San Francisco 49ers: Identifying the 25 Players Niner Fans Hate Most
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As a San Francisco 49ers fan born and raised, my hatred—or at the very least dislike—of particular members of the opposition was ingrained at an early age.
Any such sports-related malevolence has long since dissipated. However, I can recognize and appreciate the contempt my fellow Niner fans have towards other players. I suppose I still harbor a little of it myself.
Divisional foes within the NFC West certainly employ an assortment of players that generate the disapproval of the 49er Faithful.
Let’s take a look now at the 25 current players 49ers fans hate most. They will derive mostly from opponents on San Francisco’s 2011 and 2012 schedule
Note: In order to minimize the number of slides, I divided the players by the particular division in which they play (or played). I’ll also refrain from completely taking the serious side of things. Let’s have a little fun with this, shall we?
Thomas' fumble recoveries killed the 49ers.
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Devin Thomas (WR, New York Giants)
Now with the Chicago Bears, Thomas was the Giants’ special teamer that recovered both of Kyle Williams’ muffed punts during the NFC Championship Game.
Many 49er fans view those fumbles as the costly turning points of that game. Thomas, then, was the man who solidified the dismal fate for their beloved 49ers.
My mind was nearly at peace until the rehashing of those unfortunate incidents. Looks like I’ll now be watching the matchup against the Bears this season with increased ire.
One can only wonder if Coach Seely will have anything in store for Mr. Thomas come Week 11…
Eli Manning (QB, New York Giants)
Okay, I must admit that this most likely pertains to my personal hatred.
Obvious respect for the man notwithstanding, Eli will never shed the “ah shucks” demeanor in my eyes.
He’s simply a child that leads game-tying and/or winning drives against my team.
I can’t like that—neither can you.
DeSean Jackson (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)
Jackson’s ostentatious style draws contempt from fans of opposing teams across the league.
It is certainly no different for 49er fans.
The former Cal Bear burned the 49ers secondary in their Week 4 matchup. Per usual, he still managed to overly flaunt even in his own team’s loss.
It’s the type of behavior that reminds the Niner Faithful of a certain Terrell Owens (at least his post-49er days).
Despite both being absurdly talented, their glaring lack of a team-first mentality makes it difficult not to dislike these types of players. This is especially true now that Jim Harbaugh—Mr. Blue Collar himself—is the head coach.
Jackson’s refusing to acknowledge his Bay Area Cal roots doesn’t help his cause either.
Jesse Holley (WR, Dallas Cowboys)
Cowboy fans might call him a heartwarming story. 49er fans might call him the bane of their early-season existence.
Holley was the man coming off the proverbial scrap heap that hauled in the pass that set up the 49ers impending defeat shortly thereafter.
Let’s recall the play-by-play:
Week 2; Overtime; Score tied 24-24; 1st-and-10; Romo 77-yard pass to…Jesse Holley?!
Harbaugh’s squad suffered its first of just three losses all season in part to a guy who would catch seven passes all season. Purely shameful, but deserving of our hate.
We’ll see Mr. Holley in a Patriots uniform late in 2012. He should be advised to stay on the bench.
Kentwan Balmer (DE, Washington Redskins)
It is fairly difficult to hate a player that did absolutely nothing while donning the Red and Gold.
Oh wait, that’s exactly why 49er fans should detest this waste of talent.
A first-round draft pick in 2008 (29th overall), Balmer registered a whopping zero sacks, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries in two seasons with the Niners.
He’s merely a reminder of the near decade of managerial incompetence and NFL futility for the otherwise great 49ers franchise.
Courtesy of helmet2helmet.net
Lambeau Field (Stadium, Green Bay Packers)
Bear with me here.
The 49ers have beaten the Packers just twice in 15 meetings since 1990.
They are 0-9 at Lambeau Field since last defeating the cheese-heads on their home turf during that year. That amounts to a two decade-long drought to those who aren’t counting.
This stadium might as well qualify as a player that dominates an opposing team in a hateful manner.
Speaking of which…
Brett Favre (QB, Green Bay Packers)
Aside from “The Catch II” that aided defeat of the Packers in the 1999 playoffs, the 49ers were on the losing end in all 11 other meetings when Favre manned the QB position.
He proved the ultimate obstacle time and again for the 49ers during the postseason. He did so with that obnoxious youthful exuberance that caused us to shake our heads in disgust.
Combine Favre’s endless retired-unretired, hello-look-at-me narcissistic diva antics, with his constant defeats of the 49ers and you have some big-time inspiration for hate.
And don’t tell me he doesn’t qualify for this list; he’s just a desperate phone call away from seeing NFL action again.
Aaron Rodgers (QB, Green Bay Packers)
Niners Nation doesn’t hate Rodgers the man.
Rather, fans grow sick at the idea of what could have been had the 49ers selected the future Super Bowl champion over Alex Smith in the 2005 draft.
It’s about hating the seemingly perpetual surrender to revisionist history. In other words: always falling under the weight of the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s.
Smith coming out as the winning QB in the season opening matchup at Lambeau will remove much of that weight.
Then again, there will still be those unfortunately awesome Discount Double-check commercials to be jealous of.
Jim Schwartz (Coach, Detroit Lions)
Nobody gets away with coming after our man Harbaugh and whining about it afterward.
