Slogans, motivational speeches can’t cover up San Francisco 49ers’ faults

Nov 9, 2009 at 12:19 AM9

On a chilly San Francisco evening, my eyes caught a glimpse of one of the 49ers' stadium souvenir cups sitting on a seat once occupied by another hopeful San Francisco 49ers fan. The cup had a picture of Frank Gore on it with the slogan "Talk Doesn't Win Games" written above his photo. Apparently, neither do the 49ers.

Minutes earlier, in the closing minutes of the game with the 49ers down by seven, I was still filled with hope. Then it happened. Alex Smith threw his third interception of the game, which was returned for a touchdown. This essentially ended any hope that I once had for a victory. As piles of fans scoured for the Candlestick Park exits and the team wasted time driving for a worthless touchdown, I sat there staring off into the distance toward the season that could have been. A season full of promises and hope. Promises that this team would be something special. Hope that this team, with special players like Patrick Willis and Frank Gore, would deliver on those promises. I sat there quietly and watched as the clock slowly headed toward 0:00. Once it hit that mark, the door closed on all those promises and hopes. All I was left with was the reality that this was not a special 49ers team. It was yet another team that had lost its way.

Then I realized something. All year long, fans in San Francisco had been spoon fed slogans like the one on the cup. "Don't Tell Me. Show Me" and "I Want Winners" are just a couple to add to the list. In reality, these slogans are just that. They are false hope. They are just words meant to stir some excitement in a team that no one would have otherwise considered a contender. They were cool phrases to plaster on Bay Area billboards and merchandise. They were ways to get season ticket owners to renew and to fill the stadium seats.

In reality, no matter how hard the 49ers try to cover up their faults with cute little motivational slogans, they are no different than the teams from previous years. They deliver hope, but in the end, the fans will just be left disappointed. The team started out with an impressive 3-1 record. Since then, they have dropped 4 straight games. Three of those four losses were to competitive opponents, two of which they had a chance to beat. However, the Tennessee Titans had won only one game this season and should have been an easy opponent to face. If the 49ers struggled against them, what are they going to do as they face better teams down the stretch?

Players like star linebacker Patrick Willis, obviously drinking the same kool-aid as most of the fans, promised a long awaited return to the playoffs. Now, that promise looks to be fading away.

Fans seem separated when trying to figure out who to blame. Is this the fault of the players? Is it the fault of the play calling? Is it Mike Singletary's fault? Maybe the answer is "All of the above."

The players make too many mistakes. Dropped passes, stupid penalties, and sloppy mistakes are abundant. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye's offense is both predictable and boring. In no way does it strikes fear in the hearts of opposing defenses. Stop Frank Gore and success will follow. Only when the 49ers fall behind do the coaches open up the offense, usually with some success. But they are not built as a come-from-behind team. Even when leading in a game, as they did at halftime on Sunday, the uninspiring play calling allows for an opposing team to mount a comeback. Then there is Mike Singletary, branded and marketed as the savior of the 49ers. The man who hired Raye and who fully supports this style of offense does not seem to have any answers. He only offers more motivational speeches to try and cover up the overall issues. However, until the team starts delivering, they are still just empty words delivered by a man trying to give the impression that there is some grand scheme in development. His players look unprepared and overwhelmed. Sure there have been some injuries, but most NFL teams have to deal with that.

Weeks ago, after a blowout loss to Atlanta, I asked if this team was a contender or a pretender. The answer is now abundantly clear. I have a new slogan for the 49ers. "Win Some Football Games." Only then, will they be taken seriously again.
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.


