Four Quarterbacks Is Never Enough

My review of the 49ers season

I still haven’t watched the game. I haven’t really had a chance to. I’ve only read bits and pieces about it. But I know the 49ers season came to an end in the NFC Championship game for the second season on the trot. I know how our starting quarterback on the night got an UCL elbow injury in the first quarter that effectively put him out of the game, and that our second string was knocked out of the game in the third quarter. We didn’t score after a Christian McCaffrey touchdown run in the first quarter to make it 7-7, and that the Eagles ran out easy winners. But none of that really tells the story of the 49ers season.

There were high hopes at the start of the season. We had kept the core of both a decent offense and a very good defence, and we were moving on at quarterback from Jimmy G to last year’s first round pick Trey Lance. It was a positive vibe.

And it was fine whilst it lasted. Right into game two when Trey Lance went down to a season ending injury. And so after all the pre-season kerfuffle, the quarterback leading the team was back to being Jimmy G, who hadn’t even practised with the rest of the squad.

Now we started to limp along, there were injuries to Kittle and Deebo, and by the end of October we were 3-4. Fortunately our division was a basket case and we only a game back from the surprising Seahawks, and with a victory over them already in the bag.

So, unusually for the 49ers, we went out and did a big trade midseason and brought in Christian McCaffrey from the Panthers. And with that we started winning. And we took over the lead in our division and were on a roll. Only for Jimmy G to go down to a season ending injury. We were now on to our third string quarterback for the season, this year’s draft’s Mr Irrelevant, the last man picked in the draft – Brock Purdy.

Doom and gloom were predicted. But it didn’t come. Purdy played well. Yes, there was the occasional misfire, and he got lucky with defensive penalties wiping out mistakes a few times in his first few games, but he linked up well with a seemingly fully fit and fully functioning Kittle, and we kept winning.

Only for him to get an oblique injury and for part of a game, fourth string quarterback, J Johnson, a long in the tooth replacement picked up off the waivers was in. And still we won. And Purdy remained the starter, even with the injury. And we kept winning. I did another of my rewritten lyrics songs in his praise, changing Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” to “We Love Brock Purdy” with “Throw another dime to George Kittle baby” in there. And not even that stopped the 49ers winning.

We won the last ten regular season games and finished with a 13-4 record and the NFC second seed. Up in the wildcard weekend were the Seahawks and we took our record to 3-0 against them for the season, despite the extra hard mastication on his gum by Pete Carroll. And in the divisional round it brought up the Cowboys. And it brought up another win, as it had the previous year, still a tight game but not so reliant on Cowboys mistakes. The defence doing a stellar job as they had all season.

Part of me wanted the Giants to beat the Eagles. A terrible thing for me to be wanting with my hatred of the Giants. But it would have been an easier game for us, and it would have given us the chance of knocking out the holy trinity of shit eating fuck face teams in the same playoffs (it could extend to four if the Raiders were to get to the Superbowl, but let’s be honest, that’s never going to happen). But it wasn’t to be.

And so nine months after flights had been booked I was flying from New York to Miami at the exact time the NFC Championship game was being played. The Delta flight couldn’t get their plane’s wi-fi system working, and so there was no Direct TV as had been promised, and so no way to watch the game.

I turned my phone back on once at Miami airport and the first inkling of how things had gone were a text message from a friend who had been a housemate back in my Manchester days. He lives in Philadelphia now, and the text was just a single emoji – an Eagle. A few minutes later data services kicked in and I found the full details.

It was disappointing, but how we were after week seven, if you had said NFC Championship game I would have snatched your arm (and probably a couple of other body parts as well) off you.

And so, we need to go again. Get our quarterback one and quarterback three fit and keep them that way for a whole season and make it third time lucky in next year’s NFC Championship game.


The above was written on the flight back to the UK ten days ago. I’ve only gotten around to typing it up today. And so, I watched the Superbowl last night. There were reasons to not want either side to win; the Eagles because their fans are morons who smashed their own city up on their only previous Superbowl win five years ago, and the Chiefs because of the racist connotations of their name (I’m sure they could change it and find a better name than the truly dreadful Commanders or Guardians).

It was a great game, the Eagles tactic of trying to cripple the opponent’s quarterback didn’t quite work this time, and the Chiefs (quite literally) limped to victory 38-35, overcoming a ten point deficit again as they had four years ago, though I’ve blocked out who that was against.

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