The boos will reign down like hellfire when the Lions roll into town September 16.
And hey, the man did actually play (…in college).
Calvin Johnson (WR, Detroit Lions)
Again, 49er fans do not necessarily hate Johnson the man as they do the idea of him.
They are repulsed by the idea that even the usually draft day-bungling Lions managed to land a top-tier wideout. It has been years since the 49ers have had such a luxury.
Times have changed, though, and the additions of Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and others have a chance to eliminate this hatred.
Chilo Rachal (OG, Chicago Bears)
Do we really need to remind ourselves of the sorry state of the offensive line when Rachal held the right guard spot?
I think not.
Greg Lewis (WR, formerly of Minnesota Vikings)
Along with Brett Favre, this man ruined a perfectly good Sunday and 49ers victory with his Hail Mary TD catch at the back of the end zone.
Occurring in the 2009 season or not, the memory still brings a scowl to the faces of 49er fans across the globe.
And they had to go and memorialize it with an ESPY, too.
49ers fans are none too happy with Mr. Beason's choice of words.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Darren Sproles (RB, New Orleans Saints)
Because he nearly ruined our 2011 playoff experience with a go-ahead fourth-quarter TD.
Jimmy Graham (TE, New Orleans Saints)
Because he nearly ruined our 2011 playoff experience with a go-ahead fourth-quarter TD.
Gregg Williams (Defensive Coordinator, formerly of New Orleans Saints)
The man endorsed his players to intentionally injure members of the 49ers—plain and simple.
Harbaugh’s squad certainly got the last laugh, but Niner fans can still hate.
Jon Beason (LB, Carolina Panthers)
49er fans won’t forget Beason bad-mouthing their quarterback any time soon.
He can owe this hatred to childish smack-talk on the Twitter machine.
Entire Team (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Fans of the Red and Gold just hate the fact that they can’t witness another 48-3 beat down.
The Bucs would have really provided a nice bright spot on the schedule again in 2012.
That's what'll happen if you try that TD scramble again, Clemens.
Whitney Curtis/Getty Images
Fitzgerald is a total class act, but the Niner Faithful couldn’t care less.
The perennially great receiver torched the 49ers for 149 yards, including a 46-yard TD pass in Arizona’s Week 14 win.
He’s just too damn good and only gives impetus to Cardinals smack-talk. These delusions of a division title have got to go.
Marshawn Lynch (RB, Seattle Seahawks)
Beast Mode killed what were multiple record-setting streaks at the end of last year.
Lynch crossed the end zone in a 100-yard effort during a near victory for the ‘Hawks in Week 16.
The 49er defense had not allowed a rushing touchdown since midway through the 2009 season. It also had prevented any running back from totaling 100 yards all season.
Cal Bear fans may find it tough digesting this selection. Purely 49er fans will have no such difficulty putting the hex on Skittles.
Kellen Clemens (QB, St. Louis Rams)
This backup quarterback had the audacity of scrambling into the end zone for a score in a meaningless end-of-the-season game.
Clemens’ rushing TD sullied an all-time 49ers defense by knocking it down to No. 2 in the NFL in points allowed.
He will not soon be forgiven for this despicable act.
The mean man Suggs won't see much action this year.
Larry French/Getty Images
Terrell Suggs (LB, Baltimore Ravens)
Suggs placed the first damper on the indelible 2011 season for the 49ers.
His three sacks contributed to a total of eight for the Ravens in the much-hyped Harbaugh Bowl on Thanksgiving night.
He helped Baltimore make the 49ers look just plain bad in front of a national audience.
At least 49ers fans can stare, point and laugh as Suggs sits on the sideline for most of 2012.
Nate Clements (CB, Cincinnati Bengals)
Roddy White embarrassed Clements and the 49ers when he stripped him on an interception return that would have sealed a victory back in 2010.
Instead, Atlanta drove back down the field and won the game. The 49ers dropped to 0-4.
Clements also crippled the franchise financially with one of the most absurd contracts in NFL history. Perhaps we should focus our anger towards 49ers management on this one.
Alex Smith (TE, Cleveland Browns)
This one’s simple:
The Niner fanbase and I will never get back the 1.7 seconds it takes every time to eliminate the rip-off Alex Smith from the results of our Pro Football Reference searches.
There can only be one Alex Smith. He plays quarterback for the 49ers.
Taylor Mays (S, Cincinnati Bengals)
I’m not sure if 49er fans hate or just feel bad for Taylor Mays.
A standout defensive back at USC, Mays has been a total bust at the NFL level.
He is a dismal reminder to fans of his former team of the years of ineptitude under head coach Mike Singletary.
Members of 49er front office still kick themselves for allowing his influence to enter the draft room. They can at least take solace in the fact that Mays (via trade) turned into a handsome draft pick later on.
Harris was often caught off balance.
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Kwame Harris (OT, formerly of Oakland Raiders)
Harris was one of a host of draft busts during the recent dark years for the 49ers.
He never earned his first-round draft status in any season of his NFL career.
I lump him with the Raiders because, well, 49ers and Raiders fans are less compatible than peanut butter and raw tuna.
Harris’ lackluster play and association with the Silver and Black deem him an abomination in the eyes of the Red and Gold. He deserves his own slide.
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