According to a 49ers Fan
I’m sure my wife is going to leave me. When I recently broached the subject of buying a San Francisco 49ers T-shirt, she acted like I’d asked for a divorce. I knew my dedication (addiction) to watching the 49ers this season was testing her patience. But it worried me to see her leave the room after hearing me say “I think I’d like to get the one with the ‘80s-style logo”.
I fully admit that our issues are my fault. I wasn’t a football fan when we married. Even after I started watching the 49ers in 2008, I didn’t obsess about the team like I do now. But this season has been a whole different story. Since October I’ve been constantly staring at screens, reading articles, and watching videos with pompous assholes spewing hot takes about my team. On multiple occasions I kept myself up way too late the night before a 49ers game watching their highlights, trying to calm my nerves so I could sleep. It’s taken over my life, and my wife’s frustration over it is palpable. Yet all I’ve done is say, “I’ll stop after the Super Bowl.”
For her and the many others who don’t care about football, it’s hard for me to fully convey what this season has been like for 49ers fans. I’ll start by saying it’s been glorious. Making it even better is the fact this amazing season came after the fallow period that followed Coach Jim Harbaugh’s controversial exit. From 2012 to 2018, they went from a Super Bowl team to 4-12. We fans talk about coaches Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly as things we “survived.” Now the Niners are 15-3 and on the way to the Super Bowl again.
But it’s not just about the team’s improvement. This season has been a series of ridiculously fun games to watch. Even ESPN agrees with me–when the cable channel aired its top five games of 2019. four of the them were San Francisco 49ers games. The 49ers only won two of those games, but all of them were nail biters decided by the last play. The 49ers at Seahawks game literally came down to inches. Also, that game was Sunday Night Football’s most-watched game between two West Coast teams in the show’s history, averaging 23.3 million viewers.
Those four games made for fantastic television, but in truth the entire 2019 season for the 49ers was must-see TV. During the regular season, if the last play didn’t decide the outcome, like in nine of their regular season games, the 49ers destroyed the other team, ripping them apart in a frenzy. Their drubbing of the Cleveland Browns in the fifth week of the season was so fun to watch it felt like Daenerys Targaryen had yelled “Dracarys” at Baker Mayfield.
Then there are the backstories. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo came back from a knee injury early last season to have one of the best winning percentages in the league. Richard Sherman returned to championship form after an Achilles injury and raked in big bucks by negotiating his own contract. Best of all is 27-year-old Raheem Mostert, San Francisco’s highest-scoring running back, who six different teams cut before the Niners gave him his shot. It’s a story of drive and not giving up on oneself that’s practically begging for someone to turn it into a movie.
Frankly I feel bad for everyone who isn’t a 49ers fan. I’m not trying to be a snob, I just want to share these good feelings with everyone.
But I also want it to end. I want my life back. My wife keeps reminding me of all the goals I set for myself for the year– “How is that podcast script coming?”–and I have to face the fact that I obsess over a game I’m not even playing, and never have. I don’t judge any fans who enjoy obsessing over the team; I just never wanted to be one. My team is doing great and I’m wondering if there’s a rehab for football fandom. The Super Bowl can’t come soon enough.