The 49ers start to the season can be summed up with one word: torture. Year after year 49ers fans have waited for a playoff appearance and this season was supposed to be the year that wish finally came true.
Coming into the season, the 49ers were the overwhelming favorite to win the NFC West division as practically every analyst and sports writer picked them. But of course, in typical Niner fashion, the team has let down fans with a woeful 1-5 record; with their only win coming this past weekend against the Oakland Raiders. The terrible start has caused fans to demand the removal of Mike Singletarry as head coach along with pleas to bench Alex Smith and remove him as the team’s starting quarterback. The team is a complete mess at the moment and fans are letting the organization know how displeased they are. How are fans supposed to react? Be patient and hope for the best? Or voice their frustrations and give up on the team? Most 49ers fans have chosen the latter and with good reason.
During the 49ers’ week five game against the Philadelphia Eagles, fan frustration reached the boiling point when fans booed Alex Smith mercilessly after he committed a horrendous fumble when he rolled out to the left and the ball slipped out of his hands as he was trying to throw it away. I was at that game and that fumble was the worst turnover I have ever witnessed, and the fans let Alex Smith know. It was the loudest booing I’ve heard in a while; the Dodgers don’t even get booed that loudly when they visit San Francisco. As I was standing in the crowd absorbing the hatred directed at Alex Smith, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him even though I was also disappointed with his play. No matter how bad someone plays, a home crowd should never boo one of their team’s players that way. That was the moment when I realized how tortured and frustrated the 49ers fanbase feels.
Jed York, the owner of the 49ers, didn’t help the frustration level when he guaranteed a division title via text message to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. All that he accomplished was succeeding in making the 49ers a national laughing stock and giving them more bad publicity. It made the 49ers seem like a desperate and disorganized organization, where the owner makes promises that the team can’t uphold. Jed York did the worst thing possible with that text message; he put an enormous amount of pressure on an underachieving team that already is dealing with a ton of pressure. York should have waited for the 49ers to at least win a game before making such strong predictions. Not only does the team torture the fan base with the constant losing, the owner joined the torturing by making empty promises.
49ers fans expect winning. The franchise has won five super bowls, tied for second best overall. Throughout the 80s and 90s and even the early 00s the 49ers were a perennial playoff team that was feared and respected by the rest of the league. Now the Niners are no better than the raiders, bills, lions and every other NFL bottom feeder. The difference between the 49ers and the other cellar dwellers is that the 49ers have a tradition of winning because of this the fans always expect winning. It’s been eight years since the 49ers have finished a season with a winning record, for Niner fans that’s an eternity. The losing was supposed to end this season but it seems like it will continue until the 49ers make some serious personnel changes.
If the 49ers don’t make the playoffs (unlikely at this point) Mike Singletarry will surely be fired and Alex Smith will no longer be the teams starting quarterback. The rebuilding process will start over again and it could mean more losing. There is nothing worse than rooting for a rebuilding team; it’s the ultimate sports torture. Sadly this is where the 49ers seem headed for unless they can somehow find a way to go on a win streak that propels them into the playoffs. So for the rest of the season 49er fans will watch games with one-eye closed, embracing for the possibility of tortuous results that they have become accustomed to seeing. Its amazing how far the mighty have fallen, I guess you can’t be at the top forever.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach