I, like many others have a “fan” cave. Yes, there are women out there with their own dwellings dedicated to their passion for a sports team too fellas. Upon finding myself scanning over jerseys, sports cards, old magazines, and autographs, I became enthralled in the history of the San Francisco 49ers. As I reflected on the past, it became more apparent than ever, that 49er fans are yearning for another Lombardi Trophy more than they ever have.
There’s an anxiousness among the fan base that’s rarely existed before. And the fact that it exists is a culmination of things. The peak point of angst exists in the 49ers most recent, most hated rival, the Seattle Seahawks, being the current Super Bowl Champions. No team’s players, coaches, and most importantly fans, rile our proverbial feathers, like the Seahawks. Legendary quarterback, Peyton Manning, was supposed to prevent those overly bold and brash fans from celebrating their first title. But if we lived off “supposed to,” the 49ers would win the whole ball of wax every year. Needless to say, Manning put up an all-time stinker and our own arch enemy gets a ring.
Ah, who could forget the dormant years. That’s what I refer to the time period between 1999 to 2010 (excluding ’01-’02) that was strictly unbearable. Since their inception, the 49ers have had time periods where they’ve been bad. But, the recent time period that spanned the majority of this early millennium, was unprecedented. The 49ers were never that bad and for that long. The era preceding Jim Harbaugh was the lowest of the lows for the franchise.
There is nothing that spews forth optimism like the start of the new season. Following that up closely, though, is the NFL Draft. In less than a week, the draft begins. Our faith rests in General Manager Trent Baalke, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, and their staff. A well executed draft this season could very well be the one thing that propels the 49ers to their next Super Bowl victory. It’s been well documented and discussed amongst, well, everyone that the 49ers need that field stretching wide receiver and additional strength in the secondary. Add some additional pieces to the puzzle spread across the roster, and once again, there’s no limits in 2014 for the Niners.
As we yearn profusely for the sixth championship, bare in mind that 1994 season was a long time ago. Some of our newer fans weren’t even alive for that epic season. That shouldn’t be held against them though. For a team rich in history and accustomed to winning, it’s been two decades since the San Francisco 49ers have claimed the top prize. The 49ers have reached the NFC Championship Game in 15 of the 48 years of the Super Bowl era. So, the history of greatness is firmly on our side.
In fact, in Jim Harbaugh’s young NFL coaching career, he’s reached the NFC Championship game every season. I’m not exactly breaking any new news there, but that ability to reach the pinnacle of competition in the NFL and not win it all propels the fan unease. Add to it, the 49ers first loss in Super Bowl history coming against the Baltimore Ravens was literally, heartbreaking. We can see it, we can reach for it, but in the end, under Harbaugh, we just haven’t grasped the whole thing yet. Please don’t misunderstand me here. In my mind, what Jim Harbaugh has done for the San Francisco 49ers franchise is transcendent. He’s on a pedestal in 49er lore. His perch isn’t at Bill Walsh or George Seifert heights, but he’s up there. But unfortunately as the saying goes, “it really doesn’t mean a thing, unless you got that ring.” And, as that saying goes, so do the 49ers and their base of fans as we wait ever so……. anxiously.