I saw Levi’s Stadium for first time since leaving the 49ers beat in 2012

Ever since I moved to SoCal after the 2012 NFL Draft, I had never had the chance to return to Santa Clara. I only saw minor construction of the soon to be Levi’s Stadium during my final season on the beat.

I had seen pictures and videos of the stadium’s construction from SoCal. I didn’t know when I would ever come to see the stadium up close.

Luckily today, on my way to work at Yahoo, I got a chance to stop by the stadium before I boarded light rail. It’s as beautiful as I imagined. I didn’t get a chance to go to the ribbon cutting ceremony. But I know I will be back for a game this year.

Check out the photos I took here on Facebook.

EA Sports Madden 15 to feature Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos

Samuel:

As a guy who has played the new Madden every single year since 2005, this is really neat. I didn’t like that the details on Kaepernick didn’t feature the tattoos. But now, this is really cool.

Originally posted on Audibles - SI.com:

(Photo courtesy of EA Sports)

EA Sports released its first screenshot of Madden 15, which is as realistic as it gets for the game franchise. (Photo courtesy of EA Sports)

The graphics in the popular Madden franchise seem to become more realistic with every edition EA Sports releases every year. It’s now become almost as if when you’re playing, an actual Sunday game unfolds right in front of your eyes.

This year’s version goes a step further toward reality as the attention to detail gets more precise. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is featured in the first screenshot released Wednesday night, and as you can tell in the photo, his infamous tattoos are as well.

“We want to be as authentic as possible, so we were pleased that Colin was able to secure the rights to the tattoos,” Madden senior producer Seann Graddy told ESPN.com. “There’s a ton of buzz around this. In this game, we…

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Bill Walsh’s Coaching Tapes: An Enduring Genius

Bill Walsh’s Coaching Tapes: An Enduring Genius

Samuel:

This is one of the best things I have read on the Internet. Whether you’re a 49ers fan or a football lover, this is a beautiful blast from the past to the amazing genius that is Bill Walsh.

Originally posted on The MMQB with Peter King:

Editor’s note: This is the thirdin The MMQB’s 10-part seriesNFL 95: AHistory of Pro Football in 95 Objects, commemorating the 95th season of the NFL in 2014. Each Wednesday through the start of training camp in July, The MMQB will unveil one long-form piece on an artifact of particular significance to the history of the NFL, accompanied by other objects that trace the rise of professional football in America, from the NFL’s founding in a Hupmobile dealership in Canton in 1920 to its place today at the forefront of American sports and popular culture.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—There he stands, exactly how you picture him in your mind. Tanned, fit, flowing white hair. His dress switches from the normal Sunday attire—white sweater over a collared golf shirt, neatly pressed slacks—to trim T-shirt tucked into red coaching shorts. The tone of his voice, measured, passionate and, above all else, professorial…

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Never forget the 49ers helmet that almost was but never became

The 49ers reminded us on Twitter about the helmet they almost decided to adopt into their uniform. Fortunately, they decided to not go with it.

It is featured as one of my rotating banners atop this page.

It’s a part of history that I thought we could forget. But not the 49ers. They had to bring back up one last time.

May we never forget.

May we never forget.

How the Browns-Harbaugh trade could have worked out

Jim Harbaugh in Cleveland?

So there have been conflicting reports and denials by the 49ers that the supposed proposal to trade Jim Harbaugh to the Browns for draft picks is false.

Of course, both sides could easily deny it just to save face, but we will never know if it was true.

However, if it was true and multiple draft picks were involved, then we have to wonder if that was the only thing on the table or something else prevented the deal from happening. Also, that would mean the 49ers would have to promote Greg Roman or Brad Seely as the new head coach. Or steal David Shaw from Stanford.

Using my logic, these are the terms to the trade that would make it fair for both sides.

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Is the window closing for the 49ers’ chances of winning a Super Bowl?

Are the 49ers’ chances of winning the Super Bowl slipping away?

