Confessions of a 49ers fan
By Tony Forder
I confess that I've kinda soured on the NFL lately. I just find football hard to watch with all the stops and starts, continual commercial breaks and outcomes predicated on arbitrary referee decisions. I've returned to my first love, soccer, the football of my origin country, not least because my team Brighton and Hove Albion has been on an upswing, indeed is currently one of the more exciting teams in the English Premier League. Maybe my annual immersion into Brazilian culture rubbed off too. (I do understand the don't-get-itness of the non-soccer bred).
But I do enjoy the playoffs. And I have always been a 49ers fan, even when I transposed to the East Coast and through the osmosis of my season ticket-holding brother-in-law began cheering for the Jets.
I lived in northern California during the Joe Montana era – how could you not root for Joe Cool and the young, upstart 49ers? I even met Joe's successor Steve Young when he was invited to guest speak at Humboldt State University, while I was masquerading as sports editor on the local paper.
But I confess there was one time I didn't root for the 49ers when they were in the Superbowl. And it wasn't because Colin Kaepernick was quarterback. I had his back. It was because Ray Rice was a star for the Baltimore Ravens and Ray had been my main man with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during my daughter's time at college. (Too bad he soon after brought disgrace on himself).
My West Coast friends were naturally horrified and probably convinced that the last shred of California-ism had evaporated from their erstwhile limey compadre.
Seven years later however, I was solidly back in the Niners camp when they took on the same foe as this time – the Kansas City Chiefs. My daughter had given me a beautiful Niners NFL wool hat for Christmas and I wore it proudly for the playoffs and for Superbowl Sunday. Alas the memory of how they gave that game away still sends shudders down my spine. And the hat has been locked away...until now.
The playoffs certainly are different than the regular season. A team like Baltimore, which steamrolled teams all season long suddenly looked indifferent. San Francisco was also dominant most of the time, but there was still a nagging question – could they play from behind? Could they face adversity? Well, they have overcome significant deficits in their last two games and that gives me hope they can avenge their loss of four years ago.
I have nothing against Patrick Mahomes or Travis Kelce, or Taylor Swift for that matter, I like 'em all. I'm just hoping for an exciting game, and, yes, an appropriate outcome from my point of view. As for the hat, I've barely taken it off these past couple of weeks.–
PS – Giants and Jets fans, get ready for a soccer invasion! MetLife stadium is hosting 8 World Cup matches in 2026, including the biggest on of all, the World Cup final. I wonder how much those tickets will go for?