Concussion leads to tie, QB controversy


Concussion leads to tie, QB controversy


SAN FRANCISCO -- As the St. Louis Rams walked through the tunnel to their locker room, many of them with the same befuddled look quarterback Sam Bradford wore, one put it succinctly, if not logically.Sometimes you win and they say you lost, and sometimes you lose and they say you win, and sometimes you do both, and it ends up in a tie.In other words, nobody knows what to do with the 49ers-Rams 24-24 tie Sunday. The Rams think they sort of got jobbed, but arent sure why. The 49ers think they underachieved, but arent sure why.And everywhere else in the Bay Area, it is Christmas Eve. The 49ers have a real quarterback controversy again, and nothing opens arteries in these parts quite like a quarterback argument that cannot be settled.In fact, because these are the 49ers, where information is not their most important product, were not even sure when it all began, because nobody is quite sure when Alex Smith received the concussion that eventually put him out of the game, off the field and out of the stadium. Most people thought it was the shot he took from linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar on the first play of the last series of the first quarter, but head coach Jim Harbaugh claimed it happened on a quarterback sneak six plays later.
MAIOCCO: Smith sustained concussion on sneak
But it happened, with the 49ers down 14-0, and Colin Kaepernick sort of rallied the lads to a hard-fought draw that left both sides feeling ... well, pretty damned meh.The players feel like I do, Harbaugh said. They dont know quite how to feel.
RELATED: 49ers not sure how to feel after 24-24 tie
Oh. Okay. Whatever that means. Maybe thats just his version of Sometimes you do both and it ends up in a tie.The 49ers played down to the Rams, that much is clear. But the Rams also played up to the 49ers, so in that way, the NFLs first split pot in 10 years was probably the right result.But that ignores the number of ways the Rams kneed themselves in the groin (never an easy thing to perform), like the 62-yard Danny Amendola punt return that was called back by a Justin Cole illegal block, or the 80-yard Amendola catch and run on the first play of overtime that was called back because Brandon Gibson didnt cover Roger Saffold in the Rams original formation. Or Greg Zuerleins 53-yard field goal in overtime that would have won the game if not for a delay of game call.And it also ignores the ways the 49ers tried to lose control of the game before that, or the missed 41-yard David Akers field goal in overtime, or the two fake punts the 49ers didnt cover that allowed the Rams to extend possessions. Or, frankly, how the loss of Smith probably damaged their offensive cohesion in a game that was much more difficult than they expected it to be.But hey, you still got more useful evidence of the Smith-v.-Kaepernick death struggle youve been itching for all these months. Over the years, Smith has been unencumbered by true competition (with all due respect to Shaun Hill), and now Kaepernick brings a crypto-comeback to the argument.An argument, frankly, that still shouldnt really exist. Smith is still the better of the two for obvious reasons, and Kaepernick showed more with his feet Sunday than with his arm (which is still the major complaint against Smith).But weve never let logic chase us away from a quarterback argument when were spoiling for one. And Kaepernick did say while the result didnt feel very good, I thought I did pretty well.He did throw some smart-looking balls to Michael Crabtree on the 49ers first touchdown. He did hold serve on two long drives, one of 15 plays and 8:34, the other of 11 plays and 6:38. And he did gain 29 of the 63 yards needed to set up Akers game-tying field goal.So yes, he did pretty well, and that will keep the fires of tavern-based shouting burning at least until Smith is cleared to play again. He has protocols to endure and baseline tests to match between now and next Mondays game against Chicago, and between now and the day Smith is cleared, the customers will get the gift that keeps on giving.The Eternal QC. An argument that cant be settled because nobody admits that theyre wrong, and the kind of thing that makes coaches very uncomfortable because it introduces so many unknowns into a world that demands as much certainty as possible.In other words, good times, children. The 49ers are 6-2-1, and the 1 is the biggest game of them all because of the rhetorical bloodsport it has just spawned.In other words, a tie has the area all in knots. How does it get better than that?

Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal


Internet immediately goes to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal

In what can be considered your standard bolt out of the blue, California head football coach Sonny Dykes has reportedly been fired.

In what can be considered your standard spur-of-the-Internet-moment-connect-the-dots inspiration, the Internet went immediately to DefCon1 on Chip Kelly-to-Cal rumors.

The logic, of course, is impeccable. Dykes never really snapped the Cal program around, taking a bad program and making it, well, mediocre, and he has spent much of the past two years aggressively seeking out other jobs, so one can assume there was at least some trouble in paradise, even if you want to make the case that Cal football and paradise are somehow connected.

And Kelly just got canned by the 49ers as part of Jed York’s latest I-will-not-be-made-to-look-ridiculous twitch, so he could sign a properly modest contract at Berkeley and still get his full $6 million with the offset from the three years left on his Jed deal.

So it makes perfect sense . . . which is why it should be judged with considerable skepticism.

For one, Kelly can almost surely do better in the college job diaspora. Cal is a big name with modest ambitions due in part to constant budget constraints, and there are better jobs out there even if he sits for a year.

For two, Cal and Kelly are an odd fit, given the persistent tensions between academia and athletica at Berkeley.

