Some people are fans of the San Francisco 49ers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the San Francisco 49ers. This 2013 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the 2013 NFL previews so far right here.
Your team: San Francisco 49ers
Your 2012 record: 11-4-1. That tie against the Rams really makes you question everything, doesn't it?
Oh, and one more time for posterity:
I love Harbaugh's body language in that clip. If I make the holding sign forcefully enough, someone will do something!
Your coach: Walking heart disease warning Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh is the best coach in the NFC and I'm not gonna bother trying to prove otherwise. He certainly gets the award for MOST coaching. You won't find a coachier coach. But I can take solace in the fact that he'll never last. There's just no way he's gonna make it another three, even two, seasons without spontaneously combusting. By the end of this decade, he'll have been forced out of the game by concerned loved ones and his cardiologist, and he'll be stripping and repainting old boats on the West Coast of Mexico. Then he'll ease back into coaching by taking a low-pressure job at Cal, turn them into a powerhouse, and die of an aneurysm on the sidelines. Bruce Banner has an easier time keeping a level head.
Your quarterback: Colin Kaepernick. One quarterback in the Gang of Four is destined to suck this year, and if I'm gonna bet on one of them, it's gonna be the guy who doesn't know how to wear a hat, has no healthy wideouts to throw to, and has the throwing motion of Byron Leftwich on sedatives.
You Chablis-swilling SEO monkeys in the stands at Candlestick better pray that your little Fast & Furious extra stays healthy. Because if he doesn't (and given that he'll be forced to run 100 times, he won't), it's four months of Colt McCoy throwing balls at the ground and Austin Collie getting concussed the second he sees any flash of bright light.
Your fantasy player everyone will hate: Frank Gore. For such a productive offensive football team, the Niners boast an unreasonable number of annoying fantasy players: Gore (who no one ever wants to draft), Vernon Davis (incapable of playing well if it's the regular season), Michael Crabtree (hurt), Anquan Boldin (HATES scoring touchdowns), LaMichael James (he was supposed to be Darren Sproles, dammit!), and more. It's like Mike Shanahan's perfect roster for scoring eight fantasy points a week.
Why your team sucks: This is the franchise that pretends to be classy, and yet the Niners fanbase consists mostly of your standard Bay Area hooligans, who rock goatees and stab people in the parking lot. Many Niners fans are simply Raiders fans working undercover. They're just as violent and miserable, and they deserve to have their entire franchise shuttled out 50 miles south to Santa Clara, where they can't hurt law-abiding San Franciscans. The rest of the fanbase consists of transplants who go to the Niners game just so they can network with someone they found on LinkedIn. OMG THIS STADIUM HAS NO BIKE RACK! (designs app that gets recommended in Wired but is used by no one)
Niners fans are unique in that they are both spoiled AND disloyal. This team has won FIVE Super Bowls, and even that wasn't enough to keep people hanging around during the Singletary years. Hell, they could barely tolerate Jeff Garcia taking them to the playoffs. No no, this team has to average 13 wins a season to get natives to actually look up.
By the way, did you know Chris Culliver is still on the roster? It's true! Let's see him get his asshole scorched one more time...
That's what you get for angering the people at BIG GAY, Culliver. Look how far Jacoby Jones gets past him on that play. Was he sending a text when the ball was snapped? Jesus.
This is arguably the best defense in football, and yet whenever the playoffs arrive, they're more than happy to give up 50 zillion yards through the air. And the defense is somehow worse this season. Thanks to the standard free agent looting of any Super Bowl team, there's no more Dashon Goldson and no more Isaac Sopoaga. The only notable additions they made were rookie Eric Reid, a rookie lineman coming off a torn ACL, and the ghost of Nnamdi Asomugha. What the hell happened to him? Did someone put a gun to his head and steal his closing speed? It's inexplicable.
Everyone is hurt already. Patrick Willis is hurt. Michael Crabtree is hurt. Mario Manningham, who isn't even that good, is hurt. Austin Collie WILL BE hurt. The entire Niners' season depends on Kaepernick not regressing and Harbaugh keeping an EpiPen nearby.
