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Featured 49ers Fan: Podcaster/Writer Levin T. Black Says Garoppolo Critics “Aren’t True Journalists...They’re Shock Jocks”

Gilbert Brink
Jul 6, 2020 at 7:05 AM


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Levin T. Black is an unsung podcast hero. Carefully striking a balance between obsessed analytics nerd and the wise elder statesman at the bar. His insights, humor, and wit are one-third of the very best 49ers podcast out there — the 49ers Webzone "No Huddle Podcast" (available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google PlayMusic). I don't say this because I write for the Webzone myself. Long before I volunteered to write here, I would search for a good 49ers podcasts to listen to. It would take quite some time before I found the No Huddle Podcast. At that time, Levin T. Black was yet to join the crew, but it didn't take long to get hooked by host Zain Naqvi's commentary on the best franchise in sports.

When Levin T. Black joined the show, his laid-back demeanor and grounded perspective played perfectly off of Zain's exuberant approach. Later on, Rob "Stats" Guerrera would join the fold to add the element of national media knowledge to what was already the most knowledgeable 49ers podcast around. If you aren't listening to these three, you're depriving yourself of some of the best 49ers content available.

Recently Levin was gracious enough to sit down and give me a moment of his time to discuss his experience as a 49ers fan and some of the current issues facing the team.

What is your first 49ers memory?

LB: 1996 vs. Green Bay in the playoffs. I remember losing to them, and kind of disliking the Packers and not really liking Favre. Then the next year it happened again, and it cemented it, screw the Packers. It still is that way up until this day. Maybe in the last eight years, Seattle has come and passed them. A funny thing is, due to the time I came, I don't like the Cowboys, but I don't have the intense hatred because I don't remember a true big game played against them.

Who is your favorite 49er of all-time?

LB: I got a TO jersey in 2000, and for 3-4 years, I wore it every Monday night to the bar to play a game called QB1, where you called out what the next play would be. Everybody in that bar knew me as Owens. It's between him & Steve Young for my all-time favorite, but it's probably more Terrell Owens because I have more true memories of watching him play.

Do you have a least favorite player?

LB: Trying to think of a player I truly dislike, and that has faded with time. The only player I can remember why the heck is this guy playing this much is Kevan Barlow. I thought of another one, and I cringe at the mention of his name: Kyle Williams. It's not that I hate him, he just made a mistake, but any time his name is mention I just go "ugh."

Out of the last four playoff losses ('12 vs. NYG, '13 vs. Baltimore, '14 vs. Seattle & '20 vs. KC), which one was the worst for you?

LB: It has to be the Crabtree-Sherman game. Not only did you lose, you lost to Seattle, and then you have Sherman taunting you after. Plus, at that time, I had a co-worker who was a Seahawks fan. So that was a very poor time to lose to Seattle.

There has been word circulating that the 49ers and TE George Kittle may agree to a deal averaging $13 million per year. And if you had to trade Kittle, what would be a fair compensation for him in a trade?

LB: First off, there is no price for George Kittle. You trade him, and your offense is cratered. There is no return that would be worthwhile. Without getting a top-tier tight end, that offense is crippled. I don't care if some team offers three future first-round picks, it's not worth it. He is the keystone of the offense.

In terms of the contract, $13 million would be a huge win for the team. It's a fair number. It's the first number I suggested in December when we first talked about it on the [No Huddle] Podcast. It's the number that makes sense because it's a significant pay raise for the top tight end on the market, but it's not crippling to the 49ers. If it ends up being $13 million, it'll be interesting to know what the hell took so long.

Here we are speaking of contracts and trades, but do you think a 2020 season is even possible?

LB: The only way this season happens is if the team, the league, and the players have all decided, "I don't care. We need to get paid." If you think about it, when does an NFL player have a day off? One day of the week? There are no days when they don't have some type of contact with somebody on the team. All it takes is one person, not even necessarily a player, whether it be the ball-kid or the down-marker guy at a game, and then everybody there needs to be quarantined.

What is your ceiling/floor for the 2020 49ers?

LB: Ceiling is to seal the deal and win the Super Bowl. Predicting more than 13-3 is more than wishful thinking, but the ceiling would be winning the Super Bowl. As for the floor, it really depends because the 49ers have had so many injuries in recent seasons. If injuries are part of this floor, you're looking at 6-10. The injuries have been so prevalent for the 49ers they could get ravaged by injuries.

What do you think of the media's approach to Jimmy Garoppolo?

LB: It's easy, and it gets reactions, and it gets viewers. The people who keep harping on him aren't true journalists. They're more shock jocks. They're there to say something to get a reaction. They're not there to truly report with substance. There are question marks there with Jimmy. He has deficiencies that he has to work on, like the one or two throws a game that makes you think, "What the heck were you even seeing to make that throw?" But, overall product, he's a top-10 in the league and if you got a top-10 quarterback, quit b---ing because it could be a whole lot worse.

You can catch Levin T. Black penning articles for 49ers Webzone, speaking his mind on the No Huddle Podcast (available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google PlayMusic) and bantering with the masses on Twitter @dasportsbum.
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.


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