The 49ers aren’t just 4-0.
They’re 4-0 with swag.
And by ‘swag’, I mean style, cool, panache, buzz, hipness.
(That definition was provided for those of us who went to look up ‘swag’ and found the much-more staid :
a curtain or piece of fabric fastened so as to hang in a drooping curve.”)
Yeah, the 49ers swag goes beyond “a piece of fabric fastened so as to hang in a drooping curve.”
The Monday Night win over Cleveland provided so many national talking points, the 49ers became the NFL’s cool kids almost overnight.
It wasn’t just that Nick Bosa played like Charles Haley on Monday Night — it’s that he also made national news with his trolling flag plant, a choreographed ballet that would have made former sack dancers like Neil Smith and Mark Gastineau proud.
It wasn’t just that George Kittle caught a TD from his best pal, Jimmy G — it’s that MNF featuring his pregame letters from his Dad, his postgame smile-fest with Stacy and Steve on the field, and allusions to his contagious love of pro wrestling made him into ‘West Coast Gronk’ for all the viewers.
It wasn’t just that Matt Breida went from a player only fantasy footballers knew into an 88-yard TD guy on the 49ers’ first play from scrimmage— it’s that he did so by running faster than any player in the StatCast era. Breida the Cheetah, right?
It wasn’t just that Richard Sherman built on his NFL-leading interception total since 2011 — it’s that he also gave explosive quotes afterwards, telling 49ers doubters to “stay idiots” and telling Mike Silver of NFL.com that Baker Mayfield didn’t shake his hand, causing HandShakeGate across America’s Twitterverse.
And it wasn’t just that Kyle Shanahan drew up a Mike Shanahan-style running attack and used so much misdirection that the Browns defense must have thought they were in Milpitas, not Santa Clara — it’s that he did so sporting his new red snap-back that kids all over the Bay immediately wanted as their own.
Heck, when handsome Jimmy Garoppolo is reduced to a sixth-string storyline, you know this 49ers team has an overdose of swag.
So what does it all mean?
It means that for the first time since the 49ers had khakis on the sideline, they are an “it” team. NFL cognoscenti, TV pundits, tweeters — they all have to pay attention to a team that, for the last five years, drew only scorn. Or, worse, total apathy. Now, the 49ers are front-burner.
There are only two unbeaten teams in the NFL, and one of them is total NFL royalty. The other is the 49ers, who have spent the last five years as the 31st-winningest team in the league, and used to be NFL royalty.
The 49ers arrived on Monday night — in the end zone, in Baker Mayfield’s nightmares, on your TVs and into the consciousness of a football-loving nation. It’s back to the future, sports fans.