Blog Entry

The Path To Faithfulness...

Posted on: August 18, 2008 1:11 am
Edited on: August 18, 2008 12:14 pm

I am a 49er Faithful. But it did not start out this way.

I remember being 8 years old. It was 1982. I remember my dad watching something called football on television. It was the NFC Championship game between the 49ers and Cowboys. It was the game that featured "The Catch". Dad was screaming and yelling at the TV. But not in an angering manner. He was excited. I did not understand how something on TV could cause such an emotional roller coaster. This began my exposure to football. As with any 8 year old, I was very impressional...and indecisive. I decided I wanted to be like dad and watch football too. But I wanted to blaze my own trail. I was feeling rebellious and actually chose to follow the "other" local team...the Oakland Raiders. Dad was not happy when I secured a Raider sticker and stuck it on the family van. However, being the good father he always was, he decided to bite his lip and let his kid be a kid. The sticker came off a year later at my own hands.

It didn't take long for me to change my loyaties. That same year, the Raiders decided to move to LA. As an 8 year old kid, I was crushed. I couldn't understand why the team could do something like this to the fans, or even worse...TO ME!!! (It wasn't until years later that I learned about Al Davis and the politics of the NFL). At this point, I was so mad at the Raiders for moving that I decided to follow the 49ers. Dad was happy too.

I guess I really didn't appreciate football all that much until after high school. Life between the ages of 8 and 18 can be very distracting. Although, in high school rivalries are born. The majority of the kids were following the 49ers or Raiders. There are the few that don't follow the norm. We had one die hard Bills fan, one Lions fan and a few followed the Packers or Cowboys. I remember one girl liked the Broncos because she liked horses. Whatever works, I guess. There were always good conversations about the 49ers. After all, these were the years between 1988 and 1991. There was a lot of talk about Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott. The 49ers were blessed with many great players. After high school was a different story.

The next 10 years after high school was about working and going to college. I really couldn't get my act together until 1997. But one thing I did start doing after high school watch watching football on a regular basis. It was like a flip of the switch. It was a night and day difference. Every Sunday was spent watching football from start to finish. I would try to watch as many Niner games as I could with Dad. Other games were watched with friends or by myself. I don't know what intrigued me the most...the scoring, the physicality, the schemes, the players. Maybe it was all of them. I mean the the 49ers had it all. We had a high scoring offense with players like Montana and Rice. Bill Walsh's West Coast offense was the talk of the NFL and we had a fearless hitter in Lott (Mr "Woooo" hit). I like to drink beer too. When I turned 21, I would spend the next 3 years of my life at the local pub (Brewpub on the Green/Fremont Brewing Company) for every Monday night football game. These 3 years were the most educational in football for me. I watched so much football that I could name starting rosters and most backups. I knew who the head coach, offensive/defensive coordinators were for each team. I learned schemes such as the West Coast offense, Run and Shoot, 4-3, 3-4, 4-6 just to name a few. I learned the various formations, everything from an I-formation to spread. I learned to read defenses, safeties cheating up into the box, zone blitzes, etc. These were pluses that would eventually pay off in fantasy football. In short, Monday Night Football was very valuable to me.

All of this just made me appreciate the 49ers even more, AND we were winning. Eddie DeBartolo (team owner at the time) always found a way to make the team competitive. The 49ers were winning a lot of games and were a playoff, if not a Super Bowl, contender every year. We were fortunate to have very little dropoff from Joe Montana to Steve Young. We had 5 Championships between 1981 and 1998.

It's easy to call yourself a fan when your team is winning all the time. The true test of being a fan is how well you handle your team losing season after season. I had been spoiled with 17 winning seasons. After that, winning became a little more sporadic. I handled it pretty well after the retirement of Steve Young. Jeff Garcia came in, had a couple of losing seasons and then (with the help of T.O and a solid Mariucci running game) brought the team back to the playoffs. Then 2003 came and losing became a lot more common. I struggled with the Terry Donahue era. What DeBartolo helped build in the 80's and 90's was ripped apart in 2 years under Donahue and new team owners, the Yorks. I see the hiring of Nolan in 2005 has the team heading in the right direction but the 49ers are still a below average team. Through all of this, I still manage to catch every game, win or lose.

I've come to the realization that even the losing cannot take away the greatness that the team has already brought us. Therefore, I am prepared to accept the losing to any capacity and to the day I die. I would hope that the 49ers can once again rise to the top. But it is not the most important thing to me. What is important is that every Sunday between the months of August and December (and sometimes through January) for the rest of my life, I have a team that I can call my favorite.

I am a 49er Faithful.

