Posts Tagged ‘49ers’

Yes the queues were massive, and after watching a highlight of Steve Young picking apart the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX I was not exactly thrilled about only seeing on team’s Hall of Fame exhibits.

The Wembley Stadium car park became the 49ers Hall of Fame for a day

Waiting in a soggy car park at Wembley Stadium with my gorgeous wife was hardly the NFL dream, but for football memorabilia geeks like me it was worth it to see the shirt Steve Young wore in his only Super Bowl win, as well as the actual shirt that Terrell Owens wore when he caught an NFL record (at the time) 20 passes in a single game.

 

Owen's shirt from his 20 catch game against the Bears

Here is the sign by Terrell Owens shirt

Yes 81 is my favourite number - its the one Art Monk wore. Wonder if Terrell Owens chose 81 because he admired Mr Monk?

Much to my wife's shame I got an NFL football temporary tattoo on my cheek whilst in the queue

 

Have to admit I’m a sucker for an NFL legend. Spotting Jerry Rice at the Wembley NFL game was special, so to see his team-mate Roger Craig about 5 metres away from me was just as much fun.

I remember that the former 49ers running back used to paint ‘power pyramids’ on his ankles to give him mystical powers. Hell they must have worked as he won three Super Bowl rings, was in the NFL team of the Eighties, and most impressively was the first player in NFL history to run and catch for 1,000 yards in a season.

Roger Roger give us a wave !

Roger Craig and former Eagles fullback Cecil Martin get ready to bump fists at Wembley 31 Oct 2010

Under the helmet you will find 3 time Super Bowl winner Roger Craig

A relic from the 1980s - this tiled wall on Wembley Way makes me smile every time

Despite the gloomy grey clouds and typical drizzle the walk up Wembley way is always fun.

Aside from the swathes of ticket touts and people selling godawful fake NFL scarves it was a smooth walk up to the 49ers tailgate party.

Was good to see fans from all over the UK wearing their favourite NFL team shirts, as well as seeing some dedicated fans who has dressed up for Halloween. I swear I saw Captain America !

As usual the merchandise was grossly over priced, but I could not resist a program.

Program cost £10.00 however the 49ers flag was free

Every NFL trip starts with a hearty breakfast

If memory serves me right the last time the 49ers came and played in London, England was in a rather awful pre-season game in 1992 against the Washington Redskins.

Lets say I was hoping for more this time around, with starters like Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree playing on the first as well as the last series of the game.

The Halloween journey to Wembley was pretty eventful, with a pheasant trying to commit suicide by hitting my wife’s car on the M40.

After overcoming that fright-fest we arrived at Hillingdon tube station and I had the pleasure of meeting former First Down editor and current NFLUK writer Keithe Webster.

Keith was very gracious, talking to me for a good five minutes. We had a good chat about the survival of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Keith told me he read a comment I added to an article he wrote about the future of the NFL in England.

The tube journey after that was quick, and soon we were at the Wembley Park station. Cue the obligatory shot…..

Yes it is a cliche but it has to be done !

Because you're 'Gore'geous - the tickets arrived today !

Phew! They have arrived in our house, two pieces of thin card that bring a huge smile to my chubby face.

Yes my two tickets for the San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos are here and on my coffee table.

Despite both teams travelling to a different continent to play their week 8 game, it is billed as a 49ers home game.

With that in mind I was delighted to see 49ers workhorse running-back Frank Gore as the ticket star.

I had a bad feeling that 49ers quarterback, and the man that will cost Mike Singletary his job, Alex Smith would be on the tickets.

Gore is one of the hardest working running backs in the NFL, a player who plays with passion, guts and a nose for the endzone.

The former Miami Hurricane has only managed one season without injury since he was drafted in 2005, but despite that he has amassed 6,032 rushing yards (at an impressive 4.7 yards per run) and 2,115 receiving yards, resulting in 42 touchdowns.

In six games so far this season Gore has only managed three total touchdowns. This is not Frank’s fault, it is Alex ‘millstone’ Smith who has crippled the 49ers offensive production.

With under two weeks until I get to see Gore in the flesh, I only hope the man handing him the ball is not a former #1 pick in the NFL draft (and yes that includes you David Carr!).

 

Alex Smith is facing splinters quite soon

The second coming of 49ers QB Alex Smith has NFL fans around the world about as excited as opening a gas bill.

With just two weeks to go until the 49ers make the longest regular season road trip in their history I have to confess I am not exactly feeling like  ‘a six year old on Christmas Day’.