For three, the job comes with massive roadblocks, including Stanford, USC, Washington and (potentially) a resuscitation of the Oregon he left behind. Success will not come easy, if it does at all.

For four, Cal just finished four years of gimmick offense and overburdened defense, and Kelly would provide a more successful version of the same.

And for five, this is too easy, too simple, too convenient. Something about this scenario must be wrong somewhere. When people hit the Internet with photoshopped Kelly-in-Cal-costumes within minutes of the Dykes announcement, you know this is too obvious to actually come to fruition.

Why? Because we don’t live that well, that’s why.

The beauty of a triumphant Kelly at Cal glowering down at the charred ruin in Santa Clara seems more appealing than it actually is, because try as they might, Cal fans will never be backing the more popular horse here, and Kelly won’t win that battle unless he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl while the 49ers are still grappling over draft positions.

In that way, reality sucks. The idea that Jed York could be mocked in collegial absentia by his two biggest coaching hires is delicious but almost surely illusory.

But until we get more on why Dykes got canned 43 days after the team’s last game – recruiting, academic issues, legal issues, photocopier problems from him sending his resume out so often – all we have is the Chip Kelly rumor-ette to keep us intrigued.

Okay, to keep us amused.

Okay, to keep us from falling over in a coma. Cal should matter more than it does, but it’s been 13 years since the Holiday Bowl zenith of the Jeff Tedford Era, and 25 since Bruce Snyder took the Ursines to the Citrus Bowl. The evidence since 1990 is of a team with bigger dreams than means that is slightly below .500 (160-164). Sonny Dykes leaving means one more coach who didn’t make an impact unless his departure leads to either reassessment of the program’s standards, internal or external sanctions . . .

. . . or what the hell, Chip Kelly. Let’s face it – in these dismal days for wacked-out rumormongering, this is pretty intoxicating stuff.

Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports


Warriors are most geographically vague team in history of American sports

The Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors have always had a casual attitude about their home court, even by the once-flexible standards of the National Basketball Association.

Thus, it should be only slightly amusing but not actually surprising that Warriors chief arenologist Rick Welts is now waffling a bit (courtesy Comrade Poole) on whether the team will change its name to San Francisco Warriors when it moves across the pond in 2019-20, or retain its current geographic association with Narnia.

I mean Golden State. I often confuse utterly fictional locales – when I can be bothered to give a toss either way.

But the Warriors, whether they play in Oakland, San Francisco, Pier 30, Pier 32, Westeros, Hobbiton, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, Curryvania, the Klingon Empire, the Death Star or Planet Nine, are relocating, and once they break the seal on the earth in 12 days, Welts and his fellow elves will almost surely play the team’s future name as a mildly tedious cliffhanger.

Hey, fun is where you find it.

The matter of the team’s relocation will be a sore subject among lifelong East Bay residents, who have put up with the Warriors for 45 years in various stages of development, including the current “We Almost Never Lose” stage. They regard the Warriors’ transplantation to San Francisco to be an unspeakable crime given the high level of fan allegiance afforded them in Oakland.

And yes, they regard Oakland and San Francisco as very real places, as opposed to Golden State, Freedonia, Vulgaria or the Nexus of All Realities.

It is not yet fully known what San Franciscans think of this development, but that’s the nature of the gamble here. They may embrace the Warriors as the new toy in town and then lose interest, and frankly, neither Welts nor anyone else knows the answer to that.

Either way, their die is cast, and Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are now future former Oakland fixtures. Yes, they are quite fond of the exciting new real estate values and their exciting new unobstructed view of the bay, but it has long been assumed that the move would also entail changing the name back to “San Francisco” for the snob appeal.

Now Welts, who has overseen both arena projects (including the one at Piers 30 and 32 which ended up with the piers beating the Warriors in a rout), tells Comrade Poole that the San Francisco Warriors might not end up as the San Francisco Warriors after all.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that yes, we should attach a city name to the team, then it becomes a more global franchise,” Welts marketing-gobbledy-gooked. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world. What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

In Oakland.

Now, the mic drop.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” he added. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made. But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Of course. Why not stay fictional when specificity might move fewer hoodies?

Then again, this is a team that in its 70 years has played home games in Philadelphia (the Arena, the Civic Center, Lincoln High School and Convention Hall), Hershey and Bethlehem PA, Atlantic City, Trenton, Collingswood and Camden NJ, and Saratoga Springs NY . . .

(a moment’s rest here to catch our breaths)

. . . and then after moving west in 1962, the Cow Palace, San Francisco Civic Auditorium and USF’s Memorial Gym, the Oakland Auditorium, San Jose Civic Auditorium, San Jose Arena, Richmond Auditorium, then Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Diego, Eugene, Seattle, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

In fact, and you can swindle the gullible at your neighborhood tavern with this one, the Warriors’ first game in San Francisco occurred almost three years before the team left Philadelphia. The Warriors played the visitors to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later and had already played a regular season game at the Cow Palace earlier in the year, so this game, January 31, 1960, could have been considered a civic scouting trip for both teams as they sought new homes.

In other words, the Warriors are almost surely the most geographically vague team in the history of North American sports. Moreover, they are about to become the first team in sports history to go home for the third time under three different city names – Philadelphia, San Francisco and Krypton, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this time.