At 9:59am on Sunday, September 23rd, I very reluctantly tuned in to watch the 49ers do their thing versus the Vikings.

I sat on the couch, remote in one hand, cocktail in the other...but this football Sunday was different. Something was out of place. Somehow, some way, things just didn't feel right.

On the opening kickoff, the 49ers were flagged for a block in the back...which would have been the right call if they were the receiving team. You see, there is no such thing as a block in the back on the kicking is a non-existent call.

Needless to say, I erupted. I took off my cap, flung it to the floor and cried, "That call is impossible to make because the rule doesn't exist, you morons!"

A stream of profanity that would have made my Drill Instructors blush followed...and just about that time, I realized what was wrong. After the first bad call/misstep/outright blunder of every 49er game that we aren't watching together, my Dad almost always calls.

Invariably, he'll say, "Don't worry kiddo, things will work out. Just watch."

But today there was no call. You see, my Dad finally lost his battle with multiple myeloma on the evening of Saturday, September 22. I was there by his side with the rest of my family, as we had been all week long. To say that this had already been the worst week of my life would be a euphemism of tremendous proportions.

As I watched the game go on, and watched the Niners' chances of winning become more and more remote, my thoughts kept going back to Pop.

He was the guy that taught me to throw a football. He was the guy that taught me to tackle. He was the guy that let me in on the fact that we were related to legendary Navy HB Joe Bellino. He bought me my very first 49er jersey (Freddie Solomon, #88). He was a huge part of my love for the sport, and of the 49ers.

We watched each and every 49er Super Bowl together with the exception of XXIX, which I was forced to watch from work on TV in the bar at Chili's in Mountain View (such is life for a college kid waiting tables).

In January 1982, while I was trying my best to remain optimistic in the face of a blistering comeback led by Bengals' QB Kenny Anderson, Pop told me, "Just watch kiddo. The Niners will hold here. Goal line stand coming up, right now."

Pop was right. Three plays later, Danny Bunz made the most awesome goal line stop I have ever seen.

In January 1985, we sat side by side on the couch at grandma's house, biting our nails when rookie lineman Guy McIntyre mishandled a squib kick late in the 2nd quarter, giving the Dolphins a last second field goal. Pop casually looked at the clock and said, "Let's go play catch. Then we can come back in after halftime and watch the Niners take these guys apart in the second half. They'll be fine. You'll see."

Yet again, my old man had proven to be an outstanding prognosticator. By the end of the game the 49ers had put on a clinic, winning in a rout, 38-16.

In January 1989, late in the 4th quarter, we watched the final drive begin at the 49er 8-yard line. Cincinnati's defense had been keeping the Niners' explosive offense in check all game long. When they were flagged for holding, making down and distance 2nd and 20 with time running out, he told me, "Rice is gonna go deep here. Watch. They'll convert. Everything will be fine."

Less than 2 minutes later, we were jumping up and down in the middle of my grandparents' living room...Joe Montana and John Taylor had just secured the 49ers third Lombardi Trophy. Dad was right again.

January, 1990: Denver had been there before…and lost every single time. Pop called this one early. "Kiddo", he told me, "this is going to be a blowout."

Three hours later, we looked at the score in stunned silence. No team had ever won a Super Bowl by 45 points. The 49ers had prevailed, 55-10...and just like that, they had won four Super Bowls. Oh, and Pop was right again.

But for all of the good times we had watching the 49ers, we had some rough ones, too. The seven seasons between the departure of Steve Marriucci and the hiring of Coach Harbaugh dragged on like a decade of water-torture. There weren't very many happy Sundays in the Bolino family during that stretch. Not many at all.

That is what made last season so special. Getting the chance to watch the 49ers return to prominence with him was huge. It was a chance to really love football again. It was a chance to see my Dad smile again. It was a chance to reminisce about how much fun Sunday afternoons were in the dynasty years. It was a chance to talk about how much fun we were going to have watching this new and improved 49er team make some noise going forward.

The Monday after the 49ers pulled out their opening week win against the Packers at Lambeau, Pop gave me a call at the office.

"Have you checked your blood pressure since that (non-called) block in the back? Bad calls or not, the 49ers really kicked their asses and took their lunch money didn't they? Mark my words; they're going places this season, kid. Just watch."

We both laughed harder than either of us had in a long while. The Niners were worth watching again, and all was right with the world. As fate would have it that was the last time that he and I would talk football.

As Sunday's game wound down, the booze ran out and the 49ers' record fell to 2-1, I sat on the couch, quietly trying to make sense of all that had happened over the past few days. This was my first Niner game without Dad. Though it seemed that things couldn't have gotten much worse, I felt a strange sense of peace come over me. And it was then that I realized exactly what Pop would have said had he been there: "Things will be alright, kiddo. Just wait. You'll see."

And do you know what? As usual, he'd be absolutely right.