Category: NFL

Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2008 6:24 pm

The Path To Faithfulness...

very nice story.  i didn't really get started into foottball until around 2002-2003 when my dad asked me if i wanted to join his office pick'em pool.  that very same year, i won in a squares pool in the super bowl when the Bucs beat the raiders.  ever since then i have been doing fantasy and knowing whos on what team and what players work where.  only things is, i don;t have a fav football team.  Kind of sad.  Since i started doing fantasy leagues, i've leaned more towards favorite players like T.O or Ocho Cinco.  i love their antics and passion for the game.  I love their top dog attitude cuz they know they are good and can talk trash because they perform at the highest level week in and week out.  i really like fantasy basketball too. i grew up in Sacramento and love watching the Kings.  I can relate to your story with that.  Ever since the Donoghty trials and gambling with basketball that threw away the kings chances in overpowering the lakers in the 2002-2003 season, the kings just haven't been the same, and has since been on a downward spiral of losing and rebuilding.  The kings had almost 10 yrs of winning tradition when they drafted and brought in talent in the 1998 season. and now nothing. oh well.  im like u, ill stick by them no matter what.

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: August 21, 2008 5:37 pm

The Path To Faithfulness...

Great story! Usually it's the kid that switches teams for their father. For you, it's the other way around. Way to go. Not only did you convince your dad to stop watching the Rams, but you switched him to a division rival.

Since: Aug 12, 2008
Posted on: August 21, 2008 5:18 pm

The Path To Faithfulness...

Why am I faithful? Let me spill my thoughts - if you don't mind this why I bleed the red and gold...

First off, I really enjoyed this blog, even though i wasn't even born when you started watching football in 1981. I have always been a Niner faithful, although I had to do it on my own. My parents moved from Southern California to the Bay right when I was born. My dad and grandfather were passionate Rams fans. In fact, my first ever professional football game - and first McDonald's BigMac) was down in LA to watch the Niners play the Rams.

I believe it was then, way back in 1991, when I fell in love with the 49ers. I was also 8 years old when I caught my first sniff of the sport, maybe a little young for the Big Mac, but still infatuated with these iconic sports figures named Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. I was too young to really appreciate what the Niners had accomplished in the 80s, but knew that there was something special about the game, the comradarie; the competition that built my passion.  I knew they would be my team to love, and I am still content with my decision way back when and will be a Niner fan for my whole life. I bleed the red and gold all day, every day.

I grew up loving this team. Nothing would have me think otherwise. I couldn't be an Oakland, I mean LA - oh yeah - Oakland Raider fan. I was taught to despise Al Davis.  Nobody ever questioned my love for the 49ers growing up. When the Rams moved away to St. Louis, I was able to get my father to start following the Niners. He caught on, as he saw the passion I had for this team. He knew I was more happy to watch the games than to play with friends, or do anything that a kid "did" way back when. As a Niner fan, I was too spoiled - we all were. Joe to Steve Young? Come on now!! 

Too bleed the Red and Gold, I must agree with you. Football is like having a wife - to be considered faithful, you cannot cheat on your loved one, right? I love the niners, and although I don't like what I have seen since Steve Mariuchi left us, I must stick by mate and get through the hard times.. Shoot - i prefer Football over my girlfriend in a heartbeat. if I had to choose between the 49ers and her, she would have had her bags packed months ago.

14 years and 3 titles later, we must come together as fellow faithful. We must let the world know we still love our team just as much as we have when they were the best team in the league year after year. We might not have the team we once did, but the dynasty will never, ever be forgotten. Now that I am the old age of 24 (soon to be 25), I understand the format of why coaches call plays what they do (Well, not-so-much if you have been working with Alex Smith last year), and now have a bigger passion and desire to watch and participate in the game of football.

Too young to think about it still, but when I am ready to have kids one day, I cannot wait to bless them with a big ol' fuzzy niner hat and ol' school 49er outfit for them to sport. They will bleed the Red and Gold just as much as I do.

I can ramble on and on as to why I will always and forever love the 49ers. Through good times and bad times, they are my team and they can always trust that I will be supporting them. I am a Niner faithful. I bleed red and gold - and am DAMN proud of it!





Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2008 5:40 pm

The Path To Faithfulness...

Thanks for the kind words Joe. I wish I would've caught this thread sooner. Keep up the good work! - STAN

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2008 1:07 pm

The Path To Faithfulness...

Nice one, it's a little late, but I'll submit it to the newsroom for consideration! It's weird to see how many people started their fandom during a bad time (teams struggling or leaving town). I can't wait for the team to get better, either. I know we're only a player or two from starting that uphill climb, but I'm starting to think we may be waiting a while to find them... especially if Alex Smith can't get it together this year.

Thanks for helping out,

- Joe

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