• Matthew Mani
  • Written by:
    Matthew Mani
    Matt Mani is a lifelong Bay Area resident, having benefitted from attending every Niner home game from 1973 to 1998. Along the way, he developed a deep love of the game and for the team. He is a practicing attorney in Marin County and, aside from pulling hard for the Niners, Warriors and GIants, writes in his spare time. He is father to three sons who all bleed red and gold. He somehow convinced the editors at 49ers Webzone to give him a chance to prove himself as a content provider, which has fulfilled one of his life's dreams.

Matthew Mani's Latest Articles

  • By Matthew Mani
    Sep 11, 2020 at 1:49 PM 0 comments
    My dad passed away three weeks ago as of the writing of this article. It was sudden and unexpected, and the result has been a gaping chasm in the foundation of our family. My mom, brother and I are still processing, as are my kids, my brother's kids, all of our extended family, and scores of friends. As I sat numbly, the television playing something that did not even register with me, an ad for the start of the NFL season, the Thursday night game between the Texans and Chiefs, happened to air. I thought about the upcoming season, the fact that it might actually happen, and that the Niners will have a chance to make another run at the Lombardi while their window of opportunity stands wide open. Generally, I would have been pumped, because football season is my favorite time of year. I have...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Apr 25, 2020 at 10:30 AM 7 comments
    I need to start this off with a disclaimer: I am writing this with absolutely zero sources or input from anyone in the 49er organization. It is pure, unadulterated speculation on my part. However, if you follow my logic, I believe that my reasoning and conclusions are sound. Ok, now let's get on with it. The 49ers showed this weekend that their front office is perhaps the smartest and most forward-thinking in the league. I say this during the morning of Saturday, April 25, 2020. The Niners have just announced a trade for Trent Williams, the 7-time Pro Bowl left tackle formerly of the Washington Redskins, but whose relationship soured when the team grossly mismanaged a medical issue that he had. On a personal note, my heart is heavy because this almost surely means that Joe...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Feb 7, 2020 at 12:08 PM 124 comments
    Dear Jed, Kyle, John, and all the coaches and 2019-20 49ers players: Thank you. Thank you for what was an incredible, magical, thrilling season that came so, so close to being perfect. But like most things in life, perfection was just not possible. I am not talking about a perfect record - I am talking about a perfect experience from a fan's perspective. Allow me to explain. I have been a 49er fan for about 46 years. My dad started taking me (along with my mom and brother) to games in 1973, when I was just a little guy. I didn't go to many games until around 1977 or so. I remember 1978 when OJ became a Niner and the team's future went out the window. It was a fiasco. That all changed shortly after Bill Walsh took over, and we had almost 20 years of dominance....
  • By Matthew Mani
    Feb 3, 2020 at 12:05 PM 9 comments
    Yesterday's Super Bowl is an event that will stay with Niner fans for a long, long time, a black cloud hanging over our heads, a punch to the gut that left many of us feeling almost physically ill. The team absolutely controlled the game for the first 45-plus minutes, at which point it had a 10-point lead. The majority of the fourth quarter, however, was a nightmare that just kept getting worse, the end result being the team's second Super Bowl loss in its last two appearances and Kyle Shanahan's second loss after having a late lead in the past four years. One can not begin to imagine how Kyle feels today, the thousands of hours dedicated to the ultimate goal, the Lombardi Trophy, all snatched away in the blink of an eye. I, like most fans, was left with the huge question of what exactly...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Nov 20, 2019 at 6:27 PM 3 comments
    This season has been incredible for the Faithful - our team, which was projected to maybe finish at 8-8, or 9-7, or possibly 10-6, if things broke right and injuries didn't hit too hard, is currently 9-1. The best record in the NFL. Think about that for a moment. The Niners are once again relevant. They are in position to make the playoffs, possibly win their division, and make a legitimate run at the Lombardi Trophy. The work put in by the front office, the coaches, the entire organization, has suddenly and dramatically paid off. There have been some challenges, however, and more lay ahead for the team. The fact that the team has managed to keep things moving in the right direction to this point, coupled with the fact that it looks like players will be getting healthy and the team as...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Sep 26, 2019 at 3:09 PM 3 comments
    The 49ers are 3-0 for the first time since 1998. That is a statement that few, if any, expected would be written as the team heads into the bye week. Social media is inundated with people offering their respective opinions - on the team, on the players, on whether moves should be made, whether the Niners are legit or just got lucky by beating three bad teams, on literally every aspect of the team - which is incredible as well. This team has its fans galvanized, excited, looking forward to the rest of the season to see if this might be the year that the team returns to the playoffs, filled with something that has long eluded them - hope. Members of The Faithful have hope for the first time since the Harbaugh era, hope that the team will be relevant, that it will return to a...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Aug 25, 2019 at 12:21 PM 13 comments
    The 49ers have had to deal with a roster that was paper-thin over the last few years. The front-line talent was not the best, but once any injuries hit the level of player available to fill needed positions that talent dropped off precipitously. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have done an excellent job of bringing in NFL-level talent since they took over, a process that takes some time, but one that has resulted in the approaching roster cuts being as difficult as any that even the best teams in the NFL face. In fact, one could argue that they will release three or four defensive linemen who will immediately fit into other teams' rotations. That is a good problem to have, of course - but it makes the decisions that face the administration ones that will likely result in lost...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Jul 17, 2019 at 7:00 AM 2 comments
    The 49ers have been a dark horse pick by many experts to make a significant upward move in the 2019 season, from possibly making the playoffs to winning the division and maybe even challenging the top dogs for a run at the big game. Whatever the prediction, the focus has been on the wide receivers group on offense and the pass rush and DBs on the defensive side of the ball. The receiver position was addressed in the draft (and the signing of Jordan Matthews, to a lesser extent). The pass rush was addressed through the signing of Dee Ford and the drafting of Nick Bosa. The cornerback position was addressed somewhat with the Jason Verrett signing, although he is coming off of a significant injury. The safety position, however, was left completely as it was at the end of last...
