The First Time – NFL Edition

Sunday rolled around and The Good Man and I had something special on the agenda. We had a date with Candlestick Park and a dance with the San Francisco 49ers football team.

The Good Man had attended professional football games in the past, but I never had. I’ve spent much time inside Candlestick, but it was back in the late 90’s, watching my beloved San Francisco Giants get brutalized. The Giants moved to their new yard in 2000 and I hadn’t been to Candlestick since.

I wondered how the ‘Stick had held up over the past eleven years. The answer? About how you’d expect.

Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

Once upon a time I was a huge 49ers fan (going back to living in New Mexico where they were my team of choice). But over the past decade they kept stomping on my heart over and over, so I had to break up with them.

But this year…with their shiny 8-1 record…I might have been woo’d back to their side.

I think I’ve finally worked out my issues with this guy (that’s the long suffering quarterback, first round draft pick, Alex Smith).

Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

I gave up on him when I kept shouting at my television “THROW THE DAMN BALL ALREADY!!!” and he wouldn’t throw the ball. And then he’d get clobbered.

On Sunday, he threw the ball. Oh he threw it, indeed. And he ran it, and he handed it off and did everything a calm, cool quarterback should do.

Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

Oh, hello Kendall Hunter. Welcome to the end zone.

Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

This morning, the local sports radio show keeps talking about the amazing atmosphere at the ‘Stick on Sunday.

It was crazy.

Isn’t it always like that?

Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

For the non-baseball fans, I hear a lot of talk about how baseball is so slow, there’s waiting around, blah blah blah.

You know what? There is a lot of waiting around in football too.

Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

But there is an awful lot more blood in football. Yikes.

Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

I guess that tends to happen when your whole intent, play by play, is smashing into very large people. Our seats were great and I sure did see a lot of men crash into other men. Sometimes I had to close one eye and look away. That’s usually when the guys around me would shout “yeeeah!”

Boys. Hmph.

Photo by Karen Fayeth, Copyright 2011

Football is a crazy sport. A crazy, fun, outrageous, holy cow YEAH baby kind of sport.

In short…I loved it. Seeing it live was really something spectacular.

All photos by Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page.

Hey, Joe!

Been working some long days at the ol’ office this week, and it’s keeping me hopping.

Yesterday evening, I was asked to attend a corporate event in the place of my second level boss. He’s working even harder than I am right now, so I was happy to help him out.

This event was something of a schmoozy thing for a lot of corporate customers around the Bay Area.

Here’s where it gets interesting, this particular gathering was held at the San Francisco 49ers training facility down in Santa Clara.

Growing up in New Mexico with no professional sports teams affiliated with the state, we all adopted our teams from neighboring states. All the kids were either Denver or Dallas fans. Not so for me, I picked the 49ers early on as my team.

It was easy to be a 49ers fan back then. Joe Montana was the guy in charge and our chances of winning on any given Sunday were pretty darn good.

So yesterday I went to the training facility and walked out on the field and took my seat in the tent to sit through the corporate, work related stuff.

Blah blah this and blah blah that….and may we now introduce Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 49ers.

Well hey, that’s pretty cool. Harbaugh, fresh of Stanford’s win in the Orange Bowl, was just named head coach, so he’s got some media credibility.

Harbaugh did some motivational style speaking in the way only an old style football coach could. I mean heck, I was ready to hit the weight room and strap on the shoulder pads by the time he was done. Harrgggh!

But the finale of the night was the best. 49er helmets and footballs were given to a few attendees as prizes (I got a football) and then Joe Montana, Bay Area royalty, entered the room.

He gave a short talk about the company putting on the event, how great their product is, and then went to the back of the room for a meet and greet.

So, you know, here I am with my new friend Joe (he also signed my football).

Didja ever have a really bad day at work?

So there you are, doing your job. A job that you are actually really darn good at.

I mean, people *know* you are good. You’ve been recognized for your accomplishments.

And so you’ve been called again to take on that big project, that big customer, that big case.

You go about your business like a professional. You rally your support team. You create strategy. You execute on that strategy.

And then, for whatever reasons, the stars weren’t aligned right or someone failed to do their part or just gall durn bad luck, you make a mistake.

Not a huge mistake, but a mistake. It’s the kind of mistake you’ve made before on other deals, and this is a particular mistake you really hate to make. But ok.

