Before the season, I sure thought the NFL made the right decision in placing the Battle of the Bay between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers on primetime in Week 9.
I didn’t want to see these teams tangle in Week 1. Nope, I wanted this game to marinate for a bit, hoping both teams could catch their stride and provide fireworks in one of the final editions of the Bay Area rivalry.
Instead, the loser of this extravaganza will have the inside track for the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. A raft of injuries and a mind-boggling trade that happened a week before the season have turned this game into the Nick Bosa Bowl, which is something I certainly didn’t see coming.
Let’s start with this tweet from my guy Josh Dubow of the Associated Press:
“There have been 97 seasons since the merger going into this year with two teams in one market. The worst combined winning percentage in any of those years was .219 for the Bay Area in 2004 when the Raiders went 5-11 and 49ers went 2-14. Oakland and San Francisco are at .133 so far this season.”
Yes, it’s bad, and for the third time in the last four meetings, we have a matchup in which both teams will take the field with two combined wins. Not to be mistaken for Johnny Gill, but my, my, my, how did these football teams become so incompetent?
Let’s start with the 49ers. The Jerick McKinnon injury eight days before the season hurt, but there’s no doubt the Jimmy Garoppolo injury back on Sept. 23 against the Kansas City Chiefs was the backbreaker. That torn ACL in his left knee has brought the franchise back to square one.
The 49ers may actually be worse than they were around this time a season ago. C.J. Beathard in his second season has regressed, and I’m being kind. Not sure if you can even call him serviceable at this point.
Not only are the 49ers unwatchable, but outside of George Kittle, Mike McGlinchey, DeForest Buckner, Fred Warner and, of course, Garoppolo, they don’t have much to build around.
Joe Staley and Richard Sherman are two veterans that are good for a locker room that’s suffered a lot of losing the past two seasons. The coaching staff could use an experienced voice as well. Without Garoppolo, Shanahan is a whopping 1-15 as the head coach of the 49ers. Not ideal.
At some point, the excuses of injuries and inexperience will fall on deaf ears. With only five picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, the 49ers definitely need to spend in the offseason. Top to bottom, this may be the least talented team in the NFL.
However, at least there is not even a hint of dysfunction, something the Raiders facility reeks reeks of.
With the Khalil Mack trade, and head coach Jon Gruden spewing nonsense to the Raider Nation, and players’ tweeting messages about their standing with the team, many folks just want the Raiders to move. Like, now. What’s the point anymore?
One minute Gruden is chirping about being competitive, and how they’re trying to win. The next , he’s discussing how excited he is about having five first-round picks over the next two NFL Drafts.
Great. Whoopie-doo! You’ll have a winner when ya get to Vegas! Which. Helps. Nobody. In. The. Bay!
Seriously, given Gruden’s track record with draft picks, there is no guarantee the Raiders strike gold. It’s a crap shoot.
Meanwhile, because of injuries to Beathard and Garoppolo, San Francisco may have to start an undrafted free agent who spent last year on their practice squad. It’s really sad what has happened to both teams this season.
The buzz and hype in the offseason have all but dissipated. For the third straight season, the 49ers have started 1-7. The Raiders will miss the playoffs again, and will still have just one playoff appearance since 2002.
The Toilet Bowl, Bosa Bowl — whatever you want to call it — is the bowl we didn’t want. It may take a fifth of Hennessey to get through it, but hey, at least we have one more.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.