i had heard all the hype. i’ve seen the billboards with mike singletary saying “i’m not a moral victory kind of guy”. a new offensive coach, the players training through a particularly tough training camp, a new starting quarterback, and all the talk that the niners are on their way up have been heard.
AND i’m a 49ers fan. i started being a fan in the 80s while watching football games with my dad. i suffered through the last decade or so watching them decline with more quarterbacks and game plans than i can remember. yes, last season came with a lot of change. yes, it looked like things were looking up.
but, come on, now, their first game was against arizona. the same team who last year, despite all odds, went to the super bowl. the super bowl! and there’s kurt warner that they are playing against. and their big top pick crabtree is nowhere to be found. i mean, i wanted the niners to win, but my hopes were not high.
and then i started to watch the game. the defense kept the cards in check. they scored first (albeit a field goal, but still, a score is a score). they kept a lead. it seemed like everything that singletary had been trying to sell the team to believe in themselves and they could accomplish more than they thought they were capable of was all coming true.
i wanted to BELIEVE, but i watched the game in disbelief. the 4th quarter came and then the niners started to unravel. i was started to feel deflated. kurt warner looked like he was hitting his stride. plays were starting to look effortless. the defense against him and his team started to look defeated.
and then there was a turning point late in the game. coach singletary saw what was happening. he saw that the team started to look their belief and he called a timeout. he called a timeout and reminded the team who they were, what they had set out to do, and what they have done so far. he reminded them all that they need to believe, they need to accomplish what they had set out to do.
was the running game pathetic for the niners? you betcha. was the play calling for the niners run offense unoriginal, uninspired, and unwavering? yup. was it the defense that carried the team to this victory? yeah, save for a great 50 yard catch by isaac bruce. you have to give props to nedney too, for that 50 yard field goal. but, come on, this was no offensive rout. nothing like what new orleans’ drew brees with 6 TD passes. no, this was a close game with a few good plays, few mistakes for the niners, and some strong defense.
but all things aside, the niners managed to get the win. AT arizona. i remember what this feeling is like. this is the feeling of being a fan of a team that you believe in.
though i think it’s odd that a coach is the face of a franchise, let me just say this, coach singletary: i believe.