What it was like covering Alex Smith on the 49ers beat

A photo with me and Alex Smith at a local premiere of “The Taking of Pelham 123” in the Bay Area.

I first started the San Francisco 49ers in 2007. At the time I was just a blogger and gaining access to anything the 49ers did was definitely not on my radar. However, it was exciting for me to cover the team I grew up watching and hoping that the Niners could get back to respectability.

I had a lot of hope in Alex Smith. He as entering his third season with the team and he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders as the top overall pick in 2005. This is where I started focusing a lot of my writing on him and the team. It was some ups and downs in those two years until I finally got credentialed.

Gaining credential access to the 49ers was a big deal for me. The Niners at the time never gave access to online media journalists — the concept was too new and bloggers like myself were an unpredictable unknown. I was just grateful that I worked hard enough and published enough quality content that the team decided that I was worth considering. I was only able to cover a few practices here and there but that was enough for me. That was when I got to interview and meet Alex Smith.

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Determining the best Super Bowl game ever with a unique grading system

Was Super Bowl XXXII the greatest Super Bowl ever?
(Photo by Lutz Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Last night’s Super Bowl game wasn’t all that exciting. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers grabbed the lead early and its defense suffocated the Kansas City Chiefs. And with that, the 55th Super Bowl game ended with a 31-9 blowout.

While watching the game last night I started to think about all the previous Super Bowl games and which one is the best game ever. If you ask based on the qualifier of the actual gameplay, then you will get a ton of answers and all are debatable. We could look back at the New York Jets’ major upset in Super Bowl III. Or maybe Joe Montana’s late drive to seal the win in Super Bowl XXIII. Or maybe the New York Giants taking down the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII?

These are just a few examples of some games worth considering. But I feel that there should be some other qualifiers. The gameplay is important, but the visuals to me are a very important factor into the decision. For a long while, the Super Bowl was played under sunny skies. Now, depending on the location of the game and the game start time, that option may not exist. Even games played indoors eliminate the sun from being a factor.

Another thing that matters is the field itself. This is a personal preference, but games played on grass are visually more appealing than games played on any other surface. And with the rolling out of astroturf and field turf, it seems like every other year we lose that element.

And as you know, I am a big uniform guy so finding a good contrast in both teams’ uniforms is important to me. I love it where both teams don’t share any of the same colors and that there is a good balance of colors on each uniform. For example, the Seattle Seahawks wearing a blue helmet, with blue jerseys and pants isn’t visually that strong. And on the other hand, despite the Pittsburgh Steelers having a very classic uniform, I am not a fan of a black helmet on a white jersey with yellow pants. It’s too many different dominant colors on one uniform.

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NFL denying throwbacks for 49ers in Super Bowl was best decision

The uniform matchup from the two teams’ preseason meeting in 2019 is what we will get at the Super Bowl.

The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are going to face off in Super Bowl LIV in a couple weeks and one of the first big news stories that came out this was the uniform matchup for the game.

The designated home team rotates every year and this year the AFC team is the home team. The Chiefs are going with the red jersey and white pants for the game. That means the 49ers will be in a white jersey. However, it was reported that the 49ers petitioned to be allowed to wear their throwback uniforms for the game.

The NFL denied that request and the image you see above is what the Super Bowl matchup will be.

It is the best move by the league.

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NFL looks worse for this Colin Kaepernick private workout

Well, the NFL is doing what it can to make itself look like a league that isn’t blackballing Colin Kaepernick. They’ve set up a private workout this Saturday in Atlanta for Kaepernick to show off his skills. All NFL teams are welcomed to send in reps to watch.

Sounds like a good and favorable thing for Kaepernick, right?

Well, not exactly. In fact, the whole thing smelled fishy from the beginning. We’re close to three seasons since Kaepernick was last in the NFL and now the NFL wants to help him out? Sure, there was that whole lawsuit issue but surely that meant that was in the past and the present is now, right? They’ve made peace and moved on, right?

