Public Comment

Just Desserts

Phil Allen
Thursday December 31, 2015 - 04:03:00 PM

Could it be that the recent misfortunes of our local NFL teams reflect a territorial gloom their gold-counting concerns seem unaware of, except during public-relations stunts? 

Consider the Forty Niners. I've been sorting through some 20-year-old videos--now that I found a machine to play them on--of that team in its waning glory years. Steve Young/Jerry Rice pretty much tells the tale. What struck me about that franchise at that time was how its legacy grew apace with that of Silicon Valley, including associations with goddam Stanford. (Bill Walsh, the head coach who orchestrated the team's dynastic rise, was hired from the Cardinal; Superbowl 19--excuse me, that's XIX--was played in its stadium.) Both the intelligence industry and the Niners seemed unstoppable. Watching this wine-and-cheese team, with TV commentary from Republican-sounding Pat Summerall and Demo doughboy John Madden, was like polishing gold nuggets. Is it too much to compare their teams of late with the arrival, also geographically-proximate, of social-networking firms? The latter are sharply run, but their product tends toward an isolating as well as a gathering influence. Long gone is the warm hands-on involvement of owner Eddie de Bartolo; he's was succeeded by shy functionarial relatives. As for the current players, try to pick a hero. Who, then, could have seen the result? A boiling-over crowd of nouveaux tres riches, suitably housed, seeing a second-rate club from a skybox. And the relation between ticket prices and rental prices? 

And the Raiders.. few teams in sports are as closely identified with their towns, and its gritty fans, hereinafter called "(the) pawns". Theirs is a story of abandonment by reason of vanity. These fearsome mercenaries fled to the desert, and an awkward fan base, only to return home to grand concessions for its conquering-hero owner. Now, they're about to split again, and just as they return to form. The fans are betrayed twice, but that Raiders part of city/county taxpayers' bills will be round awhile. And, as goes the team will go many fans, as untenable costs-of-living--particularly rents--will drive them to some other desert. 

And yet, the tickets sell. Pass the bread.