  • Paul A.
    David, Well done. This organization is no different than any other, it starts at the top. I am sure Jeb wants to win, as we all do. He needs to look at the organizations in this league that are succsessful year after year. They have strong, experienced " football" people through out the structure. They have a vision /plan for the team that is a step ahead of the rest of the league. And when those people are identified, they pay a premium to hire them and to keep them. I do not see this with the 49ers. I do not understand the reluctance to use the Walsh years as a model for this organization and team and I fear the longer this organization keeps going in the direction it is going, the further away we get from championship football.
    Nov 10, 2009 at 9:56 AM
  • Justin L
    And if the Niners lose to the Bears then what will happen. many have been saying that this was a game that the Niners needed to win. Tennessee is a solid team and I think they had bad breaks .That doesn't excuse the Niners. I just think the 49ers are in that mode where they look at a team o n the schedule and say we could win this one and we don't. Then there is another team that is beatable ,and they lose to them, and then we move on to the next one, and the next one, and the next, saying they are all beatable and they don't deliver until we just come to the conclusion that hey they just aren't that good. and frankly, if they lose to the Bears who "supposedly" are bad,at home, then it is game over. forget about playoffs ,forget about .500. The 49ers would have to play out of their minds just to get to 8-8. There is something about this team,whether it's the front office,the coaching,or just something between their ears that is inhibiting them from playing like they are capable of.Until they figure that out they shouldn't be favored in any game. Except maybe the Rams or Lions and even THAT is not a guarantee.
    Nov 9, 2009 at 11:35 PM
  • ShaneO
    i gotta agree with Chris P man. I think Tenn is much better than their record. this team was 13-3 last year. is it a different team? yes it is, but its hard to believe that a 13-3 team is TERRIBLE one year later. Johnson is a stud, Young looks good, some of the WRs are comming around and the D finally looks alive. Now with all that said 9ers SHLD have won this game, but they didnt lose to a terrible team. i wld agrue that Tenn is better than the bears right now. With the offense starting to come together, a cut back on mistakes cld lead to a 3 game winning streak, crazier things have happen. none of the 3 next opponets are unbeatable, the bears look terrible, GB cant protect the QB... much like us, and Jax is hot n cold. so we will see. But also we cant throw Sing under the bus just yet either. i read this article i thought it was about Nolan. this isnt a guy implementing his brand of football for 3 years. he is 8 games into his first yr. hey i know this is the 2009 modern day NFL but im not ready to run the guy outta town after 8 games. with Hill it did seem like there were less mistakes but thats what u get with smith, high risk... reward remians to be seen
    Nov 9, 2009 at 8:24 PM
  • niner
    its time to walk the talk. After 5 years going on 6 over horrid OL play, something desperately needs to change. If its Scotti so be it, if its the the rejects that coach the OL let it be them. If Sing cant figure out football 101 , you cant pass or run the ball without a OL, then he has to go.
    Nov 9, 2009 at 1:58 PM
  • Chris P.
    First let me say that Tennessee was not a bad football team. They're record did not reflect how talented that team was, and I'm not drinking the same kool-aid as others when I say that. Secondly, this season is far from over. I believe it is very much within the realm of possiblity that in three weeks this same team that you are so dissapointed with is 6-5. We play three pretty average teams all of which stand 4-4 and in fact the rest of the schedule is quite soft except for maybe a couple weeks. Call me crazy, but it's a little early to be throwing in the towel here David. C'mon man, you just gotta believe!
    Nov 9, 2009 at 8:20 AM
    Response: The 49ers are 1-3 against what I would consider good teams. They are 1-1 against average teams. And they are 1-1 against bad teams. I can't see them winning 3 straight against the Chicago, at Green Bay, and hosting Jacksonville. Especially considering how we played against the Titans. Do I think the Titans are as bad as their record? No. But saying they are average is pushing it.
  • Mike
    Not until we have a legit QB will this team be successful. That is the bottom line. The failure of that lands at the feet of our Gm. He has failed 5 straight years in acquiring a qb to lead this team and should be held accountable for it.
    Nov 9, 2009 at 7:25 AM
  • Jay
    The 49ers are the Obama of football. They raise spirits by talking & bringing a lot of hope but always fail to deliver...
    Nov 9, 2009 at 7:22 AM
  • Justin L.
    As far as drafting a mess of offensive lineman and think that will solve the issue.I am frightened at the prospect. I do not trust McCloughan to draft offensive lineman with any competency. That is why I am so weary of even considering just drafting lineman. if they don't have a good O-line now, do we really want to put two or three rookies in front of smith, hill, or davis for that matter? I Personally would do this;depending on where they are drafting. I would look at the quarterbacks that are coming out,(Clausen,McCoy, Pike) pick one of them.Use the second pick and move down several slots, acquire more picks, draft a right tackle with your second 1st rounder and see if you can't move up into the first round with remaining picks to get a cornerback or safety. I just personally feel they need to solve this QB situation once and for all. Address the O-line with some younger veterans ,not ones who are on their last legs. Jennings,Allen..etc. If they get rid of the cap money won't be an issue. I just hope that we are not seeing a senario like with the Golden State Warriors where the losing becomes such a way of life that good players start leaving. That would be a true waste.
    Nov 9, 2009 at 1:27 AM
  • Justin L.
    I couldn't agree with you more. This has become a disturbing trend with the 49ers the past six..going on seven years now. No way should a team that is supposedly improved lose to a 1 win team.Especially at home. The scary part is they might be facing some 1 win teams near the end of the season. Granted, Tennessee has talent. They wouldn't have won double digit games if they couldn't get it done. but the Titans were floundering.This was a game the 49ers could have won.This was a game that they needed to win to be taken seriously. I realize that the O- line is a mess, and the D-line is not too far behind if they continue to be on the field. and hopefully these issues will be addressed. and as much as I like Alex Smith and Shaun Hill they're two quarterbacks that are not in the elite catagory. and for those to hold out on false hope thinking that there will be dramatic turnaround with these two is unrealistic at best. Let me put it this way, if we as fans are having an argument about which two quarterbacks (who are not elite level) should start, sadly,that means the 49ers have no quarterback and it should be addressed and with the QB class coming out now, that area needs to be settled
    Nov 9, 2009 at 1:11 AM

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