I was at dinner with a big group of people last night — some I knew, some I didn’t — when the conversation took a turn toward sports. I still love the topic, which makes sense considering I write on a sports website and tweet about sports all day. But in this instance it got awkward.
One guy was an embarrassed Rams fan from St. Louis, and the other, a mourning Seahawks fan from Seattle. When I half-heartedly revealed where I place my allegiances, they both looked at me and said, “What the hell are you guys doing anyway?”
That’s a damn good question.
I see a lot of justifications being thrown around by 49ers fans hellbent on defending the colors: Jim Harbaugh was probably a difficult guy to work with! Jim Tomsula did wonders with the defensive line! This team still has Super Bowl talent on its roster! We can’t judge Tomsula because we haven’t even seen him coach a game yet!
The first two are probably true. I couldn’t imagine having to deal with Harbaugh every day, and Tomsula was a decent d-line coach. But this team is far from the truly stacked squad they trotted out a few years ago, and I won’t bother arguing the semantics of that last one.
I don’t need to see Tomsula coach. Maybe he will be fantastic, but it would be more the result of divine intervention than careful planning if he is. Go ahead, make excuses, as long as you understand that if this was happening to the Seahawks we’d all be going Jeff Ross on them right now.
At the middle of all of this: Jed York and Trent Baalke, who just a year ago could have walked into any bar between Ukiah and Monterey and consumed the entire top shelf without having to pay a penny. Now things are looking a lot different for these two; they’re like the power-crazed capitalists that built a gorgeous new cruise ship and charged their patrons thousands to get aboard. But its maiden voyage fell flat and they threw the skipper to the sharks. It’s headed for an iceberg now, and everybody knows it but us.
It’s pretty easy to overlook this disaster when you’re sitting inside the hype machine that is the 49ers’ home market. You’ve got the team’s pre- and postgame host telling you that Harbaugh admitting he was fired is he said/she said old news. You’ve got the Warriors to distract you. And you’ve got hoards of #Faithfuls (a moniker that’s getting to be as annoying as the 12s) making excuses for this dumpster fire of a franchise.
The 49ers are truly the NFL’s disaster du jour. Everyone still standing at 4949 Centennial Way has egg on their face. Baalke left his footprint on Harbaugh’s back when he rose to a position of complete power within this organization. Tomsula, while he may be as opportunistic as it gets, looks completely unfit to be a leader of men. And York, now exposed as a disciple of his father rather than his uncle, just got exposed as the spoiled rich kid that took his ball and went home when he didn’t like the way the other kids were playing his game.
The only person unscathed is Harbaugh, no matter how hard York tried to leak the blame for this calamity on him. He’s getting ready to work his dream job, tweeting Frank Gore quotes and making us miss him more and more everyday.
If you’re not embarrassed, you’re not paying attention. To the rest of the NFL, the 49ers are now the Jets of the West. The Raiders, for the first time in several years, are making MENSA-quality decisions in comparison to their cross-bay counterparts. The rest of the NFL — yes, even lowly Rams fans — are laughing at us, and as well they should be. You’re supposed to laugh at jokes, and right now, the 49ers are the biggest joke in the National Football League.