The Catch happened 30 years ago this week, launching a 49er empire, and there is a lot of nostalgia floating around Centennial Blvd. these days. Montana, Lott, Rice, Craig, and Clark were all onstage Tuesday night for some sort of hoot and holler event. The timing of this remembrance is kind of spooky with the team now, once again, trying to start another empire.
Both the 1981 team and this team caught everyone by surprise and both finished the season with 13-3 records. We’ll see how the rest of the similarities work out, beginning this Saturday against the Saints.
All of us were quite a bit younger thirty years ago, to state the obvious. Those of you who are bald had hair. Those of you who are portly were not. Those of you who were ugly still are! Haha. Just kidding. We’re all beautiful in the land of the red and gold.
30 years is a good chunk of a man’s life. Time enough to go from dreaming about who you would become to actually becoming it, whether that becomenance was what you thought you’d be or something quite different. 1982 not only was the year 49er history changed, but so did the world’s. It was the year the personal computer age arrived in earnest.
My own world on that pivotal 1982 afternoon was located in a roach infested one room skid row tenement joint with Vietnamese refugees as neightbors. I watched that game by myself on a 13 inch black and white TV, which was the only luxury I owned, other than my typewriter. My car was a broken down old Buick with a leaky radiator that gave me about ten miles of driving before the water ran out. My girl friend was the checker at a local supermarket who had no idea who I was. She was cute and perky and I sometimes wonder what idiot she ended up wasting her life on.
That was the Brown Derby era of my life. You could pick up a box of 24 of those 11 oz dillies for $2. About two months after The Catch, I went to work for a friend doing computer data entry and I’ve been staring at PC monitors every day of my life since.
Jed York was either in diapers or in utero in 1982. Most of you were in your teens or twenties. I’ve followed a lot of sports for a lot of years, but what began for the 49ers in 1982 was the single greatest franchise run I ever saw in any sport. The only other run comparable might be the 1920s and 30s Yankees, but that was before my time.
Back to the present, the 49ers have the best defense and the Saints the best offense, so this game is a best vs best deal, and thus uninteresting to the fickle gods of football. Those characters had a big laugh in Denver last weekend, where the best pass defense went up against the worst passing offense and got torched. Worst over Best is a real knee-slapper in godsville. But Best vs Best? Yawn. The outcome can’t be twisted.
I’m not even going to mention Patrick Willis’ hamstring. Mum’s the word on whether that baby is 100+% ready this Saturday and not even one teensy thought of re-pulling it is flitting around in the back of Patrick’s brain while he’s covering Jimmy Graham. Go away, bad thought. Scram. And don’t drift over to Ray McDonald’s hammie, either. You know, right next to Justin Smith’s injured knee. We’re only talking about the big three heart of our defense here. Or would be, if I were to mention it, which I’m not.
Frank Gore says he’s okay. That’s good. When he says he’s fine, he’s not. When he says he feels great, forget it. His ankle’s broke and he won’t last one set of downs. But okay is good. Terrific, even.
Over the next three and a half loooooooooooooooooong days, we’ll see every analysis in the world about the 49ers and the Saints. Even marginal fans will be able to grasp the gist of this deal by then. In the end, it’s just football, though. We need to go out there and knock the snot out of these punks. From the opening kick off to the final whistle. Go Niners!!!