Actually, according to Mike Silver, it’s not what you think. Charles Robinson also shared some information as well.

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Carli Lloyd as an NFL kicker would be fun; but it could lead to these things

If you have the talent to make an NFL roster, then I say go for it. That’s what Carli Lloyd is trying to do. After her 55-yard field goal went viral, there are talks about having Lloyd try out for an NFL team and make the roster.

I am all for it. If she has the skills to do it, then do it. But of course it won’t be that easy even if she signs with a team.

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The new Jets uniforms are acceptable

I have some issues with these new Jets uniforms but they aren’t bad in some sense. Their shade of green is great and that reflects very well on the helmets. My issue with this set is that the use of black just isn’t working for me.

Well, the black outline on the numbers doesn’t look bad but it isn’t necessary. What if the team didn’t include black at all in any part of their uniform? I feel that black isn’t necessary. If they didn’t have black, this mono-black uniform would be gone.

But the biggest issue I feel is the NEW YORK plastered on the front. This isn’t college football. We don’t need this. The Browns did the same thing and they instantly regretted it.

The wings on the shoulder and on the pants stripes are OK. Not great. But not bad. It just feels like this has a great potential and maybe the helmet is the only touchdown overall. It just feels like in 10 years, the Jets may have another uniform change.

The Catch II: Remembering it 20 years later

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Can you believe it? Exactly 20 years ago today, The Catch II happened. This remains as one of the greatest playoff moments in San Francisco 49ers history. To me, it is one of the most impossible and unexpected moments in team history.

And for good reason. This 49ers team had been dominating since the 1980s and well into the 90s. But the team’s nemesis since their 1994 Super Bowl win was the Green Bay Packers. They had Brett Favre at the helm winning MVP awards. The Niners just couldn’t beat them. And with a late touchdown to Antonio Freeman, this game seemed to be another loss to the Packers.

I also remember Terrell Owens, the hero of this game. He struggled throughout the game, dropping passes. That stood out to me. But also in the back of my mind I knew that the team was nearing the end of their amazing run. Steve Young and Jerry Rice were getting up there in age. They were still good, but I just had a hard time seeing this team sustain dominance for much longer. And with the Packers being the better team (having gone to consecutive Super Bowls, winning one of them) it just felt that this might have been the last hurrah.

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What is a throwback uniform?

Today I encountered an interesting debate on Twitter when I saw this post.

The list talks about the best throwback uniforms in the NFL and the #1 spot went to the Chargers.

Wait? The Chargers are wearing throwbacks this year? Well, actually, they aren’t. But somehow, this article included this set into the throwback debate.

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Terrell Owens vs the Hall of Fame: The battle of pettiness

Now I agree with many people that Terrell Owens should attend his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It is a great honor to be recognized and it would great to hear him speak about his great career.

But of course, this opportunity should have happened two years ago. Owens is one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history and should have been a first-ballot induction. But he wasn’t. It was due to his reputation off the field that soured the voters which led to the wait.

Owens understandably was not happy about being snubbed because of this. Even though his attitude during his playing days was not great, his skills and stats as a player are worthy of entry in first year.

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How Dwight Clark changed the course of my life

The closest I had to ever interacting with Dwight Clark was back in 2008 during a phone interview. I don’t even recall what we talked about. I am pretty sure it was about football. After the interview, he was so gracious for me taking the time to talk with him and that he was really happy to have taken the time to speak with me. (Unfortunately records of this interview no longer exist on the Internet.)

There was this one time I was at an event in San Francisco a couple years later to celebrate the anniversary of “The Catch” and I was in person to jot down some quotes from Dwight. That’s pretty much the only time I have ever been in the same room with him.

January 10, 2012 – An event celebrating the 49ers’ Super Bowl success and the 30th anniversary of “The Catch.” This was the best photo I took of the event.

My life would have been extremely different if weren’t for Dwight Clark.

Let me explain.

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