Why your team doesn't suck: They have the best coach, the best defense, and one of the best young quarterbacks. Pfft. Whatever. SO YOU GOT THE MOVES BUT DO YOU HAVE THE TOUCH?!
This is the team I'm picking to win the Super Bowl. Given that I picked the Saints and Jets to win the last two Super Bowls, I think I'm DEAD ON.
The 13 worst Niners ever:
1) Dennis Erickson. They could have hired Sherm Lewis! That would have fixed EVERYTHING. So racist!
2) Jim Druckenmiller
3) A.J. Jenkins. You gotta work real hard to flame out that quickly as a first round pick. Why draft him at all? Why not draft an empty coffee mug? Speaking of which...
4) Glen Coffee!
5) Mike Rumph
6) Rashaun Woods. Give the Niners credit: when they fuck up a draft pick, they REALLY fuck it up.
7) J.J. Stokes. "Whoa hey, he's not Jerry Rice-ish at all!"
8) Tim Rattay
9) Chris Berman
10) Antonio Langham
11) Mark McMillian. Who knew signing a dwarf to play cornerback would end up being a bad idea?
12) Fred Weary
13) Lawrence Phillips. "My bad, you guys."
Emails from Niners fans!
Now that they are good again, everyone assumes I'm a bandwagoner. Our coach is a fucking asshole. If he was the coach of any other team I would hate his fucking face.
Our coach is a whiny blowhard whose special ability is not being fucking Mike Singletary.
At least the SB loss didn't deter every LaxBro and his mother from hopping on the Niners bandwagon and rocking a Kaepernick 7 jersey and SF flat-brim snapback.
Embarrassed Niners Fan:
Colin Kaepernick will implode in a cloud of muscle fiber and tattoo ink and I will be left feeling just as disappointed as I was when the Niners inexplicably failed to call a running play from the goddamn five yard line in the Super Bowl.
This team lucked into the best young coach in a decade after already having Bill Walsh and Joe Montana just 30 years ago. You’d think with that kind of good fortune the fans would just shut up and be thankful for their absurd luck, but no not only do these idiots complain about Jim Harbaugh they call in to KNBR in droves to say shit like “Uhhh this is Salty in Clovis and I think that Jim Harbaugh will regret benching Alex Smith for the rest of his life”. Seriously?! The coach who almost recruited Andrew Luck AND RG3 to play for 4-8 Stanford is going to regret benching this guy?
The best part about the whole Alex vs Kaep thing is that these people don’t actually like Alex they just think that because they grew up watching Bill Walsh and Joe Montana they are somehow experts when it comes to offensive football and that their opinion is gold. I shit you not after Kaep put up the steroids version of the 2003 Mike Vick playoff game against Green Bay I had people on Facebook saying “Fine Kaep, you might be good enough to lead this team”.
Mike Singletary still gets an absurd amount of love from the fan base despite the fact that he was quite possibly the worst coach in NFL history. All because he happened to yell at Vernon Davis on TV the year before Vernon scored 10 touchdowns. During their run in 2011 you couldn’t go 5 feet without running into the “HEY SINGLETARY BUILT THIS DEFENSE HE DESERVES CREDIT” fan. When in fact “Coach” Singletary’s noted contributions to this defense are: throwing a temper tantrum in the draft room when Trent Baalke wasn’t going to draft Taylor Mays in the second round and vehemently insisting that Patrick Willis was “too small to play the position”. Mike Singletary’s sole contribution to this team is imploding just in time to open the job up for Coach Harbaugh.
The team has one of the most iconic stadiums in the history of the league in one of the greatest cities in the world and instead of just renovating it they’re moving to the Santa Clara so they can stuff their luxury boxes full of Facebook and Google employees. I work in tech and I consider it a minor miracle that the new stadium name doesn’t have .com in it. It’s going to be so depressing when 60K forget to make noise because they were too busy watching Redzone on their iPad.
I can confirm that Niner fans are now basically Raider fans. The only way to tell the two asshole groups apart are by which stupid, sideways tilted, flat brimmed hat they're wearing.
