Four acts of blasphemy after 49ers' win


Four acts of blasphemy after 49ers' win

SAN FRANCISCO -- On a day rich with highlights at La Candeliere, four acts of blasphemy stood out.The first was the event itself -- the 49ers crushing Tampa Bay 48-3, the largest number of points and winning margin in eight years. Thats pretty out of the norm right there, and an indication that the bad old days might not necessarily be over, but over is visible on the horizon.The second came when Colin Kaepernick entered the game for Alex Smith with 10 minutes to play, and the crowd expressed a clear and enthusiastic preference for the status quo.

And the other two came via the spoken word, the first being when Jim Harbaugh was asked about the passing of Al Davis, who once hired him in Oakland.I think Al would have been very proud of the way we played today, was his response, and the next sound anyone heard were the aortas of several DeBartolos and Yorks seizing like an overheated motor.And the final came from Frank Gore, who has yet again eased toward the third rail of running backery only to back away and break into a 125-yard sprint. After copiously lathering credit upon the offensive line and wide receivers for their work, and laying it on double thick for my guy Alex Smith, he said:For the first time in seven years since I got here, we can do whatever we want to do.Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new version of Whats Your Deal?True, there was no rebuttal to be had for Gores analysis Sunday. The 49ers played their most complete and minimally-flawed game in eight years, both statistically and aesthetically.Smith nearly set a personal best in quarterback rating, the occasionally useful rubric, with a 127.2 -- no picks, no sacks, three scores. Gore, abandoned as done two weeks ago for the perfectly good reason that he looked it, rolled up 125 yards (6.3 average) and a score. The defense choked the allegedly smart-moving Bucs to 272 mostly useless yards (they got inside the 49er 30 once all day, five plays out of 61), picked off two passes and recovered a fumble ...
Oh, the hell with it. They knocked down a 3-1 team and jumped up and down on its chest for a full three hours, tying their next opponent, Detroit, for the most points and widest margin of the season.Is everything fixed? Surely not. If you havent figured it out by now, the National Football League cannot be figured out. A stinker is always right around the corner for everyone, and this weeks triumph means nothing next week.But thats as close as one can come to downing on this game -- unless, of course, you throw out Als name in support of the team he always found his greatest and most immediate irritant.Not that Harbaugh cares, mind you. Barring the fact that Davis would have watched the 49ers and spat with derision if he watched at all, the fact is Davis would have been almost content if he had seen Harbaugh do that for his own team. As it was, he and his newfound afterlife companions would have to find solace in his own teams 25-20 win in Houston -- another 3-1 team.But the ownership must have gritted a bit of enamel off their teeth hearing Harbaugh connect their team to Davis even for a moment, given that his passing throws their own stadium plans into disarray -- starting with the fact that nobody knows who will control the Raiders in a year, let alone where they will be controlled.Gore, too, tempted fate a bit by uttering the new battle cry, because hubris is not something that the 49ers have been very good at. Mike Singletary was the last one to try, and, well, lets put it this way. The last time the Bucs and 49ers met, in 2010, the Bucs won, 21-0, and held the 49ers to 187 yards. The 49ers have improved in a year by 66 points and 231 yards.In other words, tis better to sneak up on an opponent you mean to harm than to talk smack and let him know youre coming.In fairness, though, Gore hasnt been able to say anything like it since he left Miami. If it comes off as harsh or a bit too cocksure, well, chalk it up to the exuberance of the persistently beaten-down.The 49ers are, for the moment, one of the seven best teams in the NFL by record. There have been years when they havent been one of the top 27. So heres to Al Davis, who would be proud as hell of the boys ... except that he wouldnt be ... and wouldnt actually give a damn, since the two teams dont play again for the foreseeable.And heres to doing whatever you want to do, at least until Monday practice.

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.