Archive for San Francisco 49ers

I used to look forward to the Super Bowl

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When I was a kid, the Super Bowl was a big deal. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and the 49ers were dominant. And as I began to appreciate football for myself, I chose the Buffalo Bills as my favorite team. It’s hard to imagine why, right? Sure, they lost four straight Super Bowls but … they also MADE it to four straight Super Bowls.

Truth be told, much of what drew me there was eventual Hall of Famer Bruce Smith. I had a thing for defensive players. While everyone was fawning over QBs and RBs, defensive linemen and linebackers were my jam.

Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Reggie White, Ken Norton Jr. … these were my guys. And in a different era of the hobby — maybe like today — I would have collected their Cards because there would have been gorgeous cards of theirs to own, maybe even with their signature (even a cut for those who have passed away). But at the time they most only had base cards, and I never collected their cards the way I do Roger Clemens. Why? Because I was always afraid of collecting items that didn’t seemingly have some shot at appreciating. Remember, this was early 1990s when so much was placed on book value, and we still saw cards as “investments.”

I digress, football to be has become such an afterthought. Not just hobby wise — the market is so ass-backward if you ask me — but also in real life. The game just isn’t the same — although I readily admit things might be different if the Niners returned to some semblance of success again. While the Bills were my squad when they were good, it’s hard to cheer for a team on the other side of the country when as it turns out you were really excited about the players themselves, not really Buffalo as a franchise.

While football as a whole isn’t as important in my life or among my forms of entertainment, Super Bowl Sunday still has some mystique since it’s really a single event the world is watching. But I’d be a liar if I told you I go out of my way to watch. Heck, three out of the last four years I’ve been working during the Super Bowl — today included

The actual victor isn’t important to me. But in case you’re wondering I am hoping Tom Brady wins another Super Bowl and rides off into the sunset. I know a lot of folks have soured on him, but the story and the level of dominance is one the sports world has not seen since the days of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls; and those late 90s/early 00s New York Yankee club featuring a young Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

That said, what’s fun about the Super Bowl nowadays is that it marks the end of football and means we’re getting closer to the sport I love the most, baseball.

A 20-year-old NFL retail break 

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

A few months ago a co-worker brought me a gift, a four-pack blister of 1995 Upper Deck football that had a commemorative Joe Montana Super Bowl card.  

This co-worker is a big San Francisco 49ers fan and at one point he bought this for his man cave. He’s not really a card guy, but more of a game-used 49ers jersey collector.  So he decided to gift this blister to me.

I opened a good amount of this product in 1995, as we as the SP brand, which was high-end at the time and was one of the first sets I completed.

I digress.  Yesterday during my lunch break I stopped by my locker and noticed that I still had this thing sitting on my top shelf.  With the NFL kicking off this week I decided to open it for fun.  There really are no hits in here, just base cards, parallels and the occasional insert. 

So, the Montana C-card was cool.  It shows Montana and the 49ers against the Miami Dolphins jn Super Bowl XIX, which is the last Super Bowl to be held in the San Francisco Bay Area. that Super Bowl was held at Stanford University in Palo Alro. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl and will again be in the Bay Area.

 
And now for the packs.

The first pack had a card that literally made me laugh out loud.  I mean check out this seductive rookie card of former Jets draft pick Kyle Brady.

   
 
Pack two wasn’t quite as awesome, but it had a card if one of the newest Hall of Famers, Charles Haley, and a good-looking rookie card of Michael Westbrook. Oh, and it had TWO silver parallels. Money!  

 
Pack three  features a rookie card of a very good linebacker from the late 1990s and early 2000s, one Derrick Brooks.

   
And the final pack featured a dud rookie QB card, but the last card in the pack was none other than hall of fame 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice. Heck, my co-worker might even have this Rice jersey shown on this card.  

 Al, if you’re reading this, the Niner cards are all yours if you want them back. That Kyle Brady card is mine though. It’s priceless.

Let’s Go Niners! Let’s Go Niners!

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

My 1981 Topps Joe Montana rookie card

It’s been a long time since Bay Area football has been this good.

For about a decade, football fans in the San Francisco Bay Area have been subjected to sub-par football on both sides of the Bay in the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders.

Raiders fans have been Raider fans.  Every year calling their shot that they will return to the Super Bowl and each year they fall short of even making the playoffs.  Good drama for sure, but still horrible ball.

And the Niners? People hated Alex Smith.  They wanted him gone.  He was no Joe Montana.  Or Steve Young.  Or even Jeff Garcia.  Hell, he was barely one rung above Jim Drukenmiller.

But then things changed.

The Niners hired Jim Harbaugh.  They began to win.  Alex Smith stopped throwing dumb passes for pick sixes.  And the defense started knocking fools out.

And suddenly everyone is wearing the red and gold with pride again.

It’s interesting to see what winning can do to a fanbase, no matter how serious the fans are.

But even though it has been 10 years since San Francisco has even made it to the playoffs, this feeling is not something I have forgotten.

THIS is how things were when I was growing up here.

I’ll say this right now:  I don’t call myself a Niner fan.  I don’t pretend to be.  I don’t go around puffing my chest out saying “I have been there from the beginning.” 

When time came to choose favorite teams when I was 10 or so, I chose the Buffalo Bills.  I loved Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas.  I loved their status as perennial Super Bowl contenders who always got their asses handed to them when it was crunch time.

Hell, I even had a bitch-ass physical education teacher — a huge Cowboys fans — make fun of me in front of the entire locker room while I wore a Bills hat a day after the Cowboys defeated the Bills in Super Bowl XXVII.  He proceeded to say “Bills, huh?  You know what “BILLS” stands for right? Boy I Love Losing Super Bowls. HAHAHA”

Dude, I was 12.

Jerk.

Anyway. While I claimed the Bills as my team, I distinctly remember the atmosphere here when the Niners were king.  Kids, parents and even teachers were into football.  In elementary school we actually spent an entire class making posters in favor of the Niners as they prepared to play the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII.  Of course they won.

And years before that, I remember having my first ever Big Mac with a Coke. Joe Montana was on the cup, and Ronnie Lott was on my first true trading card, which hailed from a set given away at McDonald’s.

The Niners were EVERYWHERE. Proof that football is a big deal here … when the teams are winning.

And from an outsider prospective, they call this Bandwagon Fanaticism.

There’s probably some truth in that.  But what you have to realize is that lots of people my age (31) grew up here in an era when the Niners were second to none.  Whether they were true fans or not, the people here always ended up cheering for San Francisco anyway.

And as the Niners prepare to take on the New York Giants in the biggest 49ers game in probably 16 years, they are all cheering for them again.  Even Raiders fans, who probably wouldn’t admit it you asked them.

I leave you with this. A gem from the 1980s.  A song I heard A LOT when I was  a kid but completely forgot until earlier this year when my wife — who is not a sports fan — started singing it one day after we watched a game.