October 2nd, 2016 was an absolutely beautiful day in the Forty Niners’ new home city. A few drops of rain came down, but this was a perfect opportunity to get a lot of sun.
Based on how many fans were wearing navy blue and silver, it felt more like a Cowboys home game. The optimism shared between Dallas fans about their up-and-coming rookie phenom, Dak Prescott, was the opposite of the muted pessimism felt among the “Faithful.”
We kept our tailgate low-key and had it catered by a nearby Togo’s. The bathroom there didn’t have a lock, so I dropped deuce faster than I ever have in my life. I clocked it at a minute forty nine seconds and owe it all to the dried fruits and veggies I had on Saturday.
Before the game, our conversation kept veering towards the Ryder Cup because my parents are huge golf fans. I thought they were discussing the sailing competition we have here in the San Francisco Bay Area, sponsored by Oracle. Nope, turns out the British are still butthurt about the American Revolution so they decided to change golf to a team sport and challenge us.
As far as the game goes, it was close and entertaining. The Niners jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter with two touchdowns. Every time they got a first down, male Niners fans with a BAC above .08 acted like Spartans from 300 and did the “HAAA–OOOOOH, HAAA-OOOOOOH.” It was just a coincidence they only got 300 yards in total offense.
Things turned around quickly in the second quarter after a “bullshit” roughing penalty that gave the Cowboys a clutch first down into Santa Clara territory.
By the third quarter, Dallas looked in control. Cowboys fans began doing their own completely-out-of-sync Spartan impression for every first down. A demoralized Niners fanbase initially found it humorous but became silently irritated. They had to stomach Blaine Gabbert go full mediocre, like a warm, stale beer, running some of the most unimaginative play-calling this nosebleed-seats reporter has ever seen.
I had to ask a Niners fan, “Do you call him Gabbert like Q-Bert or Gabbert like Steven Colbert from the Colbert Report?”
“Dunno, man. I think it’s Gabbert like Bert and Ernie. Frankly, I wish they’d call him “Released by the Niners.”
Up in Section 418, my father took it upon himself to announce to everyone that the United States had won the Ryder Cup. Not many people cared, but no more than a minute later it was displayed on the Jumbotron. Then, doing his patriotic duty, my dad started a rousing “USA USA USA” chant that gained some steam and lasted longer than most of Santa Clara’s offensive drives.
At this point, I figured out that this woman with a Dez Bryant jersey sitting in front of me was sitting in the center of what looked to be 10 – 15 friends spread out, almost in a circle from her, throughout our Section. For whatever reason, they couldn’t get seats next to each other but made an attempt at the Guinness World Records for awkward, long-distance high fives.
The Cowboys would tie it up and eventually go up 21 – 17.
Before Dan Bailey put Dallas up a full seven points with a field goal, Blaine Gabbert found an open receiver downfield who seemed so transfixed by the goal post that he never saw the ball until it was over his head and in the arms of the lucky Dallas cornerback he blew past.
It was probably the best game I’ve ever seen in my life. Or at least as special as the overtime victory by a Drew Bledsoe-led Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick less than a decade ago.