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One Fan’s Lament

Jesse Dumas
Nov 1, 2016 at 2:51 PM

It's been over 10 days since the last Webzone exclusive article went up and if there was any more clear indication that things are bad in the 49er football world, I dare you to find me one.

We all do this truly for the love of writing and the love to the team. Neither source of motivation has made much of a muse for any of us so far this year and it doesn't look like things are getting better anytime soon. If you look up, you'll see where we smashed through rock bottom roughly 2 weeks ago. If you look down, you see precisely where we're headed and there's truly no end in sight.

The end of the 2010 season was, for me personally, the worst time in my near 30 year history as a fan of this team. Not only were they bad on the field, it seemed like the front office had virtually no clue of how to right the ship. The word "rudderless" was being thrown around a lot and it was truly a moment (before you-know-who arrived) where hope seemed to be a stupid thing to have. The team was deep in a culture of losing and nobody had any idea on how to turn it around.

This is worse.

6 years later we're right back in the same spot, only this time with less talent! The pre-Harbaugh teams were losers, to be sure, but they at least had some truly admirable figures playing on Sundays. Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and more were all clearly talented if not elite players, they just couldn't put it all together for a winning season.

The best we have now is an oft-injured NaVorro Bowman who is a long-shot at best to ever return to form and certainly has no more than a season or two left in his body even if he can get healthy again. The rest? Mostly hot garbage. Some young guys that are wholly unproven, some guys that should be backups, and some guys that should be teaching gym about now.

I almost wish the 3 playoff years under Harbaugh never happened at this point. Closing my eyes and seeing Frank Gore getting tackled just a few yards shy of the Super Bowl decorated end zone is like reliving a nightmare that dragged on for an entire offseason. Watching Harbaugh predictably and immediately have success with Michigan has been akin to watching your high-school sweetheart get married and have kids with the guy across town. Set against the background of a 1-6 season that's rapidly getting worse makes it all the more intolerable and the absolute cherry on top is the "owner" going mute, accepting zero accountability, nor admitting any mistake in his operation of the team.

It would almost be better if they just kept on sucking since 2010. This would be the 13th season of no playoffs and we'd either be used to it by now or long since stopped caring. Maybe Jed's seat would be getting a little hotter, Baalke would be gone, and they'd probably still be playing in Candlestick (decrepit as it may have been, I think many would love to have it back now).

Which makes me ask the question, at this point, why am I still even a fan of this organization? All but 9 players from the last Super Bowl team are gone. There is zero connection to the style of play or coaching lineage of the past. There is clearly a sub-par product on the field, and the team plays in a stadium with nothing but bad memories and zero recognition of the past.

The only connection between this team and the San Francisco 49er teams I fell in love with long ago is the blood in Jed York's veins and the uniforms. The Uni's look great (not sure about the all-black kits just yet), but I wish all of the bad things in life upon Jed York for what he's done to this franchise.

Yet, I'm still hopelessly connected to this team. I planted my flag long ago and I shall never raise another one. I want them to win when I know they won't. I want things to work out when I know they can't. I hope that something dramatic happens to pull this team out of its death spiral but I cannot even begin to imagine what that will be.

The 49ers will get pasted by the Saints, no doubt about it. Banners will likely be flying over the stadium calling for some combination of York and Baalke's removal. Fans will be littering the red seats and likely be over shouted by their visiting counterparts and I will be watching and swearing from my couch for reasons I don't fully understand.

