I’m a Vernon Davis fan. Not just him as the football player but also as a human being. I covered the 49ers for five seasons and the final three I got a chance to interact with coaches and players during practices, games and other functions. I wasn’t close to Davis. We kept our relationship professional and I was just fine with that.
I remember during training camp in 2010, a Danish news media outlet flew out two reporters to do a story on the 49ers. They were anxious to talk with Davis because he and then head coach Mike Singletary were paired up to promote the upcoming London game that year. Davis was the biggest name they knew on the 49ers.
When Davis came out to the field to meet with reporters, the Danish reporters started asking him questions. If you’re familiar with the location of the 49ers’ practice facility, you know that it’s near an airport and loud planes frequently fly over the field. Davis heard a plane and stopped talking. He waited for the plane to pass by, knowing that he wanted to make sure these reporters who traveled all this distance got a clear sound bite. He smiled and once the plane passed by, he continued where he left off.
It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it is my favorite moment covering Davis and it had nothing to do with me interviewing him. But it was the perfect example of the kind of man Davis was with the media. Every time he spoke, he always spoke clearly. He thought through his words before speaking. He understood the power of presentation. That fit well with his various passions. He loved to paint and show off his work. He had aspirations to start his own TV show. The man understood how to handle and present himself.
I had always assumed that Terrell Owens’ famous touchdown celebration on the Cowboys’ star was because he wanted to mock the opposition.
In “A Football Life,” Owens retells the story of that day and said it was his way of praising God. You can believe that if you want or not, but watch the video and see for yourself.
For years Eddie DeBartolo Jr. has been close to enshrinement into the Hall of Fame but has always been left out. I thought that his chances of getting in were getting slimmer. He’s been a presenter for some of the inductees and those men have called for his enshrinement as well.
Now as he is a finalist for the contributor category, there is a good chance he gets into the Hall of Fame. He helped lead the 49ers dynasty with five Super Bowl titles and had such a major influence during that time period. When talking about owners in the NFL, DeBartolo is one of the greatest — if not the greatest.
He made major contributions to the league and to the 49ers. The way he handled the team and the success is unmatched and I am still shocked he’s not in. But now with this news, there is a good chance.
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?