The coach, Jim Harbaugh, is a ginormous, defensive, paranoid asshat, even as football coaches go.
He blames every loss on the refs and completely loses his shit on the sidelines after every call, even when it's obvious that the zebras got it right. According to him his players never hold, never commit pass interference and his ball carriers always have their knees on the ground before they cough it up. Objectivity is not his strong suit.
Harbaugh also was the one who closed off all practices (not just the Wednesday and Thursday ones) to the media because of his paranoia. When he was told that previous coaches like Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary hadn't done that, he responded, "Yeah, well look at how those teams played. You think about that.
And then he turned and walked off a few feet, turned back around, and sneered again, "You think about that," as though he came up with the most clever, profound argument ever.
He claimed that the media bullied and labeled first-round bust A.J. Jenkins, as if it was the media's fault the guy sucked at football. This was the same Jenkins that Harbaugh guaranteed would make "the pundits and so-called experts look like fools" after people panned the pick two Aprils ago. Jenkins was recently traded to the Chiefs, becoming the first receiver picked in the first round not to catch a single pass for the team that drafted him since 1970.
After the trade, Harbaugh said he defended Jenkins because of his own experiences as a player, saying he struggled with the team that drafted him before having his "signature years" in his second stop. He likened his situation to Cris Carter.
Let's get something straight: Carter could ALWAYS play. He wasn't an HOF-level receiver with the Eagles, but he was still good. Buddy Ryan joked he got rid of him because "all he did was catch touchdowns," though the real reason of course is that he dumped Carter because he had a huge drug problem. Still, Carter as an Eagle was a far better player than Harbaugh as a Colt, and it's not close.
As far as the team goes, they better pray that Kaepernick, who may well be an alien, stays healthy because their backup situation is complete dogshit. If he goes down (a running QB suffer an injury? That's unpossible!) they're done.
Same thing with the defense, that's entirely dependent on Justin Smith staying healthy to be good. Once he went down with a triceps injury last year they were complete garbage. Aldon Smith needs to tithe 50 percent of his salary to Justin because without him he can't get within the same area code as the quarterback.
People from San Francisco lose their collective shit when you call it "San Fran" or "Frisco." "Ah, you call it San Fran?! You must also eat gluten and sugar. To hell with you." "San Francisco" is a fucking mouthful, who cares.
I watched the 2011 NFL draft with a bunch of fellow Niner fans. Everyone fucking flipped out when we traded up (!) and drafted Colin Kaepernick. "He throws like a girl!" "He runs like a baby giraffe!" So anyone who croons over Kaep started out fucking despising the pick, until all of a sudden they realized he can win football games and better yet, not be like Baby Hands Alex Smith.
Candlestick Park is the BIGGEST DMT-riddled stadium on the planet. It smells like the inside of a rotting donkey. The fans are piss drunk on Modelo and stoned off ragweed. We can't even play the Raiders anymore because it turns into a goddamn Roman Stadium of inebriated middle aged over weight men, whiffing on punches and falling to the ground in utter exhaustion of 20 seconds of physical activity.
Fucking Kyle Williams, fuck.
I have lived in Northern California for eight years now and between 2005 and 2010 I don’t remember seeing a single GORE or SMITH jersey. Locals would just rave about the Bill Walsh teams and Montana and Young and act like the present-day 49ers did not exist. Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary (2 of the worst coaches of the last decade) were barely acknowledged and the locals rooted for Peyton or Brady or Favre depending on the amount of fog in the air that day.
Enter Jim Harbaugh and suddenly there were 49ers fans, jerseys and paraphernalia everywhere. I have not seen a faster bandwagon ever. I went to the stadium last year for the playoff game and the 49ers fans are the worst. I hope to never go to one of their home games again. The fans are tanked up on booze and calling every ref and every non-49er fan a faggot every other minute. One Packer fan had to run out of the stadium midway because a Niner fan just started pissing on him. There is talk that the move to Santa Clara will class up the stadium and fan-base but I doubt it. Niners fans are just assholes looking to cause trouble.
