at least, until we go after the next one.
I am Fropwns