Disclaimer: I’m sorry if you’re looking for an actual point. These are just my thoughts after the game.
Drained. Faded. Gone. Those are the three words that come to mind when I reflect on the once elite franchise of the San Francisco 49ers and the Monday Night Football debacle that we all just witnessed. The deep scarlet and brilliant gold colors may as well have been black and white Monday night as Shaun Hill snapped the ball on the two yard line with four seconds left and clumsily pushed it into the chest of third down running back Michael Robinson, who was stopped for a loss. That one play summed up the better part of the last six years for most of us. Aimless.
While the previous play was under review, Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz had plenty of time to prepare for what was coming. A franchise with any leadership or front office at all would have had their men on the sideline laying out last second plans or in the worse case scenario, options for their mobile quarterback.
Instead, I was left with my jaw dropped wide open, standing four inches from my television screen, trying to contemplate what my eyes had just seen in the previous three seconds, the previous sixty minutes, and the previous two thousand, one hundred ninety days, and for a second, I take a breath to argue to the sofa a thousand things. Why not a roll out option? A screen? Swing pass? If you’re going to run why not Gore? Why not stretch the end? No noise comes out of my gaping mouth.
The thoughts rush in and rage along the rapids of my emotions, but the only sound I can finally manage is the word “aimless”. That word rasped from my throat and broke the cool night air, breaching the ears of my sleeping wife, slipping into her subconscious and dying like a stray ember from the raging inferno inside my head. It doesn’t just describe our team, our franchise, and our season. It describes the league, coming off of what is in my opinion, one of the worst officiating performances ever in any sport. It describes our fans, who can’t feel anything but lost right now. And perhaps most deeply, it describes me. After all, it is me who keeps putting the emotion and energy into watching this team lose year in and year out. I angrily wonder why.
And like a match struck on the pores of a brick wall in the dead of winter, my burst of thoughts ceased, leaving me cold and tired. And just like every time, it leads my mind to other things. Work. House work that needs to be done. Deadlines. I push them aside, pour a glass of tea, put on my house slippers, and saunter into the basement to hammer out my thoughts at my desk. Which leads me to this; Football is not existential. But the emotions and thoughts and strong feelings that something you hold as dear as the game stir, can lead you to think about existential things. It always awakens a resolve in me to keep struggling, to keep rising from shattering blows, to demonstrate that no matter how many easy breaks the other guy gets while I am shortchanged, that I will keep hitting back like a freight train. The definition of a true champion, in life, or in football, is not someone who constantly wins. It is someone who finally wins.