With one simple utterance, delivered dryly, with a light comic touch; with a phrasing carrying so much import for the psyche of Bay Area sports fans, he ascended in the lore.
“Sorry about the scare,” Nick Bosa said, with an almost impish wit.
And zing went the strings of 49ers’ fans hearts.
Never has an obscenely wealthy 25-year-old kid seemed so endearing. It was dark on the tarmac Wednesday night when Bosa said it, shortly after disembarking from his private jet, so it was hard to make out, but it looked like he added a post-sack shoulder shrug to his now-iconic line.
“Sorry about the scare” meant so much more than four words.
It not only joined “Feels great, baby” and “Hey, H, check it out — John Candy” in all time great 49ers quotes, it symbolized all the angst and import and worry and weight 49ers fans felt about Bosa’s holdout.
Bosa’s 43-day absence from training camp turned into a referendum on Jed York, John Lynch, Paraag Marathe, Kyle Shanahan, the NFL, the 49ers’ legacy, Super Bowl dreams, greed, Bosa himself, the societal need for sacking quarterbacks and perhaps our own sanity at the same time.
When the holdout dragged into Wednesday morning, 49ers fans began to turn on each other, “Lord of the Flies”-style.
A faction was furious at 49ers management: how do you NOT sign the Defensive Player of the Year? How do you NOT seize this moment in time to make an honest run at a Super Bowl championship? Who do you think you guys are, the Farhan Zaidi-run Giants?
A faction began to turn on Bosa: how much do you really need? Tom Brady took less to have a better team around him, can’t you do the same? Don’t you want to sign what is surely a lucrative offer and play football with your teammates instead of sitting in your room in Florida?
A dark option emerged: Would Nick Bosa be traded? Suddenly, an anonymous Reddit post gained traction, and more ugliness festered.
In addition to the sniping, there began to be a depression. A season-opening loss at Pittsburgh began to seem like a reality without Bosa. Not only would his presence be missed, but the overall vibe of the team began to veer towards an unexpected malaise, a development covered in last week’s Jock Blog.
We had one caller, Tim from Manteca, who told us he was losing sleep over the Bosa holdout.
This is the NFL’s hold on our country, sports fans.
And then, in one Adam Schefter tweet, it was over.
Bosa was back. He got a monster, record-setting contract. And not one single 49ers fan begrudged him. In his four years with the Niners, Bosa proved to be one of the franchise’s greats. His discipline, his body, his team-first attitude week-in, week-out and — oh yeah — his God-given and gym-nurtured ability to drag QBs to the ground, earned him that capital.
Everyone rejoiced. Kyle smiled. John Lynch bro-hugged his compadres. Niners fans everywhere texted and tweeted feelings of great happiness. There was something essential about this kid that made everyone know how critical it was that he be a Niner for the foreseeable future.
And then he flew West, and charmingly dropped his line:
“Sorry about the scare,” he said.
It seemed to encapsulate so much: that Bosa knows we’re all in this together in this wacky NFL world, that Bosa couldn’t wait to get back, that Bosa knew he had his chance to make his money and would surely make his money, and that doing business for money sometimes requires a small apology to those he made wait.
We all accepted his apology. Nick Bosa seems to hold that special place in a Bay Area sports fan’s heart — where endearing charm and otherworldly talent happily collides, a realm occupied by Klay Thompson and Tim Lincecum. And Bosa.
And then Bosa, in his simple philosopher wisdom, added one more line: “Let’s go win some games.”
Millions of 49ers fans nodded along. The scare was over. It’s time for some sack-a-rooneys.