Enough with the Knee-Jerk Reactions

Perusing multiple NFL articles is a frequent ritual for me.  By far, my central focus is the San Francisco 49ers.  But, I read them all.  I take in information on all 31 other teams as well.  One thing in particular consistently strikes me as humorous, yet frustrating.  In today’s NFL, there is such a desire for change on a week to week basis.  We want to bench, cut, or trade a particular player that doesn’t perform particular well for a game, series, or maybe even a boneheaded play.  The knee-jerk reaction has become an epidemic.

After two consecutive losses early in the season for the 49ers, I saw it everywhere.  Colin Kaepernick is terrible!  He’s regressed so badly. Is there anyway we can get Alex Smith back from the Chiefs?   Tarrell Brown been a consistent target for pass interference penalties and his coverage as well.  There’s no way Brown should even be on the field!

That’s just a couple examples.  Lastnight, Indianapolis Colts fans were longing for the days of Peyton Manning after a mundane performance from Andrew Luck.  In St. Louis, there’s a weekly witch hunt calling for the firing of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.  The epidemic is everywhere! It’s with all 32 NFL teams.  And it’s outright ridiculous.

Twitter is a double edged sword.  I get that.  I enjoy twitter mostly for purposes associated with the 49ers.  I like hearing from and interacting with fans that are spread throughout the entire world.  I enjoy them enlightening me with their opinions that maybe I don’t see.

But on that other edge are the head scratchers.  The comments coming at a moments notice that make rational seem like a pandemic come far too often.

The NFL season is a full fledged novel.  It’s not a chapter….not a page….not a paragraph….not a sentence.  Is it too much to ask for to let the a season play out before we rush to judgment?  There’s no need to bury Colin Kaepernick, Tarell Brown, or anybody for a certain performance that we didn’t seem up to par.  Look no further than the career of Steve Young as proof of that.

Steve Young’s career as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer is often overlooked.  His 3-19 record as a Buccaneers starter with 11 touchdowns and 21 interceptions would have left him jobless in todays NFL landscape.  Social media would have crucified Young as a quarterback.  But thankfully, Bill Walsh didn’t really give a crap what anyone else thought.  Bill Walsh brought Steve Young on board as a 49er and let him write the rest of his story.  The idiosyncrasies of that story are fascinating, but that’s all well documented elsewhere.  The moral of the story is that Steve Young became a legend in 49er lore as one of the greatest Super Bowl winning quarterbacks of all time despite a horrific beginning to his career.

It’s a cruel, cruel world out there.  We live in a world where we have the opportunity to criticize high priced athletes at every poke of a keyboard and anyone can see it.  As 49ers fans, our reputations have taken a massive hit by recent actions seen at Candlestick Park.  We’ve seen obsessive drunken debacles, brutal beatings, unforeseen celebration during injuries, and even multiple shootings.

As fans of the greatest organization in the NFL, the very least we can do is refrain from berating our own players we root for.  I’m not asking any passionate fan to be, for lack of a better term, be a rah-rah sissy.  But, the 49ers are now in the midst of a three game winning streak and Colin Kaepernick and Tarell Brown have been starters for all three of those games.  And now, Colin Kaepernick is back in everyone’s good graces once again.

So I ask 49ers fans, do any of those knee-jerk reactions seem warranted now?  Doesn’t it defy rational thought to long for the days of instability at quarterback? Doesn’t all the whining and dramatic complaining just seem….well, stupid?


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