Also, their owner is the most entitled SOB. Without realizing that he was born into wealth and stumbled into Jim Harbaugh, Jed York has the self-awareness of Will Smith’s son. His radio interviews are the worst and when a fan died at a pre-season game two years ago, he said moving to 18 regular season games would have fixed it.
The 49ers are the worst.
We have the most bandwagoned QB of all time.
Yankee and Lakers fans think we need to cool it on the arrogance.
Five yards away from winning the Super Bowl with one of the most talented mobile QBs in the league and a running corps that had been slicing up a tired Baltimore D and you throw three goddamn passes in a row.
Damn near no one knows anything about Santa Clara so let me introduce it to you:
Remember Initech in Office Space? That's the entire fucking city of Santa Clara.
With Harbaugh comes the chant of "WHO'S GOT IT BETTER THAN US?!" Boy, do they love that. You can probably tell with how they won't stop yelling it before and after every game.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Do people really chant that? That's the worst thing I've ever heard. I hate the Niners more than any team ever now. I'm not exaggerating.)
I asked Jim Harbaugh for his autograph when I saw him at P.F. Chang's. He told me I had to arm wrestle him for it.
Remember when, within the past 2 seasons, a Raider fan has 1) Stabbed an opposing fan in the neck after winning the game, 2) Stabbed a Cowboys fan before a game in which the Cowboys weren't even playing, and 3) Shot 2 opposing fans before a pre-season game? Oh wait, sorry, that was a 49er fan doing all of that actually, that's right.
A friend of mine names all his dogs after 49ers players. He has two right now named Frank Gore and Patrick Willis, but his cat's name is Jeff Garcia.
Colin Kaepernick looks like that turtle Franklin from Nick Jr, just bigger and with more tats.
I honestly say I have not attended a single game at the "World's Largest Outdoor Meth Lab" aka Candlestick Park in the last 15 years out of fear for my personal safety. This experience is shared by just about every non-Norteño 49ers fan below the age of 30.
My brother did some framework for Jim Harbaugh and his wife the other day. He said Harbaugh was intense but it was kind of undercut by the fact that he was wearing Crocs.
Also, fuck Kyle Williams.
San Francisco was not one of the top ten metered markets in the television ratings for the Super Bowl last year.
Fuck Greg Roman.
49er fans are the five-time prom queen constantly needing to be told that she's knockout gorgeous.
Candlestick is literally surrounded by mounds, giant fucking mounds of mulch. The sinewy wood pulp you place in gardens marks the entire perimeter of the stadium. I could only imagine the amount of rats and weird undocumented life forms that could be inhabiting wet, two story piles of wood shavings. It's like a hamster cage in the DMZ.
Ninety percent of our fans jumped on the bandwagon in 2011. If I were to draw a Venn diagram of post-2011 49ers fans and Kobe-era Lakers fans in the Bay Area it would look like this: O.
Did you know they signed Eric Mangini as an offensive consultant this offseason? That actually happened.
Did you catch the NFC Championship trophy presentation last year? Did you get a load of Jed York's neck hair? Dude was wearing a suit that probably cost more than my car; he was clean shaven, short haircut...yet he had two rose bushes growing out each side of his neck.
Screw Dennis Erickson.
Candlestick Park is the worst and now we will get a season long swan song every game about how great it was and how this person was at the 'Stick during this great game. The Bay Area rif raff have found their way to games and now cops show up in other team's gear and make dozens of arrests each game.
We are the biggest turncoat fans in the league. No fan base will be so quick to hate a players guts then turn into unapologetic cock jockeys when they start showing even a scant bit of promise. Fans will tell you how much they appreciated Alex Smith for all he'd done for the franchise and that they're sad to see him go, when they were probably the same fucktards who chanted for David "One Concussion Away From Walking Vegetable Status" Carr to replace him during a game.The same idiots who said Michael Crabtree "Doesn't deserve to be a Niner anyway" when he held out during his rookie contract negotiations and now claim they knew he was going to be great all along. I can't tell you how many people hated the Aldon Smith pick when he was drafted or undoubtedly questioned us trading up for Colin Kaepernick, and now say "In Harbaugh and Baalke we trust!" You didn't trust shit you assholes! In fact, all we do is question and bitch and moan.
