Man, I love this new NFL nine-game season.
You do know the 49ers just started their season last Monday night in the bonanza of Deebo-fueled goodness against the Rams, right?
They’re 1-0, baby.
Everyone’s all weirded out by the 17-game slate. Admittedly, so am I. And I’m old enough to remember the 14-game schedule. Shout out AstroTurf at Candlestick Park, kids.
Who does the NFL think it is, “The Sound of Music” lyricists? Because the schedule is 16 . . . going on 17.
The Jock Blog, where ancient 20th-century musicals still live.
The 49ers chose a unique way to combat the 17-game weirdness. They futzed around for eight games, made us question their methodology, wonder about their functionality and puzzle over their purpose.
Then, Monday night.
A brand new season.
In a funny twist, this weird new 17-game slate has given the 49ers that extra game of life they needed. See, being 4-5 now means you have *eight* games to make a run. That’s a significant amount of games — particularly when the foes include Jacksonville, Minnesota, Houston and Atlanta. (Dare I include the game at Seattle in the friendly schedule? I don’t want to awaken the ghost of Marshawn Lynch. Shhhh.)
See, in case you were sleeping when the NFL did this expand-o-rama, taking regular season games into the second week of January (!!), they added a seventh playoff spot. So the 49ers, at 4-5, are actually now tied in the loss column for the final NFC playoff spot.
And as we baseball pennant race lovers know the AILC — All Important Loss Column — is all that matters. It means the 49ers control their destiny to at least stay tied for that spot.
It means the 49ers can make a run, and make the playoffs. It means when you saw the Atlanta Falcons lose Thursday night to New England — and let’s make Mac Jones a totally different Jock Blog, shall we? — it actually was relevant to the 49ers. Atlanta fell to 4-6. They’re now looking up at the San Francisco Deebos.
It means you are now scoreboard-watching the 5-5 Carolina Panthers, 4-5 Minnesota Vikings and even the 5-4 New Orleans Saints like they’re all the collective Los Angeles Dodgers.
This is all, in a word, bonkers.
Going into the Rams game, we questioned, in no particular order: Kyle Shanahan’s future with the team; John Lynch and his staff’s ability to draft; the lack of “dogs” in the locker room; and why Trey Lance was radioactive, and never touching a football.
Could you blame us, or anyone? The 49ers’ performance against Colt McCoy and the Cardinals was so nauseatingly unappealing, you had to wonder what stench was permeating 4949 Centennial Drive. Something appeared rotten in the state of Santa Clara.
And then, Monday night vs. the Rams. Jimmie Ward. Deebo. Dan Brunskill. Elijah Mitchell. George Kittle. Azeez Al-Shaair. Nick Bosa. Jimmy Garoppolo. And, yes, Kyle.
They play the games for a reason. You get a chance to change your season’s story every week. All credit to the 49ers for doing so. They roused the fan base. Levi’s Stadium, dormant for a year, roared.
It was a hell of a season opener. Now, let’s see how they handle Week 2 in Jacksonville. Pass the popcorn.