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Murph: Expectations treat 49ers, Warriors differently



We joked about it this morning on the air, but there was a grain of truth:

When was the last time in the court of Bay Area sporting public opinion that the 49ers’ stock ticked higher than the Warriors stock?

Because after the Warriors heard ‘MVP’ chants for Boston’s Isiah Thomas in their own gym, and after the 49ers added a quarterback, two wide receivers, a fullback and a linebacker on the first day of free agency, the two teams’ stock profiles went in different directions.

This comes with asterisks, of course.

The Warriors are two years removed from an NBA championship; the 49ers are 23 years removed from a Super Bowl championship. The Warriors stand a very good chance of making their third consecutive NBA Finals; the 49ers would hold a parade if they won three games in a row this season.

That said, public opinion and expectations can be a toxic mix for franchises when breaks go against them; conversely, expectations can work very much in your favor, if you set them low enough, as I was just saying to the guy who writes Congressional addresses for presidents in D.C.

Bottom line: The Warriors’ championship-or-bust mentality has created a high-wire act in our minds, and when Kevin Durant is in a space-age knee brace and the Boston Celtics are dominating the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena, brows start to sweat.

Conversely, when everyone in the free world was convinced Jed York and Paraag Marathe would fumble every last bit of their General Manager/Head Coach hire, the sheen of the John Lynch/Kyle Shanahan combo and the ensuing opening of purse strings in free agency has created the most positive feelings in the minds of 49ers fans since Colin Kaepernick dropped back to pass on 1st-and-10 from the Seattle 18-yard line with 30 seconds to go in the NFC Championship on Jan. 19, 2014.

Yeah, I went there.

(By the way, January, 2014? That’s only three years ago. Doesn’t it feel like three 49ers lifetimes ago?)

Obviously, the Warriors season will be judged by the presence, or lack thereof, of a parade. If there’s a parade, bueno. If there’s no parade, no bueno. And both opportunities exist, given the uncertainty of Durant’s knee, and the uncertainty of what the road will look like as a No. 2 seed, and the uncertainty of what can happen if the Dubs get a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Yeah, I went there.

But for the 49ers, the idea of Brian Hoyer coming to quarterback the team has actually induced some positive feelings. Yes, the same Brian Hoyer who is on his seventh NFL team and boasts a career completion percentage of 59.5%. For the record, Colin Kaepernick’s career completion percentage is 59.8%.

Yeah, I went there.

Hoyer played well in Chicago and perhaps more important, the idea of Hoyer holding a desire to play for Shanahan makes the 49ers seem desirable. The ongoing reports that Kirk Cousins is nearly begging to come to Santa Clara makes the 49ers seem even more desirable. And longtime 49er Joe Staley rode the wave of positivity and tweeted out: “Excitement around the franchise is high. Be a part of it!”

Man, when 49ers veterans are tweeting out infomercial-esque upbeat slogans, you know things have changed.

So while the Warriors stew about losing three of their last five, and while callers, texters and tweeters rage in discontent, the 49ers are cruising around the South Bay, top down on the convertible, honking and waving at pedestrians. Jed York is even making reservations in his own name again at restaurants in the 408.

Expectations. The damnedest thing.