The list of players/coaches who routinely get the most wet glops of dirt heaved at them from the 49er fans has been noticeably shrinking, both in number and decibels.
Two years ago, the top targets of disdain were Mike Nolan, John York, Alex Smith, and Vernon Davis. Not a day went by that these four mud magnets weren’t pelted from sunrise to sunset. And the mud throwers were not by any means gentlemanly in their criticisms. A veritable howling and angry mob.
Nolan, of course, is gone. As is John York. Vernon Davis no longer has stone hands or a stone head. He’s a team leader and pro bowler. Even the Niner Insider’s snotty and delusionary elitist, Sophrosyne, always the first to label 49er players as busts, has STFU regarding Davis.
John York was replaced by his son Jed, and though John remains pretty much a pariah, the venom directed at Jed has been mostly confined to sniggering at his young age, while deflecting the real heat back to his father. “Lucky Sperm” isn’t a nice term, but it smacks of envy as much as contempt.
Mike Singletary was a huge fan favorite while he closed out the 2008 season as Nolan’s more than capable replacement, but within a month of the season’s last game, he began to draw severe heat for his prolonged search for a new Offensive Coordinator and his selection of Jimmy Raye was anything but wildly popular. Singletary’s qualifications to be a Head Coach were the hottest topic on the blogosphere the entire off season and “Dingleberry” surfaced as the most popular pejorative of the dissenting crowd.
Jimmy Raye has not been popular from Day One. He has been criticized for his track record, his looks, his age, and his game plans. But the criticism is more like a discontented murmur, rather than a full fledged howl. So far.
But the improved play of the team in 2009 has severely muted the mud throwers. The insulting references to “Dingleberry” and “Lucky Sperm” have disappeared from the festering lips of all but a few die hard grumblers and screwballs. Scot McCloughan has been replaced with Trent Baalke, who came roaring out of the gates with possibly the most enthusiastically endorsed Draft in many, many years. An eerie, quiet cheer has settled over the fan base.
Alex Smith remains the sole survivor from the original mud list of two years ago. This unflappable dude has absorbed more hits and weathered more storms than Homer and his Odyssey. The anti-Smith faction remains passionate, vocal, and consumed with contempt. But that faction is noticeably smaller and many of its itchy members have gone from directly insulting Smith to implying the insults via trumpeting the possible career of Nate Davis, our 3rd string QB.
The off season crowd has yet to find its post-draft focus or target(s) for the annual mud toss. The blogosphere awaits. Tremulously.
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