This is the 49er fan's living reality, and it sucks.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • LCD
    Don't know if this is possible but if we can't get rid of york maybe york can be forced to give up the team name and then expand the nfl to have the 49ers in sf.
    Nov 5, 2016 at 12:33 PM
    Response: So then we will be exactly like the Browns?
  • JACK
    Isn't it obvious that the only teams that are successful are the ones who stick with the same coach and quarterback?? "Com'on man ", Kaepernick is a good quarterback, but the organication has gotten rid of everyone Kaep has been comfortable passing to. Crabtree, Walker,Boldin, and Davis. How can any quarterback ever get comfortable if they keep taking away your receivers? Kaep's worst year started when the offernsive-line couldn't stay healthy. This is the first year D.K. has played center healthy. Everyone wants to blame Kaep. But he hasn't had a steady set of receivers to work out a rhythm with. Our 49ers will never get better if we keep changing QB's and coaches,NEVER!!!
    Nov 4, 2016 at 10:55 AM
  • Paul
    Sure we were spoiled with success in the 1980's and 1990's. The problem is the 49ers had a good thing going with Harbaugh, and the GM and Owner didn't appreciate him. Now we have a weekly reminder of how good and weird Harbaugh is, and how bad ownership and the GM are.
    Nov 3, 2016 at 11:03 AM
    Response: Well put.
  • Nick
    Watching D Prescott playing the other night for the Cowboys I couldn't help but think that he was available to us in the 4th round but we end up getting another Corner rehabbing an ACL !!! Anyone in their right mind should know we are either dysfunctional or doing this on purpose to torture the fans that are loyal and cannot switch teams regardless of the circumstances...
    Nov 3, 2016 at 7:45 AM
  • Brian
    Luckily there is this great coach at the college level that has been able to turn around every team he's gone to. He only has a bit of NFL experience but turned around a flailing organization and took them to 3 straight NFC championships immediately. We'll just have to pry him away from Michigan where he's vying for the NCAA Championship. If we're lucky to win him over and then never let him get out of town we may be able to right this rudderless ship. ...Oh wait. :(
    Nov 3, 2016 at 1:35 AM
    Response: Womp womp.
  • GM
    As much as I agree with things need to change, I still believe largely that 49er fans are spoiled and don't really appreciate what it means to really have a losing organization. Do people realize how long the Saints were bad before Sean Peyton? Chargers? Vikings still haven't won anything. Houston? The list goes on. I know, I know "we're the 49ers" - and that phrase smacks of hubris which really irks me. Whatever. I guess people really struggle when they don't have a HOF coach stock a team for 15 years with great players. That's not the norm, it's absolutely the exception.
    Nov 2, 2016 at 9:23 PM
    Response: Those franchises you just listed all have had their bad years, no doubt. Yes, 49er fans have had the benefit of some amazingly good fortune. But the state this team is in right now is far worse than some of those up-and-down teams you highlighted. This is Browns-level doom we're talking here.
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    If there is anyone out there who still believes that firing Harbaugh and keeping Balkee was not a mistake is living in a dream world and does not understand much about football.
    Nov 2, 2016 at 11:36 AM
  • Rick
    I read this and I just thought of all the crap we have endured as fans the past couple of years. It sucks because there is no hope in sight. What would you or any fan do to fix this franchise? I hate the cowboys but they have youth and talent at the right spots their coach take risk when he has to and their DC has a great gameplan with the scraps that he has. I know some of it has been luck for them but we don't have any of that going for us. At least I'm getting crap done around the house on Sundays.
    Nov 2, 2016 at 10:32 AM
  • mbniner
    I remember the total despair when Eddie DeBartolo took over the team and hired Joe Thomas. He traded or cut nearly all the better players, traded away future draft choices for has-beens, removed all picture, trophies, etc which represented the 49er history, fired a couple of coaches that he hired and sent us into a tail spin (two 2-14 seasons in a row). After the first one DeBartolo hired Walsh and you saw how quickly things can change. So if a savvy GM AND coach (maybe one person, like Walsh) is found it can turn around. Will Jed do it? I don't know. I, myself, don't think that Jed is the ogre he's painted to be by many fans. I do think that he was inexperienced coming in and relied to much on "professional" advice. Like Eddie, he must step up and be his own man. I'll not give up on this currently awful team.
    Nov 2, 2016 at 10:30 AM
  • Coach Wolf
    Any so-called writer who refers to these athletes as "garbage", is clueless. Your "article" proves it beyond any doubt. Get a real job.
    Nov 2, 2016 at 6:28 AM
    Response: Any so-called reader would have been able to infer that I do have a real job from the first paragraph. This was written from a fan's perspective. Your "comment" is invalid. Practice reading comprehension and get a real life.
  • MT9ER
