Watching the 49ers this year has been a painful exercise at times. They're 2-5, and have been throughly routed in four of those losses. When the 49ers play San Diego or Chicago, it doesn't even seem like the teams are in the same league. San Diego scored 35 points at halftime, and Chicago was up 41-0 after two quarters. There also doesn't seem like a lot of animosity in these games. Both teams will be playing hard, but there haven't been a lot of personal fouls or trash-talking showdowns.
That's because the 49ers are the Little Brother of the NFL. Games look closer than they should because other teams shut down their offenses after halftime, so as not to rub it in. Every game is either a miraculous, inspirational victory over a bad team, or an out-and-out ass whipping from any average or better opponent. In the San Diego game, a scrappy 49ers defensive end forced his way to the quarterback and sacked him for a safety. After the San Diego free kick, the 49ers fumbled on the next play. By the second half, San Diego was running on nearly every play to run out the clock, the football equivalent of putting a hand on the 49ers' forehead, while the 49ers fumed and punched the air.
Being a 49ers fan is kind of like following your little brother's football team. They have the worst TV announcers every week, since the good announcers work on the big kids' games. Fans are amazingly supportive, cheering loudly even when the team is down 25 points in the third quarter. Only at 49er games will you hear fans say, "It's still a four-possession game." Even when the team gets killed, game stories praise the team's spirit, and focuses on where they might have made improvements. Much like kids being dragged by their parents to their little brother's game, TV viewers have no choice but to watch the 49ers each week.
The 49ers are not very good at football, but they sometimes to do cute things that are tangentially related to football. Against the Chargers, they ran a reverse in the fourth quarter, trailing by 22. The ball carrier fumbled. They've got a bunch of former college quarterbacks playing wide receiver and running back. Maybe they aren't good at the new positions yet, but those guys are heroes for trying.
It's also possible that the 49ers are not the NFL's Little brother, but the NFL's Li'l Brudder, a football team like a three-legged dog. Alex Smith has got the heart of a champion. What am I doing with my life? I'm thinking of getting into male modeling.
"I'm gonna be a quarterback when I grow up. I'm gonna throw for 2000 yards."