One of California’s oldest independent business firms, McAvoy O’Hara Evergreen Mortuary, resides a block away from where I lay my head down at night.
To this day, it’s a funeral home that I occasionally work at, either as a pallbearer, or the dude who drives a van full of flowers to various cemeteries in the Bay Area. No joke.
I bring that up because they need to clear their calendars and hold a couple services for the professional football teams here in the Bay. Mark this down: Oct. 7, 2018. It’s the date professional football in this region died.
Sure, football fanatics like yours truly will tune in every week to watch the 1-4 San Francisco 49ers and 1-4 Oakland Raiders, but with the Golden State Warriors beginning their quest for a third straight championship next Tuesday night, it’ll be intriguing to see how the ratings will shake out for the rest of the season.
Unlike the 49ers, the Raiders don’t have an injury-ravaged roster. They have a slew of veterans and all of their playmakers on offense are healthy. Yet, they mustered up just 10 points against a struggling Los Angeles Chargers’ defense.
With all the hype surrounding head coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders not far removed from a memorable 2016 season — a 12-4 campaign that saw the franchise make the playoffs for the first time since 2002 — the silver and black look like a team heading towards a 6-10 season.
There are some in Raider Nation who have already checked out, with their interest level dwindling due to the franchise bolting for Las Vegas. But the slow start, combined with the mind-boggling trade of edge rusher Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears and firing of fan favorite Greg Papa, folks simply aren’t living and dying with every play.
Trading Mack was silly, but the 2019 and 2010 first-round picks they’ll receive from the Chicago Bears don’t look all that appealing, especially with the all-world edge rusher lifting the Bears to a 3-1 start.
Gruden has gutted the Raiders roster and basically killed any dream of competing for a championship in Oakland. Instead, the roster looks very much like one constructed to win in the franchise’s inaugural season in Vegas. This season is a rebuilding year for a team that won’t even be here when they’re built. The 2018 team is all but dead, as far as Oakland is concerned.
Although the 49ers’ season unofficially was over a couple Sunday’s ago in Kansas City when Jimmy Garoppolo’s ACL ripped apart in his left knee, I still didn’t believe they’d become one of the worst teams in pro football.
That changed Sunday. I thought I was witnessing a Week 3 preseason game. With Garoppolo and shifty running back Jerick McKinnon already lost, watching C.J. Beathard contribute four of the five turnovers against the hapless Arizona Cardinals was embarrassing as he helped lead the 49ers to their third straight loss.
Marquise Goodwin hasn’t been a factor at all. Pierre Garçon can’t separate from defensive backs. Rookie Dante Pettis has already been ruled out of their upcoming Monday night football game against the Green Bay Packers — absent for the second week in a row.
Unfortunately, the nation will have to endure watching this beat up roster try to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and company. The 49ers look so bad on paper, NBC has already decided to flex them out of their Sunday Night Football game against the L.A. Rams. You know, the game where the franchise will be unveiling 350-pound statues of Joe Montana and the late Dwight Clark that will be placed exactly 23 yards apart, commemorating The Catch in the 1981 NFC Championship.
I don’t blame NBC for not wanting to make a national television audience watch a team heading for a top-five pick. No shade, but it’s difficult to find another win on the schedule for the 49ers.
It’s sad that we’re already scouting prospects in college and searching to see who’ll be free agents this offseason. It’s unfortunate, but football in the Bay Area has suffered a fate worse than death in 2018: It’s become irrelevant.