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Why the SF Forty Niners Miss Eddie Debartolo's Freewheelin' and Dealin'

Nov 15, 2007
The Niners miss Eddie. Eddie as you will remember was the owner that hired Bill Walsh and had enough sense to step back and let Bill run the show. The results were the Montana-Rice era and Superbowls and immortality. The one thing you could say about Eddie was he knew when the ship was running right and when it was he let it run. Eddie also knew a lot about fast women and fast parties but that's another story. Everybody thought Eddie was just a party boy but Eddie was smart.

But alas. Eddie got caught dealing graft with former Democratic Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards and they both went down. The good Guvner went upriver for a laundry list of stuff; Eddie got banned from football. The NFL said it was normal and expected behavior for southern Democratic governors to be bathed in graft but unlike southern Democratic governors the NFL had an image to maintain. The team's management passed on to Eddie's sister.

We fans should have known that giving the reins over to a girl was a mistake. Being the girl that she is, she immediately turned the team over to her clueless husband, a certain mysterious Dr. York. Hence the team became infamously known as the House of York.

As I sit here at halftime in what has to be the most disastrous performance by any team in the history of Monday Night Football, I lament. As I look across the halftime stats online we tank in every single category. We don't have one bright spot. The only categories we lead in are turnovers and penalties. At one point in the second quarter three and out was a plus since we didn't lose yardage on penalties and/or fumble it away. Now I'm not saying the problem was with a girl mismanaging the franchise; the problem began when she turned it over to her clueless husband.

For some reason this eccentric Dr. York liked Terry Donahue, an ex-UCLA coach that never really got the program there going. I remember Terry standing on the sidelines as the Bruins lost with this befuddled look on his face. How a mediocre college performance like Terry's translates into a superior NFL performance remains a mystery to me. As soon as Terry took over everything began to slide. Duh. The profile of nice, smart, intelligent, clear record, no tattoos was set. Unfortunately the profile was also one of 'loser'.

After a string of duds we picked Mike Nolan as coach whose father Dick was actually the Niners coach in the seventies. Everyone that knew Dick said he was the nicest fellow in the NFL and everyone respected him. He couldn't win football games, but boy was he sure nice. Hello? Any similarities here boys?

Tonight before the game our coach Mike was quoted as saying our team has a problem but no one can seem to put the finger on just what the problem is. Hello? As I scan the halftime stats online I think I have discovered the answer! Eureka! That's because the problem is everywhere...in every category. We just don't stink in certain areas...we stink across the board.

Because rather than pick a dope smoking, dog fighting, ghetto blasting Hip Hopper quarterback that can play, the Niner front office thought it better to pick a clean image guy that would stay away from jail, slimy women and bad boy PR. If not a Mormon maybe playing from a Mormon state. The House of York thought that if a clean image didn't win games at least it was well, a clean image. Or something like that. So we pick Alex Smith who in his 'blossom' third year is on bottom of NFL stats.

Alex is such a nice young man and so well spoken. He even wore a tie as he introduced his teammates at the beginning of the show. He's the kind of young man you want to have over for Thanksgiving to meet your daughter. He's the kind of young man you actually trust more than you trust your daughter. And he can lose with more grace than just about anybody...

It's as if we really don't want to be seen trying to win because as we all know it's not winning it's how you play the game and moreover winning is too much about self indulgent me. So from the opening kickoff the House of York strategy is play to lose.

That's fine. But let's not call it competition, which is something the House of York obviously doesn't feel very strongly about. Why indeed? How can I really ever feel really good if winning is just all about me?

Why indeed play the stupid game? Why have your foolish loyal fans slavishly following your every miscue and bonehead management decision? And more amazingly, why do we idiot fans continue to endure it?

Why? To paraphrase ex-President Clinton, we do it because we can. That, and because no matter how hard we try, some of us fans just haven't fully adjusted to the WNBA.

At the end of the day or as we say here in Silicon Valley, the net net, there is no rule in the NFL that says a team has to win. Right after The House of York took over the Niners they authorized secret research into the most inner workings of the NFL. After compiling all the data from every game in NFL history, the House of York discovered that just as many teams lose as win. We can only imagine how healing that was to their management team.

As the season agonizingly comes to a halt we can rest assured that our guys will be the most articulate at optimistically explaining our infinitesimal chances for winning any games next season. But you really have to admit that we do it with such class...
About the Author
Jack D. Deal is a frustrated Forty-Niners fan and the owner of Deal Business Consulting. Related articles may be found at http://www.jddeal.com and http://www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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