Ratto: 49ers' stadium drive stalls short of end zone


Ratto: 49ers' stadium drive stalls short of end zone


So maybe, in light of the fact that the stadium cost overruns have begun and the 49ers still dont have half the money they need to make this Santa Clara thing happen, we need to tell them this:

If you aint got it, kids, move on. Either start sucking up to San Francisco again, find the other 500 large on your own, or just stop talking about it.

We bring this up because the 49ers, without anyone asking them, trumpeted the one-year anniversary of the vote from about 62 citizens from the City of Santa Clara that said they would be welcomed with open arms and turned-out pockets. And whats happened in that year?

The stadium costs another 50 million, no doubt for the platinum-inlaid urinals on the suite level. The financing from the 49ers and the NFL went, in the charming words of the San Jose Mercury News, from 493 million to unclear. The new governor of our state -- who is the same as the old governor of our state, only without the extraneous family -- is casting a covetous eye on the states development money. And there is a pending lockout by the owners of the players, of which John C. and John E. York clearly approve.

In short, the gap between can-do and theyre-screwed is growing, and all this inertia is allowing us to worry about the million billion other things that tend to intrude upon our lives.

Like the largely absurd Camp Alex, in which players who have been told by their boss not to come to work are working on the side, for free, so that theyll be ready to work harder when they are allowed back inside the compound.

Theres a name for this kind of labor-without-recompense philosophy: Student-Athlete.

But lets get back to the stadium that isnt, and may never be, shall we? Because there is nothing quite like perpetually undeveloped real estate to make the blood run hot.

The 49ers have talked this stadium to death and beyond, when it is painfully clear to anyone who can read a Forbes Magazine that they cant do this themselves. They keep saying they have good financing, but nobody gets to see it. They say theyre ready, and there is neer a shovel on the site.

This means one thing. They havent got the money yet, and they dont know where to find it. They may even think that investing half the family worth in a football stadium is a less than prudent investment, an idea whose time is beginning to come for a lot of teams and a lot of cities.

So why are we celebrating the first birthday of this stuff and nonsense? So that people will say, Hey, we forgot! Wheres the stadium?

I mean, since they forgot about it and need a press release reminding them, one can only conclude that it clearly is not an idea that resonates in their minds. I mean, what with trying to find schools for their kids that can afford pencils, jobs that dont evaporate and cost of living rises that shame Paraguay and all.

Thus, to the 49ers, heres an anniversary to celebrate and trumpet. The one when you say, in a press release as gaudy as the one you just put out:

Hi kids. Yorks here.

Listen, we still want the stadium, we still think its a good idea and all, but were not ready, and apparently neither are you. Its called re-bar fatigue, and we dont even have any re-bar yet.

So heres the deal. The Santa Clara thing is what we in the construction business call dead in the water, which means we have no hole in the ground to show you, and no bankbook to show how close we are to making the hole. Hey, it happens.

This then is our pledge to you. Were not going to say another word about it until burly men and burlier women with shovels and back hoes and cement mixers show up and start making that hole. Well get the money, well do the work, and we promise above all to shut up about it until the work has at least gone past the standing around and scratching our heads stage. Dont think another thing about it. Honest.

And if it doesnt get done, we wont blame anyone. Sometimes stuff just happens, and part of being a good citizen in these perilous times is in knowing when not to whine about it. So were not going to whine. Well either do, or we wont, and either way, were at your service.

People would applaud that rare bit of candor. Plus, theyd be able to return to their daily lives and say in a moment of tavern-inspired reverie, Remember that Camp Alex thing? I wonder why it never caught on in any other line of work.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

Patriots win one for the ages, but where does it rank?

The price of watching Roger Goodell being booed back to the Bronze Age is a subtle but real one, and one that people will feel very dearly soon enough.

The last great cathartic Super Bowl is now done, with the New England Patriots winning the brilliant and decisive battle to be sports’ new evil empire. In doing so, it rendered Goodell a permanent and risible punch line in National Football League history, the mall cop who wanted the death penalty for littering, and in the words of the song “got what he wanted but he lost what he had.”

True, $40 million a year can make the dissolution of your public persona a reasonably decent tradeoff, but we lost the argument about who won his windmill tilt with the Patriots. It’s done, and he is now permanently and irrevocably a figure of ridicule.

But that’s not the only debating point America lost Sunday night, and while you wouldn’t think it given how much time we are willing to shouting at each other, quality arguments are not easily replaced.

We have almost surely lost the mindless debate about the best quarterback ever, because there is nothing anyone can bring up that the words “Tom Brady” cannot rebut except calling his own plays, and since that is no longer allowed in football, it is a silly asterisk to apply.

We have almost surely lost the equally silly shouter about the best coach ever. Bill Belichick is defiantly not fun, but he has built, improved and bronzed an organizational model that is slowly swallowing the rest of the sport. That and five trophies makes him the equal if not better of the short list of Paul Brown, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Tom Landry.

Plus, Belichick locked up the most absurd response to a question in coaching history Monday when he said, “As great as today feels . . . we're five weeks behind the other teams for the 2017 season.” Even allowing for Gregg Popovich in-game interviews, the so-grim-he-could-make-a-robot-cry worship-the-process response has now become a cliché. If 2017 prep was so important, he should have skipped yesterday’s game, and he definitely should have chosen not to waste so much time on the trophy stand after the game when training camp drills needed to be scheduled.

Oh, and DeflateGate died. Dead. No zombie possibilities here.

We do have a meatheaded argument ahead of us about which championship in the last year is the best, which can be settled here.

1. Leicester City, because 5,000-1 is 5,000-1, and the whole world understands that. Plus, there was invaluable three-month buildup that engaged non-soccer fans.

2. Chicago Cubs, because 108 years is 108 years.

3. New England Patriots, because . . . well, I don’t have to explain it unless you have no useful memory span. “Down 25 In The Third Quarter” is the new “Down 3-1.”

4. Cleveland Cavaliers, because they slayed the first unbeatable Warrior team by coming from 3-1 down, and even as a silver medalist, it will always be an internet meme, which is what passes for memorable in our decrepit culture.

5. (tie) Villanova basketball and Clemson football in a tie, because they were essentially the same great game.

7. The Pittsburgh Penguins, because the Stanley Cup Final was devoid of drama or high moments, and only 14:53 of overtime. Feh.

But everything else is settled, and this Super Bowl will not be topped for a long time. Our current cycle of absurd championships is almost surely going to end soon, because “Down 3-1” has happened twice in eight months (three times, if you count Warriors over Thunder), and the bar has now been placed well beyond reasonable clearing.

Indeed, the only thing left is for a championship team to spontaneously combust on the award stand. But if they do so and ignite Roger Goodell along the way, that would be an ending America would cheerfully endorse.

But that also isn’t an argument any more, and yes, that includes Gary Bettman.

Raiders, 49ers can return to their normal madness after Fried Festivus 51

Raiders, 49ers can return to their normal madness after Fried Festivus 51

The Super Bowl is today, which means the best day of the year is fast approaching.

Namely, the day after the Super Bowl.

At that point, we as a nation can complete the inventory of gastric damage we did to ourselves on what shall be known to future generations as Fried Festivus.

At that point, the people who bombard us daily with news of the game – the least important part of the week-long trade show, as we have come to learn it – will all be on planes and too tired to re-explain what we already saw 37 times on game day.

At that point, nobody will care that Terrell Owens was apparently one of the first of the 15 Hall of Fame finalists to be rejected for induction because of crimes against the NFL state. The Hall of Fame is one of the sneaky ways in which the NFL never lets us escape its obnoxiously shouty profile, and the fact that Owens is right about the flawed process doesn’t change the fact that he’ll be just fine with the process when it allows him passage.

At that point, we’ll know whether Tom Brady is to be deemed a god, or merely maintain his demigod status. At least we’ll hear more about it, because it is easily the most tiresome debate in the football diaspora, engaged in by idiots with no better idea about how to kill time. A note: If you think Tom Brady is a greater quarterback because his team won a fifth ring, or a lesser one because he didn’t, your head is now officially empty enough to be reclassified a dance hall, and you are of no more value to normal society than a papier-mache goose.

And at that point, we can return to the two things we in these parts care to know – where the Raiders are going, and how the 49ers are going to present their new football brain trust.

We needn’t explain the Raiders again to you, first because you’ve heard it all if you’re paying any attention at all. Mark Davis has been trying to cobble deals at a frantic pace in hopes that one will stick, and his 31 fellow owners still have to decide how much longer they want to endure him, while faced with the painful fact that the East Bay is getting out of the exploitative license-to-be-stolen-from stadium business. They also get to know as they go to the meeting in Houston that will ostensibly decide Davis’ fate that they have ruined California as a market by their excessive greed-laced stupidity and deserve every lousy market the state can give them.

Which brings us to the 49ers, and the latest round of Judge Them By Their Press Conferences.

If there is anything worse than this team’s on-field profile, which is why Jed York hired Kyle Shanahan, it is the way it explains itself to the outside world, which is why Jed York hired John Lynch. Both Shanahan and Lynch will be paraded before a braying mobs, probably Tuesday, and York will be there as well for the cheesy photo array and a few unconvincing words of praise about each of them (as a note, Paraag Marathe will be present but only in hologrammatic form).

They will then promise – well, something or other – and Lynch will be hailed as the face of the glorious future because the man he replaced, Trent Baalke, had the public persona of a meth-tweaked hyena. Hard to find, and not worth it when you did.

Then we’ll all remember that the job Shanalynch (or Lynchahan, depending on what part of Ireland you’re from) are being asked to do is a three-year reclamation at the very least, and that the only useful question either can be asked is “Can you fix this before Jed gets embarrassed and angry and cans you both?”

And on Wednesday, there’s the start of pre-draft prep (in order words, The Eighty-Day Slave Market), and the hamster wheel to hell gears up again toward Super Bowl LII.

Only next year, the chances of relocation hysteria and a front office upheaval are that much less, and we haven’t sufficient distractions to make the year go faster.

But enjoy Fried Festivus. We can always look forward to that, even if we change the name back in December to the more traditional "Christmas."