I remember seeing Aldon Smith for the first time. It was at his introductory press conference and he was meeting the Bay Area media for the first time. Some people didn’t think that Smith was the right pick for the 49ers and so there was a curiosity to what Smith would bring to the team. Smith, with all his physical skills, ended up being a very solid pick by the 49ers. In the very short time in the league, he established himself as one of the best pass rushers in the game.
The 49ers were proud of Smith and the fact that, in a way, proved doubters wrong. They wanted the best for Smith. They wanted Smith to be a great success story.
They held onto Aldon after his first off-field incident. Then the second. Then the third. Even through last year’s ordeal, they kept holding on to him. They could have handled it differently, but the message was clear: the 49ers were not giving up on him. Sure, there was a lot of emotional attachments and some selfishness in it — but the 49ers did not want to lose Smith. It seemed like he was turning the page and getting things right. But it wasn’t to be. Finally after the fifth strike, he was out.
Via the 49ers’ Instagram.Over the weekend, the 49ers have been going to Levi’s Stadium for practices and one of the newest additions to the stadium are the black end zones.
This comes after the 49ers revealed in the spring that they are adding an all-black uniform set. This is clearly a marketing ploy and in order to make it work, they are making the end zones black for the first time ever.
The 49ers as a team has never heavily emphasized black. For their entire history, it’s been reserved as the trim to their logo or simply used as dropshadows for the numbres on the uniform. That’s really it. But now that they’ve made black a part of their identity as an alternate, we have this. I personally think that this idea works for a team starting fresh. But for a team with so much history, forcing black into the identity is too much.
What was expected has now happened.
One of the things I enjoyed about Justin Smith, other than his consistency (played 221 of 224 games) and his lethal attack on the opposing quarterback, was that he didn’t seem like the kind of guy to let fame to get to his head.
He was in discussion for defensive player of the year once. He was praised as the anchor of the 49ers defense. The fame from his success and the team’s success was there. Yet he just seemed like the kind of guy who would go out to the lake and go fishing after practice instead of hanging out at bars or at parties. He was truly a cowboy in every sense of that nickname.
In the locker room, he kept to himself. He didn’t cause any scenes during media time yet he got along well with all teammates. He was all business. The perfect man for the job of being the lead anchor.
Enjoy retirement, Justin. Ride off into the sunset, cowboy.
On Thursday, I took some time to digest the new 49ers black alternate uniform. After about 24 hours since it first surfaced, I have determined that this was the perfect time for these uniforms to exist.
Here are my personal thoughts.
Let me preface that the 49ers didn’t need an alternate uniform. In fact, if they wanted to introduce a new set for the upcoming season, they should have brought back a throwback. Those 1994 throwbacks are very popular and would have been a much better choice.
But due to the limitations of creativity for alternate uniforms in the NFL, the 49ers had little to no choice but to go with black. (Take a look at the alternate uniforms in MLB, NBA and NHL. All of them break away from the same template of the team’s standard design. In the NFL, all templates remain the same.)
But the question simply remains: Why?
Update made to post added towards end of entry.
On Wednesday, the 49ers announced that they would unveil a new alternate uniform during the draft. Ladies and gentleman, here it is via their new Snapchat. After some speculation on Wednesday, a black uniform was suspected and this is what we have.
This new jersey appears to be a simply recolored version of the team’s standard uniform. Essentially, the 49ers have taken the base of their white jersey and made that black. The red numbers, names and stripes remain. Considering that the team’s logo features black and nowhere else on the standard uniform uses black, this seems to be an odd choice. But given the trend of what alternate uniforms look like in the NFL (and the popularity of black jerseys), this was the only logical direction. A gold alt would have been too difficult to mass produce and it would not look great with the team’s current gold (more like khaki) pants. But they added a gold Nike swoosh on the sleeves. So there’s that for color diversifying.
Adding a black jersey will diversify and grow the potential merchandising opportunities. The team did not go with adding a different red jersey. They went with a new color, which will be a hot sell no doubt among fans. The 49ers have never worn an alternate in their entire team history. They have worn throwbacks, but alternates are made specifically with the intent to have a different option during the seasons (along with the merchandise sales). Per NFL rules, alternates can be worn a maximum of two times during the regular season.
First of all, the above news. Here is a part of the release:
The 49ers will be introducing the team’s first alternate uniform in franchise history. The 49ers last made changes to their uniforms prior to the 2009 season, when San Francisco reintroduced the classic color of the 49ers, alongside the return of the grey facemask to the helmet. The new alternate uniform was the result of a coordinated effort between the 49ers, their players, Nike and the NFL.
“I think the fans are going to be excited when they see our new look,” said 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who was among a group of players involved in the design of the new uniform. “I think the fans are going to understand we mean business. All I can say is we won’t have to worry about how we look, because we’ll know we look good.”
This is not a surprise. In fact, this was in the works in 2013.
Patrick Willis, in his retirement press conference, said that he leaves the game happy without any regrets. He said he gave the game everything he had but looking towards his future, he knew health was very important to him. Having issues with his feet, Willis cited that he was going to leave the game for that primary reason. Willis said that he won’t have an itching to come back later on because he leaves the game with closure.
I remember the first time I met him. What a joy it was for me and he was so respectful in answering all my questions. A few months later, he signed a 49ers mini helmet for me during training camp. It still remains as one of my most prized memorabilia possessions.
Willis was a very respectful man and a man with a huge heart in his time with the 49ers. He remained honest every day and I am happy that he’s happy. He gets to enjoy life.
Thank you, Patrick.