If you live in the Bay Area, it’s easy to recognize that the 49ers are once again a proud and fashionable franchise. 49er apparelled torsos and torsoettes walk the streets, go to the banking window, shop at the malls, and even stroll down the aisles of churches. During the playoffs, it was red and gold everywhere you looked.
Not a pleasant time for Raider Nation. Hahaha. There was a Raider fan manning the nearby KFC cash register who looked gravely ill every time I stood before him last season, grinning from ear to ear as I ordered my crispy boiled fat saturated yummy shit. Quite a lot of fun. Needless to say, he was not amused when I ordered the Hue Jackson Melt Down Special in a spirit of whimsy. He pretended to be confused, which is pretty easy for a Raider fan to accomplish. But he knew. And it hurt.
But this will be the only happy and contented non-SB winning offseason for many years to come. Expectations will be high for 2012. It’s back to “Super Bowl or Bust” seasons now. No more of this “Please let us squeak into the playoffs” stuff.
Expectations may never get as high as they were in 1997, when then owner Eddie DeBartolo pushed the NFL’s winningest coach George Seifert out the door in favor of a young and overrated Steve Mariucci and grabbed the microphone during the news conference to utter the famous “He’s gone!” phrase that also pink slipped then OC Marc Trestman after a 12-4 season that ended with a Divisional Round loss to the Packers, but they will be high enough to cause epic misery each season that falls short of perfection. 12-4 and out the door! That is some serious attitude. But such was the state of the franchise then that fans didn’t even blink at Eddie’s ruthless tantrum.
The gods of football noticed, however, and Eddie’s blunt blurt to Trestman became a prophetic bit of irony, when less than two years later, the NFL said “He’s gone!” to Eddie himself — a tad less blurtingly, of course — setting in motion the long, downward spiral that finally ended in 2011.
If Jed York had more Eddie in him, an appropriate time to emulate would have been after the next to last game of the 2010 season. A simple “He’s gone!” Tweet regarding Mike Singletary would have been received enthusiastically in 49er fan land. But, alas, we got the standard bureaucratic pink slip language.
Will Jim Harbaugh step up to the plate when some reporter asks him about Moran Norris returning to the team in 2012? “Nope! He’s gone!”
Last year about this time, many some a few fans were looking forward to a beatific “He’s gone!” moment concerning a certain 49er player, but instead got the chilling words “He’s back!”
The one phrase we most definitely do NOT want to hear would be the one from a guy who comes out of a cave on 12-21-12, looks around at a devastated world, and stammers, “It’s gone!”