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12:00PM

S.F. Examiner: Timing is curious, but Kap’s actions nothing new in NorCal

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

NEW YORK — A quarterback is in the hot seat because he refuses to relinquish his own seat when the national anthem is played. The Bay Area reacts — and overreacts. The sky is falling. At the least, jerseys are burning.

But back here, in New York, where the U.S. Open tennis championships have started and the only items involving a signal caller have to do with the Jets’ Geno Smith — “Bird brained QB boo-birds,” was the Daily News headline — they barely notice.

Read the full story here.

©2016 The San Francisco Examiner

9:50AM

S.F. Examiner: Niners quarterback questions unanswered

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

This 49ers season, with the new coach, the new up-tempo offense and the new hopes, is really about a not-so-new quarterback.

Defense wins in football. That’s understood. But you’d better have a QB, someone experienced, quick on his feet, quicker in his thinking and most of all in the NFL these days quick getting the ball to a receiver.

Read the full stoory here.

©2016 The San Francisco Examiner

10:33AM

S.F. Examiner: DeBartolo’s contribution to football immortalized

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

CANTON, Ohio – He knew the shortcuts. Edward DeBartolo Jr. says he could travel the 65 miles from his home in Youngstown, Ohio, to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in maybe 45 to 50 minutes on the back roads.

The real journey, however, would take years.

Read the full story here.

©2016 The San Francisco Examiner

7:51AM

S.F. Examiner: Big night for Eddie D, Stabler, Boldin

By Art Spander
Special to The Examiner

He was the stranger from Youngstown, the little guy who had to earn his spurs and, more importantly after some missteps owning the 49ers — “This team is not a toy,” he grumbled at the media so critical of his mismanagement — earn the cheers. They were there at Super Bowls in past years. And they were there Saturday night, when Eddie DeBartolo was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

So timely. So appropriate that DeBartolo, now 69 and far away in time and distance, having moved to Tampa, Fla., would be one of the chosen few when the Super Bowl, the Half-Century Super Bowl, No. 50, would be played in the area where he built a champion in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Read the ful story here.

©2016 The San Francisco Examiner

4:58PM

An omen for Chip Kelly? Wait and see

By Art Spander

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — So you leave Chip Kelly’s days-late introduction as Niners coach — “I didn’t have any clothes,” was his explanation — get into the car and the first thing you hear on the radio, if by Nancy Wilson rather than Tony Bennett, is “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Has to be an omen right? Never had that sort of positive feedback the day they introduced Jim Tomsula.

Kelly is the Niners’ third coach in five seasons. Went from the forceful (and successful) Jim Harbaugh to the accidental tourist, Jim Tomsula, and now to Mr. Kelly, who team president Jed York contends will be here for a while. 

Nothing wrong with being confident. Nothing wrong with being arrogant.

Plenty wrong with an offense that not only doesn’t keep the other team guessing but doesn’t keep the home fans at Levi’s Stadium from an early departure.

The history of pro football in San Francisco is that of great chunks of yardage, of people from Frankie Albert and John Brodie to Joe Montana and Steve Young throwing long — and short — and people such as Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig either running with the ball or catching it. Sure, the guys like Ronnie Lott and Keena Turner were a major part of the Super Bowls, but it’s the Niners moving the ball that became their legacy.

“If there’s something synonymous with San Francisco,” said York on Wednesday after the official press conference Wednesday had terminated, “it’s offense.” And if there’s something the Niners didn’t have last season, when they went 5-11, it was offense. Touchdowns were a rare commodity.

The teams of Charles Edward “Chip” Kelly, 52, at University of Oregon, then the past three uncomfortable years with the Philadelphia Eagles, could get touchdowns. Often too quickly, so the defense barely had time to get off the field before it was back on the field. And football mavens say it’s just as important, if not more so, to keep the other team from scoring as it is to score yourself.

Still, the NFL is entertainment, and the bottom line is there’s nothing worse than the fans, the so-called faithful, being bored — which they were under Tomsula. Sundays at Levi’s were anything but enjoyable.

The decision to hire Kelly, apparently by both York and general manager Trent Baalke, was made a week ago. But days went by until the formal presentation in the auditorium at Levi’s. Yes, Kelly’s attire had something to do with it. When he came out last week from his home in New Hampshire it was without a coat and tie. Also, said Kelly, he wanted to attend the 87th birthday celebration of his father.

The Niners are only four seasons distant from a Super Bowl appearance. Then everything began to come apart at the seams. The Seattle Seahawks improved. NaVorro Bowman was seriously injured. Harbaugh, Baalke and York stopped working with each other. Wham, from top to bottom. And no less pertinent, tumbling so far into irrelevance that a scheduled Sunday night, nationally televised game, was replaced by NBC.

There’s a line from a decades-old song that the late Bob Hope used as his theme, “Thanks for the Memory,” to wit, you might have been a headache but you never were a bore. Headaches can be eased by pain relievers. There’s no cure for boredom, other than bringing in a new coach.

“I want to be fearless,” said Kelly when asked what the identity of the team might be. “It’s pretty straightforward not to be afraid of any situation that you’re put in. There are going to be times it’s difficult, that it’s adverse, but you have to have confidence based on preparation that you’ll see it through.” 

There’s a history of college coaches going to the pros and, with rare exception, Paul Brown back in the 1950s and Jimmy Johnson in the early ‘90s, failing in the pros. Maybe Kelly didn’t exactly fail — he was 10-6 his first two seasons with the Eagles — but neither did he earn plaudits. So, at the end of the 2015 season he was fired.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” said Kelly, addressing the issue in a generic sense. “And you learn from mistakes.”  No, he didn’t say what the mistakes were, the up-tempo offense that worked in college, the apparently inability to communicate with some African-American players, the determination to be involved in the acquisition and trading of athletes. Whatever, he was out in Philly, and now he’s in with the 49ers.

“One of the neat things when I was let go in Philadelphia,” said Kelly — “and to be able to get a call from Bill Belichick, or from Tony Dungy or Jon Gruden or Bill Parcells or Bill Polian — it made me feel good there are people in this game that truly care where this game is going and what direction it’s headed. They were telling me, 'I hope you stay in the NFL.' That meant an awful lot to me.”

Will Niners fans have the same positive message? That is the major question.