October is a nice month. Fallish and beautiful in some areas. Mild and not yet winter in others. Northern Hemispherically speaking. And excluding places outside the Tropic of Cancer, east of Lubec, north of Seattle, west of Kamilino Bay, south of Key West, and the entire state of Texas, which is inhabited by cretins who don’t know what year it is, much less what month.
But October has not been nice to the 49ers for many years.
[Voice from the back of the room: Why pick on October? They’ve stunk every month!]
Each of the past six years, off season dreams of quality, playoff bound football have been crushed by October ineptitude. The lone exception was last year, when these dreams were stomped out by an 0 for September, which made the October swoon anti-climactic.
As if to remind 49er fans of this seasonal broken heart, the evil NFL schedule makers have arranged to have the team kick off the month on the road as a 10 point underdog to the Philadelphia Eagles. This is sand in your face disrespect. With a laugh track.
If the 49ers somehow win this game, nobody will even know, because all that will be discussed is “What’s Wrong with the Dream Team Eagles?” Nary a soul will mention, “Hey, How ‘Bout Dem Niners?”
The team is preparing for this epic challenge to their manhood by hanging out in Youngstown, Ohio, re-setting their body clocks and steeping themselves in DeBartolo lore. It is from this berg that the seeds were sown that would become the 49er Empire that ruled the NFL landscape during the final days of the 2nd Millenium.
The upcoming Eagles game should provide a clearer picture of the impact of new 49er head coach Jim Harbaugh. So far, Mr. Harbaugh has managed to fend off his critics by sporting a 2-1 record, despite some of the ugliest offensive football ever seen in 49erland — and we have seen a lot of ugly in recent years. Harbaugh was supposed to redeem the offense, not regress it. Another ugly effort Sunday will get the team walloped, both on the field and in the blogosphere.
A winning effort Sunday, though, would definitely get the woo-woo juices flowing, no matter how the win was achieved. It might even get this scribe’s creative juices flowing, which have been slowed to a yawn lately. There’s a sense that 49er fans are disinclined to get all rah-rah yet again with a new coach and are more or less patiently waiting — for either the annual let down or a verifiably true sign of break through football. Both possibilities are in play this weekend.