Before games are ever played, all 32 NFL fanbases carry some optimism into the season. That optimism can come to a screeching halt with a slow start, injuries and poor showings in the preseason.
In practice last week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had what was likely one of the most forgettable moments in his football career. On five straight dropbacks, Tom Brady’s former backup threw the ball into the hands of his teammates.
There was just one problem: those teammates were on defense.
Things didn’t get any better on Monday night when the 49ers played the Denver Broncos. Garoppolo was in the game for 11 snaps. On his second pass attempt, he was intercepted by Issac Yiadom. Over six attempts, he completed just one — for no gain. Garoppolo’s passer rating for the game was 0.0.
The early returns on Garoppolo have been shaky at best. Before a real game has been played, his poor execution — combined with a string of unlucky injuries — has brought fear of an underwhelming season to the Bay Area.
On Saturday, the 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs for what we should all hope is the last time this season; the only scenario in which these two teams could see each other again would be if they met in the Super Bowl.
Chiefs fans should be rooting for the exact opposite. They should be rooting for an absolute dumpster fire in San Francisco.
As you’ll remember, during the offseason the Chiefs sent EDGE Dee Ford out west for the 49ers’ second-round draft pick in 2020. Shortly after that — now holding two second-round selections — the Chiefs gave up the worst of those two as part of the package to acquire Frank Clark from the Seattle Seahawks.
If the Chiefs meet their expectations, their own second-round pick will be the last one in the round; Seattle will be picking 64th.
But the Chiefs will still hold the 49ers’ second-round pick. A miserable season in San Francisco could have Kansas City picking as high as 33rd.
Chiefs fans first, 33ers fans second
Shortly after the Clark trade was announced, a movement was born (a big thank you to AP reader Todd Lutz).
@ArrowheadPride @kent_swanson @barleyhop #chiefs Here you go boys!!! pic.twitter.com/ClZ8RnKbk6— Todd Lutz (@chieflutz11) May 9, 2019
Since the Chiefs’ draft capital depends on the fate of the 49ers’ season, Chiefs fans should root for their team first — and be 33ers fans second. By actively rooting for a winless season in San Francisco, Chiefs fans can help the their team draft 32nd and 33rd in the 2020 NFL Draft.
It’s a lofty goal.
It’s unlikely the 49ers can hold their end of the bargain — but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for it.
Let’s lay a few ground rules:
What you CAN’T root for
The movement isn’t about actively rooting for a string of injuries to fall on the 49ers. That’s no fun.
49ers’ HC Kyle Shanahan said CB Jason Verrett also has a significant ankle injury and will be on the same timeline as Nick Bosa; Verrett is out for the preseason, with the hope he possibly can return in Week 1.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 8, 2019
I don’t want to have to go full Eric Winston on someone who is bringing injury cheers into Twitter mentions. This about the 49ers earning that draft position.
What you CAN root for
I’m all for cheering for bad football in San Francisco. This is bad football.
Jimmy Garoppolo TIME is TICKING for da 49ers ⏳ #SFvsDEN pic.twitter.com/xjhe9A6J2L— TheBigPotato (@The_BigPotato) August 20, 2019
The 49ers play in a very tough division with the Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams. Those four division games set a higher floor for the pick. A hiccup against in either game (or both games) against their division foes the Arizona Cardinals would be just delightful, too.
July 21, 2019
So rooting for poor on-field performance? Have at it. How about bad stuff off the field? Some of that will qualify, too. Like this:
49ers GM John Lynch denies reported feud with head coach Kyle Shanahan @957thegame pic.twitter.com/IE95UnOxl1— RADIO.COM Sports (@RDCSports) May 6, 2019
Let’s go 33ers!
Remember: in 2019, the Chiefs missed out on a couple of cornerbacks they coveted; Rock Ya-Sin and Byron Murphy were selected in the early 30s of the draft. If a similar situation presents itself in 2020, a bad 49ers season would significantly help the Chiefs.
Of course... if Chiefs general manager Brett Veach trades the 49ers second-round pick in the middle of the season, this could all be for naught. But until then, let’s root for bad football in San Francisco!
At a bare minimum, I hope we’re sub-49ers fans this year.
But it’s the preseason; it’s the time for optimism.