    I don't disagree with a lot of what you said, and certainly can't argue with or begrudge you for feeling betrayed and mislead by an owner/GM combo that has clearly made a spectacular mess of this once proud franchise. That said, I think many fans have a slightly Rose Colored Glasses view of Harbaugh. 1st, unless I am mistaken, Harbaugh was the one that wanted Kaepernick. And while he did well the first couple years, you cannot convince me that he would have continued on that trajectory even with Harbaugh. 2nd, he gave no indication that he was willing to part ways with or Roman or that offense, and that offense was terrible. The 9ers had all that success in spite of that offense, and could have or perhaps should have probably added 1-2 more Lombardis to the cade with any semblance of offensive creativity or adaptability. 3rd, they were not good his last year. They were not 2015 Tomsula or 2016 Kelly bad, but they were not good. And I think one could argue that his lack of in-game adaptability, sideline theatricks, terrible clock management, poor use of challenges, etc, were all starting to catch up to him and the team.
    Nov 1, 2016 at 9:20 PM
    Response: Nothing you said is untrue. 2014 was definitely lackluster, but if the popular narrative is true, in which Harbaugh knew he was out after that season no matter what, you can't count that season the same as the other 3. It was essentially a lame-duck year even if that wasn't what anybody was telling the media at the time.
  • RishikeshA
    Thanks Jesse, as a fan watching the team fire Harbaugh made me believe winning was no longer the issue once the Stadium cash was in the bank. A GM that is super slow on the trigger and treats offensive football like dirty words. Ownership must show us they care, they can't sit back any longer.
    Nov 1, 2016 at 7:02 PM
    Response: I'm not ready to say it yet, but it is starting to feel like a total money grab by ownership.
  • Ninersush
    I couldn't agree with everything you said more. For what it's worth I have been trying to tweet to Jed mike&mike nfl commish directv and others about why ratings are down in my house due to most of the things mentioned in this article. Maybe putting some financial pressure as to why I cancelled my directv by the crap on the field and in the front office I don't know maybe a twitter voice will do something buy probably not. This sux. I'm honestly not even watching much football this year and I hate that.
    Nov 1, 2016 at 5:06 PM
    Response: Me either dude, me either. I hate it too.
  • Monsterniner
    We need QB, #1WR, OLB, TE and some depth at ILB and RB. Trading for Garoppolo for 2 2nds, signing Jeffery in free agency at a high price (that´s the only way he would come here) drafting Myles Garret in the 1st round. Then we can get a TE with good hands in the middle rounds, a reliable backub RB later and maybe we can sign an ILB. The O-line is good, the starting RB is good, Armstead and Buckner can be very good if Williams or Dorsey can make a strong come back and the secondary is strong. Obviously we need a new and smart GM, a great DC (Gus Bradley maybe) and most of all we need to spend money, a lot of money.
    Nov 1, 2016 at 4:32 PM
    Response: Oh is that all?
  • Arturo Bradley
    To say that SF does not have talent outside of Bowman is totally false. This team is very young. Besides Bowman they have Hyde, Brown, AA, Defo, Lynch, Reid, Tartt, Ward, Robinson. The real issue is they dont have QB, WR, and EDGE and that falls on Trent Baalke. Those 3 positions are probably the most important in today's game and if your team does not have any of those, then they will be in trouble. Trent Baalke needs to go. He has destroyed this franchise and I hope Jed York has a clue by now that this man should not be running the team. Unlike most GMs, Baalke does not collaborate with scouts and coaches and tries to do the draft on his own while assembling this roster. Baalke is a tyrannical GM who thinks he knows everything but he really has no clue. This is a guy who barely had any front office experience before taking over as GM, and I believe this is what hurt Baalke which in turn hurt this team. At this point Id rather see a new GM or even Tom Gamble. At least with Gamble I know he has a good working relationship with Coach Kelly and has well over 20 years of front office experience, so he could not possibly be worse than Baalke.
    Nov 1, 2016 at 4:17 PM
    Response: Putting any of those guys in the same category as the guys I mentioned is a HUGE reach. They all have talent and upside, but they've not for one single second shown flashes of elite ability.
  • Greg
    I wonder if Jed is laughed at by other owners as a fool or whether he is admired for making a fortune on the back of a few players and Jim Harbaugh. Every single media member should repeat the same question to Jed when the opportunity arrives. "How are you being held accountable?" Just keep asking the same question over and over until a reasonable answer is given.
    Nov 1, 2016 at 4:03 PM
    Response: I like where your head is at but he'd crawl even deeper into his cave of money and never be heard from again if he was pressed to actually answer a tough question.
  • Gerry
    I ran into a bad ownership situation with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. Championship franchise that died when a bad owner named Harold Ballard bought them and ruined them. Last championship was 1967. When I couldn't switch teams, I had to switch sports and started supporting the Niners in 1981. Wow! I was great! Still, because of my past experience, I picked an AFC team to watch as a backup. I liked Deron Cherry, Lloyd Burris, etc. as a secondary on the Chiefs. Lucky for me, Joe Montana lands with the Chiefs. Later, Alex Smith. Now I feel like you about the Santa Clara Yorks or whatever this organization is. Anyway, until ownership changes and a real Niner's organization returns, Go Chiefs!
    Nov 1, 2016 at 3:24 PM
    Response: Thanks for the sage words, Gerry. I'm definitely a hockey fan also, Blackhawks, so having a good run with that. But football is my sport and the Niners have always been my team. More emotionally attached to them than even my college alma mater. I love loving pro football. Having a really hard time doing that.

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