Volume 1, Number 3 -- October, 1996


By Dave Lind

People wonder why I hate the Niners.

The team that has won the holiest of all sporting contests a record five times in the last fifteen years.

The team that has revolutionized the sport and redefined the way the game is played.

The team that has given us Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark, Roger Craig, Steve Young, The West Coast Offense, The Drive, and, of course, The Catch.

The team that rose from the ashes of mediocrity on the shoulders of a little-regarded quarterback from Notre Dame and under the guidance of a man who would become known simply as "The Genius" forged their way into the annals of sports history as one of the greatest franchises the world has ever known.

And people wonder why I hate the Niners.

You see, I speak for all fans of mere mortal teams. Fans who are forced to ride the roller-coaster of fortune that is the National Football League, relishing with gleeful satisfaction those seasons where their teams battle their way to a division title and a playoff spot, and suffering miserably as that same team might struggle to dismal 6-10 finish the very next season.

Yet, even these fans are to be envied by those miserable souls who, perhaps as a punishment for some unspeakable trespasses committed in a previous life, are relegated to rooting for perennial doormats like Tampa Bay and Arizona, for whom a 6-10 season would be a blessed respite from years of 3-13 (or worse).

Unlike those *&#% Niners fans who deem it a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions if the Niners so much as lose consecutive games. Anything less than a Superbowl title is grounds for George Seifert's dismissal, while a first round playoff exit is grounds for justifiable homicide. When the Forty-niners dropped two games in a row last season the entire Pacific Bell phone system in Northern California buckled and collapsed under the sheer strain of millions of angry phone calls to radio talk shows. And when the Niners lost to expansion Carolina the divorce rate tripled and domestic violence calls to 911skyrocketed.

But, Oh, when things are good. When things are going well, as they are now with the Niners off to a dominating 2-0 start, there is no less than peace and harmony in all of God's creation. Birds sing, flowers bloom, children play, and young lovers ... well, you know.

Yes, when the Niners are right, there is no wiping the contented grin off the smarmy faces of the faithful. Each Monday workplaces all about the Bay Area bustle with joyous Niner fans gaily rehashing the latest conquest and eagerly making plans for the post season, smugly secure in the knowledge that their team may never lose another game so long as they live.

And the most sickening thing is, we fans of mortal teams fear that they may actually be right.

And people wonder why I hate the Niners.

For a mortal team, a disappointing season is one where you fail go to the playoffs. For the Niners, a disappointing season is one where you fail to go to Disneyland. For a mortal team, a quarterback controversy means having to choose between Marc Wilson or Rusty Hilger, Gary Hogeboom or Tom Tupa. For the Niners a quarterback controversy means having to choose between Joe Montana and Steve Young. I mean, PUH-LEEZE! That's like having to choose between Kathy Ireland and Elle Macpherson. I mean, there are teams who have changed zip codes more often than the Niners have changed quarterbacks! (Al Davis, are you listening?)

"Oh! What a difficult decision! Do we go with the future Hall-of-Famer with four Superbowl rings, or do we go with the Future Hall-of-Famer with three passing titles? Oh, the stress!"

And people wonder why I hate the Niners.

The worst part of it all is that, no matter how I try to maintain that thin veneer of grace and dignity in the face of this relentless barrage of Forty-niner success, I am repeatedly kicked in the face with the same wildly insightful observation.

"You're just jealous."

Of COURSE I'm jealous, you pin-head! My team sucks and yours doesn't, isn't that the whole purpose of jealousy? You have something that's nicer than what I have, I realize this, hence, the jealousy?

Let me put it this way. Look at that house Bill Gates is building up there in whatever-the-hell state it is that he owns. Big house. Massive house. The most technologically-advanced house a gazillion dollars can buy.

Now look at your house.

Feeling just a teeny-weeny bit jealous?

No? OK, let's try this. You know that really obnoxious neighbor you have? The one who talks way too loud and always insists on going shirtless all summer long even though he has enough of an overhang that you can't tell what color his Bermuda shorts are until he turns around?

Yeah, that guy.

He just got a 72-inch big-screen TV with Dolby surround sound.

And his wife lets him watch as much football as he wants.

Now you see my point.

Jealousy is normal. Jealously is healthy. Jealousy is the last hope for all of us mortal football fans. If we are to have any hope at all of clinging to our sanity and maintaining our equilibrium in a Niner-dominated football world, we must learn to indulge our jealousy. Revel in it. Become one with the jealousy.

Ah, isn't that so much better? I know I feel better.

Now, where's that remote?

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