They are the NBA’s mystery team, led by a coach who never has coached, constructed upon two guards with divergent problems, and opening with games that may get them in headlines and perhaps into a hole from which the Warriors can’t escape.
Their past is haunting, 16 seasons of the past 17 unable to make the playoffs. Their future is promising, if the words of Mark Jackson — a man of many words as a TV commentator before switching jobs — are to be believed.
“The culture’s got to change,” Jackson said when named coach in June, “and I’m excited about changing the culture.” Read More
The Raiders had the game, and then they didn’t.
“We let it slip,” Raiders safety Tyvon Branch said.
They had the game, then the Detroit Lions had it.
“We can’t finish,” said Oakland coach Hue Jackson. “To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.”
They had the game, and then they had another defeat on their record, now 7-7. “A team went 98 yards against us,” Jackson said. “We didn’t make a play.” Read More
Jim Harbaugh was talking about criticism, conceding when the 49ers lose, there will be second-guessing.
“The whys for what happened,” he calls it. The worry is not what happened, but what didn’t happen, with the 49ers unable to get a victory.
“They’re the hunted now,” Harbaugh said of his Niners, after winning the division, surprising everyone — except maybe the Niners themselves — and compiling a record tied for second-best in the NFL.
The hunted, and seeking explanations, looking not so much for excuses, but reasons. Read More
The question arose again on an afternoon when the Niners once more had trouble scoring touchdowns and the Raiders simply had trouble playing football: What if San Francisco had selected Aaron Rodgers with the first pick in the 2005 NFL draft?Growing up in Chico, playing for Cal — where he once completed 23 straight passes against USC — Rodgers was a 49er fan. That the 49ers — specifically coach Mike Nolan — chose Alex Smith and Rodgers slipped to 24th, taken by Green Bay, always may haunt San Francisco. Read More
So the Niners are less than perfect in the red zone, which is football newspeak to describe when a team is within the opponent’s 20-yard line. And they rank 24th in the NFL in offense. Yet, only one team has a better record, so what’s the problem?
That they get field goals instead of touchdowns? When the other team doesn’t score, as the St. Louis Rams didn’t score Sunday, at the moment, that’s only a trifle. Now when they face the Packers ... Read More
The promises are out there, from a chain of command which seems very commanding, from a new head coach who acts very demanding.
This is the season, we are told, when fans of the Warriors, the most persistent, most loyal fans in sports, receive their payback.
Sixteen years out of 17, the Warriors have missed the playoffs, but still the people came, packing Oracle Arena.
“There’s no question we have as good support as any team in the NBA,” said Larry Riley, the general manager. Read More
He was wearing a 49ers hat the other day, to which you would say, of course. But Alex Smith more often is seen in a Giants hat. Or on occasion, as a salute to his first love, a team of which he always will be a fan, the San Diego Padres.
“I’ve always worn something,” he said about his personal preference. Read More
The NFL season the Bay Area wondered if they would ever see has arrived.The gloom has been lifted. The joy has returned. The playoffs are certain for the Niners, probable for the Raiders. Read More
The blend is unusual in pro football, excitement and candor. Hue Jackson doesn’t stop believing. Or demanding.
When you wait half a lifetime to become a head coach, you look at things differently, and even when the score is wrong, approvingly.
Jackson isn’t the only reason the Raiders have moved out of the darkness, eight consecutive seasons of losing. Players win, as any coach will tell you, but Jackson, 46, helped change the culture. Read More
This Andrew Luck kid from Stanford? Just diplomatic enough to keep the coach happy. Just candid enough to keep the alumni ecstatic.
“We definitely respect Cal,” said Luck, discussing Saturday night’s Big Game at Stanford, “and I think they respect us. But it doesn’t mean we have to like each other.”
Which is the reason most of us have to like the Big Game, even when it isn’t a big game, and this year it’s an “if only Oregon weren’t in the Pac-12” sort of game. Read More
For this week’s “Game of the Century,” you are presented a team with the longest major college football winning streak in the land, the Heisman Trophy favorite and the early morning arrival of that “look at me, Ma” presentation, ESPN’s “GameDay.”
Yes, as the Stanford band plays, it’s all right now.
Only 4½ years ago, however, it was all wrong. Read More
He doesn’t look back. Jay Don Blake doesn’t wonder how he could have changed the past — ask himself if he would have been a star if he hadn’t been so stubborn, ignored the doctors’ advice, paid more attention to what was in his head, not his heart.
Blake on Sunday won the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup, at least the single-event section, in the chill and wind at TPC Harding Park on San Francisco’s mysterious southwestern edge. Read More
He’s 5,000 miles away in Singapore. Even if he were home in America, the Champions Tour, with its season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship underway at TPC Harding Park, is not where Tiger Woods would be competing.
Yet, for better or worse, no matter where, no matter when, Tiger seemingly is the only one who counts in golf.
Even during a tournament for seniors, or if you will Champions. Read More
The journey is what distinguishes Tom Lehman, no less than the journey’s destination, and the destination at which he arrived after years of struggle and doubt is a place among golf’s best, and surely golf’s most persistent.
The journey took him across America and across the sea.
It took him through disappointment (five failures at qualifying school), and through disrespect (he was expected to rent cross-country skis at a course where he sought a club job). Read More
He was a golfer good enough to finish second in the Masters. A golfer perplexed enough to give up the game to become an insurance salesman. A golfer persistent enough to rework the swing which had defeated him.
Chip Beck was the second person to shoot 59 in a PGA Tour event — indeed, he could play. He probably wasn’t the first to find he couldn’t drive a ball straight off the tee, and that flaw drove him out of golf and into the so-called real world of 7:24 a.m. commutes and office hours. Read More