San Francisco 49ers: 5 Joys That I Miss from the 1994 Super Bowl-Winning Team
All this CBA talk has got me nervous.
No NFL? Are they nuts? The disappearing act of the NFL and all that goes with it (fantasy football, tail-gating, spectacular plays, trash-talk, touchdown celebrations, throwback jerseys, Jon Gruden commentary, Thursday night football, Saturday night football, Sunday night football, Monday night football, Superbowl) would make me very sad.
And feeling sad makes me miss the last time my San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl and the undeniable and unattainable feelings of warmth, love, and joy that comes with being a superfan of a super team.
So, to pass the time and override the negative and ugly side of contract negotiations, I present to you the 5 feelings of joy that I miss since the Red and Gold last hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy.
The Joy of Knowing the Best Quarterback to Wide Receiver Combo Was on the 49ers
Man do I miss the aerial, operatic football Steve Young and Jerry Rice provided.
We've been without a magical QB/WR duet since Young retired and Rice skipped across the Bay Bridge to the Raiders.
I don't know about you guys and gals but I feel like I've been living on a deserted island with an eternal supply of watered-down Zima, when before I was used to ice-cold delicious beer.
When something so good gets taken away from you, nothing can ever taste or feel the same again.
The days when Young and Rice would shatter and break records almost every game are long gone, and I definitely took it for granted as a kid. I'm not sure I'll ever see Hall of Fame, historic performances occurring on the same team at the same time ever again.
Here's hoping that the next Bay Bomber duo arrive soon. I was spoiled as a kid. I need beautiful football again!
The Joy of Dominating the NFC West
During this beautiful stretch of glory days, I can remember the complete annihilation of the old NFC West.
From the paper bags over Aints fans, the crushing of Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams quarterbacks, and the de-feathering of Falcons, this was a great time to watch a butt-kicking if you so wished.
The Panthers arrived in 1995 but they made life tricky for the Niners. We gave them Eric Davis, Wesley Walls, and George Seifert. I can see how they might stick it to us.
Nonetheless, I have happy memories of us blowing away our former whipping boys. The video stars Deion Sanders, and hey, he might not represent the 49ers in the truest sense, but this clip does represent how the 49ers treated their NFC West opponents in the 90's.
The Joy of Great Rivalries
49ers v Cowboys: Young vs Aikman. Rice vs Irvin. Brent Jones vs Jay Novacek. Emmit Smith. Ken Norton. Charles Haley. Deion Sanders. Championship football.
49ers v Packers: The hatred for Favre. The Lambeau Leap. The playoff bouts. The Catch II. The Adam Walker fumble. The Craig Newsome fumble recovery.
There's nothing like two powerful heavyweights duking it out for all the marbles. When the juggernauts of the NFL clash, the whole nation hears it.
When the 49ers and Cowboys met, you just knew the winner was going to win the Super Bowl.
When the 49ers played the Packers, the vileness and contempt I had for Brett Favre boiled my blood.
The NFC Championship victory against Dallas in the 1994 season and The Catch II vs Green Bay in the 98'-99' playoffs bode as two memorable and joyous moments ever for a 49er fan.
Sure, we lost plenty to both Green Bay and Dallas, in the playoffs as well as the regular season, but the point is this: at least the games were meaningful!
It's been too long since the 49ers have played in a game of extreme importance. The 90's rivalries we had with Dallas and Green Bay provided both heartbreak and glory.
When the Niners last hoisted the Lombardi trophy, there were only 28 teams. With the league mired in parity these days, we may never see two or three all-galaxy teams going at it year after year again.
So I'll take heartbreak any day. As long as it means the 49ers are relevant again.
The Joy of Funky Chicken, High-Steppin', and Punching Goal Posts
The 49ers were fun!
If I wasn't emulating Merton Hanks' funky chicken dance on the sandlot, I was high steppin' it after I made an interception like Prime Time or punching the air like Ken Norton did the field goal posts.
Heck, I'd even raise my hands above my head like Bar None William Floyd after a touchdown and scramble around like a headless chicken like Steve Young.
When I was really bored, I'd grab the ball and high-knee it for a few yards down the imaginary sideline before running out of bounds to avoid getting hit like Ricky Watters used to do.
I miss the days where I could emulate my heroes.
Do you really think I want to throw lame duck passes like Alex Smith, drop footballs like bricks like Michael Crabtree, miss blocks like Anthony Davis, or intercept passes then fumble them back to the other team like Nate Clements?
Do I really want to be pulling down my pants for motivation like Mike Singletary?
I want players who are fun and score and win and play the game with sizzle and spice. Call Deion out of retirement!
I'll even take Lee Woodall back. At least he looked like Evander Holyfield.
The Joy of Knowing We Were the First to Five Super Bowls
Plain and simple, it was a pleasure and prideful to know that we were the first to five Super Bowls. It gave us legendary status with our historic brand of football.
Sure the Cowboys reached five a year later, but we reached the milestone first.
And sure the Steelers now have six Super Bowls, (I still think Seattle got robbed by the refs in Super Bowl XL), but it doesn't feel the same to me.
More than likely because I'm a 49er fan, but there's something about the modern game that makes me covet the old-school style of football we still saw into the early 90's. I lend more validity to that era.
So what happens if the Niners win the Super Bowl this year? Next year? In a few years? Of course I'll celebrate.
I'm just going to have to make the distinction that it will be the dawn of a new era of 49er football, one distinctively different from the five we won before.
The new Niner championships will still be celebrated and adored by all us Niner faithful who yearn to reach football glory again, but I'll never forget the days when it felt like we were the envy of all.
The Joy of Golden Days
Well whether it's Lee Woodall or Evander Holyfield, John Taylor, Roy Barker, Gary Plummer, Tim McDonald, Doug Brien, Dexter Carter, Eddie Debartolo, or Carmen Policy, there were many memorable faces and names from this time.
I was lucky to experience a Super Bowl victory in an utterly brilliant display and will always be one of the greatest memories I have.
The 49ers have been bad for so long that at least I can go to sleep happy with the haunting quote from the scrappy Steve Young, "Someone take the monkey off my back! Someone take the monkey off my back!......"