Thoughts On Shanahan, Garoppolo, and The Whole 9 Yards

I haven’t posted an article in awhile, and I apologize for doing so. Life comes at you fast! However, for this piece, I want to make a statement about Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo, and the whole 9 yards. Let this statement be directed to EVERYONE on social media who talks, reads, and writes about the Red & Gold. The fans, the content creators, and everyone in between. Now, I may not know how many people this article will reach, but for those who read, please take the time to understand this perspective, and think twice when having a discussion with other people.

I was a journalism/communications major in college, so this article is the last thing I would ever post in terms of the style I’m writing this in. I’ve always maintained a level of professionalism when writing pieces, but for this, I want to let loose a little. So, let’s begin.

Through three weeks of the season, the 49ers have a 2-1 record. Competing in the toughest division in all of football, this record does not seem plausible in the eyes of fans. A 3-0 record would suffice, but even then, that wouldn’t feel like enough. Through three weeks, we have witnessed painstakingly tough football games played by the 49ers. From a near meltdown vs. the Detroit Lions, to a “too close for comfort” victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, these wins have not come easy. And of course, the devastating loss vs. the Green Bay Packers. That loss, is what is inspiring this article.

Of these three games that have been played, there are two men that have been put under the spotlight the most: head coach Kyle Shanahan, and current-starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Both guys have faced the most criticism, and appear to be the two most polarizing figures that make up the team. Let’s begin with the man in charge,

Kyle Shanahan, the offensive guru, the touted “wunderkind” of play calling, the mastermind behind one of the most intricate, complicated, and tactical offenses the NFL has ever seen, has become a focal point in conversation as of late. Many writers and fans have been extremely critical of his coaching choices, from questionable play-calling, to facing the choice of starting either Garoppolo or rookie QB Trey Lance.

Don’t confuse the tweets above with an attack on any of these gentleman, because it isn’t. Rather, these tweets are to provide context into the criticism Shanahan has faced so far. Needless to say, content creators are starting to hold Shanahan more accountable for his actions. And that’s ok! I honestly think it is about time people start creating conversation about the actions Shanahan has taken on the field. Just because Garoppolo is limited, is no excuse to put either him, or the team in the best position possible to win. In any event, this level of accountability being called into question has ultimately created a form of uncivilized discourse on social media. What else is new, right? But, I will say this, the discourse is dividing the fans more than I’ve ever seen a topic create.

On one side, fans are questioning how Shanahan isn’t “bulletproof” and simply has not done enough as the head coach to elevate his team to success. On the contrary, fans are pivoting the blame towards the next biggest topic, Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo this season has performed.. optimally. He’s got a 67% completion percentage, has thrown 4 touchdowns to 1 interception, and has lead the team to a respectable 2-1 record so far. He has executed at the level we all expect of him, but continues to face the problems that plague him as a quarterback. Throwing with consistency, failing to throw the ball with accuracy 20+ yards downfield, and limiting turnovers. All of these inabilities that Garoppolo features, severely handicap how Shanahan wants to run his offense.

Between Shanahan, Garoppolo, and the debate on whether or not Lance should start, this has been a hot-button topic since the season started.

With the information I’ve presented, I want each and everyone who reads this to ask this question: Why are we being hostile towards one another about the situation? The matter at hand has essentially boiled down to Shanahan vs. Garoppolo. The constant arguing, bickering, and deliberate attacks towards one another with harsh words and despicable comments are tiring.

The above tweet is from Michael Andrews, one of the key cogs in the NB9ers operations. This tweet, as harmless and simple as it may be, contains responses from numerous people that include insults, name calling, and other abhorrent remarks. Whether this tweet is true or not, whether Mike was trying to start a conversation, the words put out towards him are disrespectful, and atrocious.

Angelina Martin, who writes for the Turlock Journal and the 49GM blog, is just one of the many examples of a person being attacked for a mild take, that in all honesty was (and still is) very true. This tweet, albeit was posted after the first week of the season, generated good discussion, but sadly featured a misogynistic comment directed towards her. And that is the pinnacle of the sports landscape today. For women, for the people who bust their butts putting out great subject matter to read about in regards to the 49ers, all wind up being victims of an unnecessary barrage of insults. This is commonplace in the 49ers social media community alone.

I’ve been called stupid, idiotic, dumb, moronic, and other words for the thoughts I have put out that aren’t acceptable for a written piece like this. Seeing these things is nothing new to me, however, it happening on an every day basis is mind-blowing. Numerous content creators, from the Rich Madrid’s to the Javier Vega’s, as far as the Jason Aponte’s and of course, all of my great buddies here at 49ersHive, all put out excellent content. When analyzing the content and reading the replies from fans, the vast majority of these comments generally include derogatory remarks, blatant misinformation presented by people with little understanding, and a failure to engage in a civil, easy-going discussion.

When I started creating content to talk about the 49ers, I had no Idea what I was getting myself into. Since that first day I debuted with NB9ers years ago, I haven’t looked back. However, this season, this YEAR in particular, has felt different. The social media landscape has become so toxic! Fans are brutal towards each other, stepping down even further, you have credentialed media members going at each other like 10-year old’s on occasion (looking at both of you, Grant Cohn and David Lombardi).

There is a rift being created, and it isn’t pretty. As each game passes by, fans continue to duke it out as if it was a war.

Well, I want to pose this statement, a la going the Whole 9 Yards: R-E-L-A-X!

Can’t we all just sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment more? 49ers football is happening as Covid-19 continues to effect our every day lives. We’re lucky to even be getting the chance to watch a game of football! Seeing Deebo Samuel make magnificent plays, experiencing Nick Bosa shred offensive linemen on a weekly basis, hell, even watching rookie CB Deommodore Lenoir massively exceed expectations has been a joy to see. Remember, at the end of the day, we are rooting for the name on the FRONT of the NFL jerseys, not just the name on back! The critiquing of players, of coaches, is fair! However, let’s not let the criticism that is placed on them, which is followed by the heated and rough discussions held by many, take away from the fact that at the end of the day, WE ARE FANS!

There’s too much bullshit going on in the world to waste time arguing over the same matter on an hourly basis. The entire Shanahan vs. Garoppolo argument is worn out. We get it!

So, while this may come off as a rambunctious rant, I simply want one thing: let’s at least TRY to engage in friendly conversation. What need is there to be hostile, to be aggressive, to speak with such hateful words for hundreds, if not thousands of other people to see? To speak this way towards content creators and other fans, will it ever stop?

We, as fans, as content creators, and everything else, need to create an environment that rejects the hostility we see, and rather, establishes a field that people can come to for friendly debate. Will this ever happen? Probably not. But, as I write this piece, I hope to spread awareness on the issue that the hostility needs to simmer down.

American Novelist Henry James once said ““Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind”. When interacting with one another, whether you agree with the take or not, no matter how dumb it may seem, let’s at least try, as human beings, to be and and handle something you disagree with as an adult.

And, if all else fails, there is a block button after all!

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