This mistake feels worse because it is made on a really high profile project. Meaning more people know you goofed up and the effects have a lot more impact.

But it’s still a mistake.

You’ve made this mistake before and you and your group have recovered from it. It’s a mistake made by all of your peers in other companies at one time or another.

Everybody doing this job has made this mistake.

It is inevitable.

Mistakes happen.

We all make them.

Sometimes they have unintended consequences.

So this is what I was thinking, yesterday, as I listed to local sports radio station KNBR with their wrap up from the Super Bowl.

If you didn’t watch the game, I’ll fill you in. Peyton Manning threw for an interception in the fourth quarter that was returned over 70 yards for a touchdown by the New Orleans Saints.

Most say this was the nail in the coffin for football’s biggest game. That one play.

Callers to the radio station came pouring in to cry foul. To state, for the umpteenth time, that “Peyton choked!”

That he’s not the great quarterback that everyone thinks he is. That he blew it. That it’s all Peyton’s fault!

In a game that lasts four quarters at 15 minutes apiece with who knows how many individual plays, that one play was it, huh? That was the deciding moment?

I’d personally say it was the onside kick recovered by the Saints after the half that was the game changer. The momentum shifter.

There seem to be only a few comments about Colts Hank Baskett’s inexcusable case of brick hands in that moment. (Baskett, born and raised in Clovis, New Mexico. Our proud NM tradition continues on!)

But Hank isn’t the superstar. Hank isn’t the guy we built up to near god status so we can tear him down. His mistake is “just another day on the job.” But Peyton, oh Peyton.

He’s the villain.

Then when a dejected Manning walked off the field at the end of the game and didn’t shake anyone’s hands, now he’s a poor sport.

And apparently a loser and a jerk

And then there is this bit of conspiracy theory, that Peyton helped the NFL fix the game.

Hoo boy.

I guess I come down on the same side as the author of this article.

“One lousy throw is one lousy throw. It’s not a career-ender.”

Those of you who have never made a mistake on the job, raise your hands?

Didn’t think so.

(I figured a little Billy Joel imagery might be keeping in theme with The Who halftime show…you know, old dudes still rockin’? Plus there’s that whole “people who live in glass houses” thing….)


Oh fine. I did it. I watched the Super Bowl.

I’m not really a football fan. Baseball is where my heart is at.

But hey, there we were at football’s big show, the best of the season, right? So why not watch.

I’d only intended to watch the commercials, and to be honest, it started out that way. I was working in the back room, ignoring the game. I’d listen for the break and trot out there to see what was doing with the commercials.

Damn it all if those Saints didn’t pull me into the game. I started watching a few minutes here and there. But then Peyton and the Colts would dominate again, and I would wander to the back room.

Then there was halftime. That Who abomination. Ugh. I watched all of that. I mean, the Twitterverse was lit up with comments about the quite elderly rockers, so I paid attention. Time I won’t ever get back in my life…

Disgusted, I gave up once more and went back to my little office and back to writing.

Much better back there.

But then there was that onside kick after halftime. That did it.

I was in.

That, and The Good Man suggested we get some Amici’s delivered. Pizza does always make me docile and want to sit low on the couch. So I gave in.

Belly full of pizza and disinclined to move around much, I watched both game and commercials for the entire second half.

Then there was the interception heard ’round the world. I’ll be damned. This was actually a really good Super Bowl. Well ok!

In the final analysis, I suppose it was worth my time to give XLIV my attention.

However, the game was way, way better than the commercials this year.

Check out if you missed ’em. (Trust me, you didn’t miss anything.)

My brief commercial round up…

1. Too slappy (What is this NCIS show and *why* do they hit each other so much?)

2. Weird and unflattering use of little people (And isn’t Kiss even more aged than The Who?)

3. Too many tighty whities. Really, boys, if you aren’t going to wear pants, have the good grace to wear boxer briefs. I’m asking nicely.

Or is the emasculation of men the new “in” thing?

Rude, I say.

And so there you have it. My Sunday in a nutshell.

Onward to Monday, a day that began with stumbling out of bed and stepping into a puddle of a cat barf. Yay.

But thankfully, no tighty whities in sight.

(um, no)