How did we get from hand-wringing panic heading into Sunday’s game in New England to hang-wringing panic in the wake of an epic upset?
By falling into the all-too-easy trap that is being a 49ers fan.
We’re never gonna make it. … We’re all gonna die. … Look at all of these new problems to worry about!
It’s been this way since back in the glory days of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Steve Young, Bill Walsh, George Seifert and Eddie D. Just when you start to feel like you own the world, a creeping sense of dread takes over.
It certainly has something to do with human nature. As the world has grown more complicated, with negative media messages raining down upon our collective psyche, we’ve almost become numb to sheer ecstasy.
Our sense of accomplishment, contentment and joy have been muted. Stolen, in a sense. We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and if David Akers happens to be wearing that shoe?
Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.
Thus, a little more than a year since Jim Harbaugh almost single-handedly lifted the 49ers out of the morass of the Mooch-T.O.-J.T. Sullivan-Alex Smith-Coach Sing era, we’ve quickly become spoiled in a way that surpasses even the sense of entitlement that came with watching Joe and the gang, not to mention Ricky Watters, Neon Deion Sanders, Brent Jones and Body Rocker Haley.
Colin Kaepernick lit up the Patriots on the biggest stage of his life, in the rain, on the road, against a team that hadn’t lost at home in December since forever.
Yeah, but what about that center exchange?
It’s sad. As Bay Area sports fans, Niners fans or not, we should have nothing short of awe at what this team has pulled off over the past 18 months. It’s a comeback story for the ages, with brilliant back stories everywhere you look.
Patrick Willis might be the best linebacker in football, and he started from humble beginnings. The guy who plays linebacker next to him might even be better.
Aldon Smith is a force and freak of nature, likely to set the NFL’s single-season sacks record. And yet a guy playing on the same line of scrimmage, with the same last name, might be even better.
And as all that’s going down, there goes Frank Gore, banging, banging and banging, keeping his head down, his mouth shut and opponents on their asses. Ditto Vernon Davis, in one way or another.
So can everyone just relax for a couple of days? Wait until, say, Friday to start getting all worked up about Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. They’re not going anywhere.
But this feeling of power and strength born of watching the 49ers go into New England and do what very few people gave them a realistic shot at doing?
It’s already fading. So hang onto it for a little bit longer. Savor it.
After all, we’re all gonna die. Might as well enjoy what we can, when we can.
Mychael Urban has covered Bay Area sports for more than 22 years as a contributor to Comcast SportsNet, CSNBayArea.com, KNBR, MLB.com, ESPN The Magazine and various newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.