Back to football for the moment. There are four games left, they might be interesting, and they might be all we get to see until next August. May as well try to enjoy them, too. We have no idea what we’re going to be getting next year, after Jed York finishes squandering the best asset the organization has had this century.
It’s probably fitting that Sunday’s opponent is the perennially dysfunctional Oakland Raiders. Both franchises are headed up by children who inherited their clubs from the family. York has the edge on Mark Davis, so far. He’s gotten the 49ers a new stadium, minus any semblance of Home Field Advantage, but roaringly hi-tech and suitable for the league to use it for Super Bowls. Davis is still staggering around with Oakland, toilet problems, and a team that has won only one game this year.
I occasionally see citizens walking around wearing Raider paraphernalia and I can’t help thinking, “Aren’t you embarrassed?”
Then I remember they are Raider fans and consciousness has no relevance in their existence.
From 2003 to 2010 these two franchises battled for bottom feeder of the year. Tampa Bay whipped both of them in the 2002 playoffs and Super Bowl, sending each spiraling down the path to ignominy. The 49ers broke out of the muck in 2011, but the Raiders just dug in deeper.
It’s ironic that these two teams play this weekend. Both are coming off embarrassing ass kickings. The Raiders are 1-11 and have nothing but pride and Bay Area bragging rights to play for. The Niners still have flickering hopes of making the playoffs and this game is vital to keep those hopes alive.
But it’s also possibly a crossroads moment for each franchise. If the current rumors turn out to be true, Jim Harbaugh, the man who raised the 49ers out of the muck, is liable to step across the conference and begin to raise the Raiders out of the same mess next year. What happens to the Niners after he leaves is anybody’s guess. But a descent back into shitsville is not out of the question.
At kickoff, though, all the politics go out the window for three hours. The only question is whether there will be more violence on the field or in the stadium. The game should be a 49er walkover, but we all know how that’s gone lately. May as well have one more nail-biter before the heading to Seattle for either the final nail in the coffin or the most stunning victory of the Harbaugh era.