  • By Matthew Mani
    May 21, 2019 at 3:43 PM 4 comments
    You hear the phrase all the time, particularly coming from the mouths of coaches who are taking over really bad teams: "We are going to try to change the culture here." What does that mean, exactly? The word culture can mean all sorts of things, depending on the context. In terms of sports, and of teams, it generally means that management is trying to bring a work ethic, a team-first mentality, a camaraderie, a professionalism and a single-mindedness to literally everything that goes on inside the team facility. This, as you can well figure, is not an easy thing to do. Teams need talent, first and foremost. It is fairly impossible to win in the NFL, and certainly to win consistently, without talent on the roster. That does not mean that the most talented teams win every year. Last...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Apr 12, 2019 at 11:40 AM 12 comments
    With the draft two weeks away, and with the insanity of free agent signings far in the rearview mirror, football fans are fairly frothing at the mouth for something relevant to discuss. Sadly, that is not likely to happen until maybe a day or two before the draft, if we are lucky. This slack tide period of football fandom has led to some writers to a state of near obsession regarding certain players, wild trade scenarios, and the like. It is all just a way to whittle away the hours in the day as we wait for that magic day, April 25, to arrive. I myself have described the NFL draft and my fantasy football draft days as being better than Christmas. The excitement, the anticipation, the possibilities make every fan hopeful that his or her team will hit the jackpot and fill every weakness on...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Apr 4, 2019 at 11:45 AM 4 comments
    With the draft less than a month away, and free agency fairly settled (excepting a few outliers, such as Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah, Eric Berry and a few others), there is ample time for fans and pundits to develop every imaginable theory regarding teams' plans for April 25th and beyond. Teams themselves are running incredibly complex and diverse disinformation campaigns in an attempt to ensure that none of their competitors has any idea regarding draft strategies and targeted players. Historically, no one, not even the so-called (and often self-described) "experts" comes close to getting the draft right. Remember the collective gasp last year when the Browns selected Baker Mayfield first overall? Remember the shock and derision with which so many talking heads treated that pick...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Mar 28, 2019 at 3:56 PM 9 comments
    The 49ers have been working through the offseason to try to address some of the many needs they have on the roster, as every fan undoubtedly knows. Their focus has been on defense, which was necessary because of, among other things, poor play in several positions, loss of players due to expiration of contracts, and even the jettisoning of a player for non-football reasons. The Niners have had challenges come at them from every direction, mostly as a result of injuries to key players as well as to players they had wanted to spend significant time watching during game situations. I mean the defensive backfield in particular here. Adding Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford and Jason Verrett gave them a Ruben Foster-like linebacker without the baggage, a proven edge rusher and a cornerback who, if...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Mar 19, 2019 at 3:16 PM 14 comments
    Popular opinion has been that the 49ers are going to select Nick Bosa with the #2 pick in the draft, if he is available. Bosa is the consensus choice as the best edge rusher coming out of college, something that is tough to argue. Some believe that the 49ers will actually select Quinnen Williams, the defensive tackle out of Alabama, seeing him as possibly someone to pair with DeForest Buckner and the newly signed Dee Ford, and maybe adding Justin Houston, to create a front four that is all but unblockable. Both of these points of view are wonderful to consider, particularly since 49er fans have been starved for a good pass rush for several years, and the thought of seeing Russell Wilson and Jared Goff being swarmed over repeatedly is almost enough to bring tears to the...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Mar 16, 2019 at 9:59 AM 11 comments
    The 49ers picked up Tevin Coleman this week, adding a skilled running back who understands and has played in the Shanahan offensive scheme. However, the team already had a number of viable backs on the roster, making the move somewhat puzzling. Aside from Kyle Juszczyk, their lone fullback, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson carried the ball effectively, with Jerick McKinnon, the anticipated starter in 2018, on IR after tearing his ACL on September 1. Historically, the team has carried three active tailbacks on the game day roster, which would mean that at least one healthy, startable back (taking Wilson out of the equation) would not suit up. This might not actually be the team's thinking, however, particularly given their lack of proven wide receiver talent. Bear...
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