In hindsight and in the big picture, the 49ers have accomplished a lot since Jim Harbaugh arrived as head coach. Three straight NFC Championship Game appearances, including an appearance in the Super Bowl, is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s hard enough for a team to continue that kind of successful consistency but the 49ers have done that.

However, in all three seasons, the 49ers were good enough to go to the Super Bowl and win. They are that good of a football team and can only get better. At least that’s what it appears for this team.

But as this 2013 season has come to an end, the 49ers have a lot of decisions to make in order to return to the playoffs and finish off what they started. They have injuries (NaVorro Bowman, Mike Iupati) that they have to monitor this offseason. They have key free agents like Donte Whitner and Anquan Boldin that they have to figure out if they can keep.

Can this team be this good and maintain all this kind of success? How much longer can they hold on to this core before they have to restart all over again?

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My predictions for today’s championship games in the NFL

Who’s going to the Super Bowl? Check out my predictions below.

Julian Edelman has been a major factor in the Patriots’ success this season.

NEW ENGLAND (2) VS DENVER (1)

Even though the Denver offense is nothing short of amazing, the biggest focus for the Broncos may actually be their defense. Manning has a lot of weapons to work with and can easily move the ball down the field, but the Broncos defense has to keep the Patriots off the board and the pressure off the Broncos offense.

Tom Brady is 7-0 against Jack Del Rio led defenses and this might be why I am leaning towards the Patriots. The passing attack may not be as explosive as before, but the running game has been great and don’t be surprised if LeGarrette Blount sets the tone early, slows down the game for the Patriots.

The Broncos defense will have to pressure Brady and without Von Miller, they have to find a way to collapse the pockets so Brady can’t find his receivers. Getting the Patriots off the field will give Manning and company their opportunity to shine. Expect a lot of passes inside with Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. The offense will look to get those two involved early.

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Sunday’s championship games are a blessing to all football fans

What a great day we have in store for us on Sunday. (NFL Network)

It’s rare in the NFL in which before the season begins, the teams we expect to battle for the Super Bowl actually make it. With injuries, surprise teams and other factors, the final four never actually ends as the team we expect. But when it does, it’s a beautiful thing. 

This Sunday we will have exactly what the NFL world expected to see. We got the classic matchup of future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. It’s a rivalry that continues to give us memorable moments.

On the other side, we have the two new young guns that are changing the way we see NFL quarterbacks. Not only that, the defenses for both teams are phenomenal.

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Donte Whitner not happy with Bills reporter taking shot at Colin Kaepernick’s style

Colin Kaepernick’s fashion style isn’t bad. But some people can’t take it.

Following the 49ers’ 23-10 win over the Panthers, Colin Kaepernick met with the media in the above outfit. If you’ve seen Kaepernick, you know that such kind of an outfit is the norm for him.

But of course, since his starting NFL debut last season, old school reporters don’t like it. With the backwards cap, the tattoos and the “urban” look, he’s been a target of many. He doesn’t fit the mold of the old generation, which some people hold on to.

A Bills writer decided to voice his anger about it. (He would later delete it probably because he knew he was a fool for tweeting that.)

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My predictions for Sunday’s Divisional round games

Here are my predictions for the second round of the playoffs.

The 49ers are healthier since their last meeting with the Panthers and are on a 7-game winning streak.

SAN FRANCISCO (5) VS CAROLINA (2)

The last time these two met, the 49ers had injuries to Vernon Davis, Ray McDonald. Aldon Smith was limited in snaps following his return from rehab and Michael Crabtree wasn’t playing. This 49ers team is different from the one that lost to the Panthers 10-9 in Week 10.

But does that mean the Panthers have no chance? The Panthers defense still pose a great threat to the 49ers’ passing game. Their secondary plays well and the pass rush is what gave Colin Kaepernick his worst performance of the year. If the Panthers can get the pressure on Kaepernick, then that just puts more pressure on the run game to bail the offense out.

Cam Newton makes his playoff debut and he has a lot of pressure on him to succeed. If Steve Smith is not at full strength, that means Newton has to make a lot out of his receiving weapons that is good, but not elite. Also, the running game for the Panthers has to set the tone against a stout 49ers defense.

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