Well, the 2013 season has come to an end. The Denver Broncos appeared to miss the meeting informing them that there was a Super Bowl to play. I don’t know how to explain it….. maybe, they were all caught up in the fuss of it being Groundhog’s day. I hear Punxsutawney Phil is quite the enamoring creature. He certainly had to put on a better show than Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLVIII. But, I regress. With our beloved San Francisco 49ers extending their Super Bowl(less) streak to 19 seasons, allow me to ask a question.
Where were you the last time the San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl?
When I pose a question like this, it’s not intended to ruffle your feathers. It’s not intended to look back on one’s spectrum of fan hood and long for the hoisting of the Lombardi Trophy. I simply put forth the question to offer perspective to the greatest fan base in professional sports. Heck, maybe you weren’t even born yet.
We’ve just surpassed the 19th year the last time the 49ers won the Super Bowl. And, when I think about the question that’s been asked, I generally think of something like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon or any national tragedy. But as I sit in the only room that offers solace within the pandemonium of my house, the basement, I stare at jerseys of Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and Bryant Young. I can’t help but reflect on that January night our San Francisco 49ers dismantled the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
The 1994 San Francisco 49ers were what modern day Vince Young would call a “dream team.” The roster from top to bottom was impeccable. It contained 5 members of the Hall of Fame: Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Rickey Jackson, Richard Dent, and Deion Sanders. Perennial Pro Bowl players were layered on that team as well: John Taylor, Ricky Watters, Brent Jones, Merton Hanks, Tim McDonald, Bryant Young, and Dana Stubblefield were all on the ’94 team. That team was a perfect blend of proper spending on free agents and a well executed draft by owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and team president Carmen Policy.
The players on that team and the vivid playoff run for the 49ers will always stick out for me. The Niners finally disposed of the Cowboys (2 consecutive losses) in the NFC Championship game and provided me with the last great professional sports championship I’ve experienced.
I’ll never forget it. I wasn’t anywhere overly special. How could I be? I was 12 years old in January of 1995. I wasn’t going anywhere without parental permission. That didn’t matter. It gave me a sense of self satisfaction. I could walk around all day with my 49ers gear on in front of a Redskins (dad), Broncos (mom and brother), and Vikings (brother) fan. I was reveling in the fact that my very own San Francisco 49ers were on the verge of their 5th Super Bowl title. Even as a young punk with no money, I knew Vegas had the Niners as 18.5 point favorites over the San Diego Chargers. As game time approached, I retreated to the family basement by myself. Quite ironic I would say. It’s the exact same way I watch 49ers games nearly 20 years later. I’ll never forget the performance Steve Young would put on that night. Every time Young unleashed that tight spiral for yet another touchdown (6 Tds) I would pound on the basement roof, reminding my family what it was like to be a fan of an Empire.
So, here I sit. I’ve never wavered as a fan of this team, our team. I hold onto memories past, eager for the future, and thankful for the present. If I’ve stated it once, I’ve stated it a thousand time. Jim Harbaugh will get the job done. The staff is in place. The talent is abundant. The ownership gets it. Is 2014 the 49ers year? You better believe it. Definitely do not waver on that!