Joe-Pinions: Sports

17 Jan 2012 – From Nine Years to the Last Sixty Minutes, to the Next Sixty Minutes

Posted in Football (NFL) by txtmstrjoe on 17/01/2012

It seems like it has been forever since Candlestick Park was so alive.

In the grand scheme of things, nine years are nothing, much briefer than the blinking of an eye in a universe of forever.

But nine years can feel like forever.

Nine years since the San Francisco 49ers were last in a playoff game.

Nine years since the 49ers last embarked on a post-season quest to take home the team’s next Lombardi Trophy.

Nine years since the grand old lady, The Stick, was the venue where magical things happened for the good guys in cardinal and gold.

Nine years of ever-growing heartache and disappointment, when the organization seemed intent on casting aside past glories, purging head coaches and players who operated within the parameters of a tried-and-true system – the “Walsh Way” – and replacing them with new people with seemingly nary a clue on how to win.

Nine years of an inexorable, agonizing slide into mediocrity and frustration.

Nine years of acquiring talent, but never reaping the benefits because of deplorable mismanagement of resources and the absence of great leadership.

Nine years of disrespect, of outright derision, by all parties — the press, other teams, other teams’ fans — because the 49ers deserved it for continually betraying its own history of grand achievement.

These last nine years have seemed like forever for this 49ers fan.

But in one gloriously beautiful January afternoon, all the pain, disappointment, and frustration dissipated.  The fog that had shrouded the view to the summit of the NFL had finally lifted.

The San Francisco Forty-Niners, my beloved NFL team through thick and thin, are finally playoff winners again.  They beat the vaunted New Orleans Saints in what must be one of the greatest games in NFL playoff history.

Those sixty minutes of game time washed away the ignominies and futility of the past nine years.

Nine years of angst, gone after sixty minutes of unadulterated joy.

And in a universe of forever, after the last sixty minutes, 49ers fans everywhere rejoice in the fact that we will have a further sixty minutes to somehow find a way to go even further.  The team stands at the threshold of a full return to glory.  After a sojourn in the wilderness where souls are cleansed and spirits are forged to be worthy once more, the San Francisco 49ers have arrived at the gates of destiny.

For all who follow and love this team, people like me, the last sixty minutes were just the latest leg of a journey back in time.  This season has paralleled events from thirty years ago in so many ways, it’s eerie.  I’ve touched on how this year’s current course is so much like history repeating itself before, with only the final outcome yet to be determined.

Before getting to that final outcome, though, will be the next sixty minutes.

The San Francisco 49ers overcame some New Orleans voodoo black magic during the last sixty minutes; in the next sixty minutes, they now must slay the Giants guarding those gates of destiny.

So much is riding now on these next sixty minutes.

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