This was supposed to be a team that would ‘hit people in the mouth’ en-route to a division winning record of 11-5 or 12-4.

Instead we have a team that is falling apart at the seams, boasting a giant goose egg in the win column. The evidence for a wasted season is mounting up.

  • Head coach Mike Singletary has said in public that there is a ‘rat’ in the organisation
  • Veteran safety Mike Lewis asked for his release, and it was granted
  • Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye was sacked
  • After 5 weeks the team ranks 31st out of 32 in scoring offence, and 30th in rushing yards

Eight offensive touchdowns in five NFL games is hardly the stuff that Roger Goodell would have imagined when he signed off the agreement for the 49ers to come and play at Wembley on Halloween.

Unless the 49ers can somehow start a miracle run against their local rivals the Oakland Raiders on Sunday then all the fans coming to Wembley will witness a Halloween trick of the most ghoulish proportions.

I had a response to my blog on the NFLUK forum making specific reference to former Charger QB Stan Humphries – who is by no means the most famous Chargers QB, but was the only one to take San Diego to a Superbowl (Superbowl XXIX or 29 to those non Romans).

This is further than the Chargers most legendary quarterback, the bearded wizard and Hall of Fame inductee Dan Fouts.

Stan Humpries was originally drafted by the then Superbowl holders the Washington Redskins in the 6th round, in what has to be one of the worst crop of rookie quarterbacks in NFL history. From the QB Class of ’95 Only Chris Chandler managed a half decent NFL career, providing you dont include Tom Tupa, who bizarrely went on to find more fame as a punter than a passer.

Stan rode the pine as a Skin in 1988 not even registering a 4th quarter blowout kneel, and in 1989 he didn’t fair much better, completing 5 of 10 passes and getting sacked 3 times. In that limited game time he did however manage his first NFL td in a loss to the Raiders – a 14 yarder – to one of the Posse of Redskins wideoutsRicky Sanders.

By 1990 the Stan Humpries story was looming ominously towards obscurity as a Redskin backup, with 5 starts but an awful 3tds to 10 ints ratio, and a lowly 57.5 rating. 1991 got even worse as Stan didn’t even suit up.

Despite a career that was heading nowhere fast the San Diego Chargers took a gamble on Stan, and rescued him from the Redskins, andover the next six seasons in California he started 76 of the next 96 Chargers games. Not bad for a 6th round draft pick who averaged a td a season for his first four years in the NFL.

Strangely enough the name Stan Humphries is actually in the NFL Record book for a record that can never be broken, only equalled. Confused ? Well the answer to the conundrum is that he threw a 99 yard td pass to Tony Martin in 1994 (in a win over Seattle).

Stan never managed to start all 16 games in a season in his entire career, but in his third 15 game regular season, namely 1995, he passed for a career high 3,381 yards.

The Chargers gained a playoff spot that season, and Humpriesbegan his ’95 playoffs heroics. I doubt anyone remembers his fourth quarter touchdown (his first playoff td ever) that was just about enough to beat Dan Marino’s Dolphins.

In the AFC Championship it was again the arm of STan that prevailed, as Stans two touchdowns were enough to again eek out a victory, this time against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chargersdown 13-3 in the second half were powered to victory by Humphries to reach their first Superbowl – again I must repeat, something that the mighty bearded wonder Dan Fouts never managed to achieve.

In Superbowl XXIX it simply wasn’t Stan’s day however, as a highly motivated 49ers QB Steve Young proved to the world that he could finally shine in the spotlight and step out from under the shadow of Joe Montana.

After Steve Young found Jerry Rice for his third td of the game, and San Francisco had a ridiculous 49-19 lead in the fourth quarter, Stan finally did toss a td in the Superbowl, a 30 yarder to Tony Martin. Thats what I call hanging in there till the very end. Stan ended with a respectable 275 yards passing, but was powerless against their fellow West Coast rivals.

Stan played just 21 more games in his career, and left the NFL in 1997 after 81 starts, 17,191 yards, 89 tds and 84 interceptions. Only 103 NFL QBs have managed to pass for more yards, and Stan retired having thrown the 122nd most touchdowns in NFL history.

Not bad for a guy who started for two seasons in college football for the University of Louisiana at Monroe Warharks (he in fact took over from Bubby Brister who went on to start for the Pittsburgh Steelers).

I’m not sure any blog in the world has dedicated this much time to Stan Humphries – but I’m happy to be proved wrong.