Mentioning the Wine-and-cheese-apathetic-snobby-San-Francisco-crowd is too easy; they still exist, but they've been replaced on the front lines by some of the most hopelessly stupid people to ever like football. After nearly completing what would have been undoubtedly the most impressive Super Bowl comeback ever, I saw fans begging Jim Harbaugh be fired.
Jim Fucking Druckenmiller.
In 2013 the secondary will be even worse, the D-line will be kind of old, opposing defenses will have had a whole off season to figure out how to defend Kaepernick, the Seahawks will rise, our best WR will be replaced by with Flacco's favorite companion (who is in his late 30's by the way), and Harbaugh will be two bonehead decisions away from becoming a punch line who is more famous for his toddler fits than his coaching.
What most people outside of the Bay Area don’t realize is that the 49ers fan base has devolved over the past 15 years into a gathering of drunk, violent troglodytes, to the point where one would only opt to take young children to a football game at Candlestick Park if literally forced at gunpoint to choose between attending a contest at that antiquated commode or braving the dystopian wasteland across the Bay in Oakland. Even then, I’m not sure I’d recommend Candlestick over the O.co —it’s sort of liking picking whether you’d rather be stabbed by someone who was once collared by Dog the Bounty Hunter or kicked to death by Sonny Barger’s mutant offspring.
The irony, though, is that while Raiders fans are appropriately feared and loathed by other NFL fans, everybody still thinks 49ers supporters are effete, white wine-sipping, fancy lad lovers of “finesse” football (that wonderful 80s slur used to mock the Bill Walsh-era Niners no matter how many safeties Tom Rathman cold-cocked, how many pinkies Ronnie Lott had amputated or how many assistant coaches’ cars Charles Haley took a shit in). This lasting perception of the fandom enrages the thugs patrolling Candlestick’s parking lot during the tailgating festivities-slash-gang war that happens before each home game, so they feel obliged to ratchet up the general sense of menace pervading the park and its environs with each passing season, you know, to prove that they’re not fucking homos.
The good news is that the 49ers are moving to a new stadium in Santa Clara next season, sure to be a state-of-the-art, jock-sniffer’s Candyland of high-priced seat licenses, family friendly bread-and-circuses pap, and enough Wi-Fi coverage to give everybody brain cancer by the second quarter.
1. We're worse than Raiders fans. Seriously, growing up in the Bay, I've spent countless hours around both franchises. The bad end of the 49ers fans are worse. They do things like assault people in bathroom stalls, shoot Raiders fans,harass young girls, and generally act like idiots. In bars you hear the words, "can I have a double long island" with far too much frequency.
2. The stadium is a complete and total shithole, and somehow people act is if the history there makes it worthwhile. They couldn't even keep the power on for the MNF game against the Steelers two years ago. The place is pressed up against the Bay in the middle of a fog bank and with one freeway exit and no public access except for the notoriously shitty SF bus system. I live 4 miles away as the crow flies and it takes me 2 hours to get inside.
3. The new place, which is 50 miles away, is the dreams of the worst douche bourgeois Northern California stereotype. I had a sales rep in my office last week tell me that they are really going for a "classy Napa and Sonoma vibe". Look at the ticket website, I shit you not, there are only rich looking people drinking wine in every mock-up. The tickets are nearly 5 times what they are now.
4. Most Niners fans somehow try to hold themselves to some bullshit "classy" standard. They conveniently forget that beloved owner Eddie D was indicted on federal gambling charges, or conveniently forget that the team once employed OJ Simpson. They piss on Raiders and Cowboys fans in some sort of mock class war that makes zero sense. (see point #1).
5. I'd hate Harbaugh if he wasn't my coach.
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks: personal anecdotes, encounters with fans, etc. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: Miami Dolphins.
Art by Jim Cooke, photo by Getty