The 49ers close out their offseason practices this week. If you gleaned any useful information from these sessions, congratulations. Your drug of choice has served you well.
Joe Montana‘s recent birthday was a painful reminder that we once had recognizable, even beloved, heroes playing for the 49ers. They’ve handed out so many new jersey numbers this offseason that we won’t even know who we’re rooting for until halfway through the year. NaVorro Bowman‘s 53 and Joe Staley‘s 74 are about all that’s left from a team we knew.
In fact, we know the guys who play for Arizona and Seattle better than we do our own team. And many of us, including this scribe, have gotten quite comfortable rooting against the Niners the past two years, as an enjoyable anti-York protest. The other team has gone 25-7 in that span, making Sunday football viewing eminently satisfying.
One thing that is crystal clear at this point: Kyle Shanahan is a lot better looking than his bug-eyed, maniac-stare father who obviously spent a lifetime using his teeth as a bottle opener. I remember wondering, when the elder was the OC here in the early 90’s, how somebody so strange looking could possibly command attention, short of hauling out a pistol and waving it around.
But enough with the heart-warming family portraits. There’s been a lot of speculation about whether the Niners will be improved this year and by how much. One thing that isn’t speculated is whether they will be a playoff contender. And that means, no matter how happy anybody is about the hiring of Shanahan and John Lynch, we’re still looking at enduring yet another dismal season. Hard to get excited about that.
Best bet is another year of rooting for the other team. Jed York will be uncomfortable, and that’s always good. And one more year with a high draft pick is probably a wise investment.