Week of February 5, 2016

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Sup Bro 50 Edition!

All Hail Eddie D!

Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. is known as one of the greatest owners ever. Under his supervision, the San Francisco 49ers quickly went from a perennial also-ran to the greatest franchise in the NFL, quickly. Eddie D’s teams won five Super Bowls in 22 seasons, from 1977 to 1998. DeBartolo had to give up the team in 1998, suspended for one year after pleading guilty to a felony. DeBartolo’s crime? Failing to report that he had been extorted, which is just the most unfair crime I can think of. 49ers fans might tell you that Eddie’s real crime was electing not to return to the team after his suspension, ceding control of the team to his sister, Denise, her husband, John, and eventually their son, Jed. *shudder*

San Francisco 49ers Eddie Debartolo Jr. congratulates quarterback #16 Joe Montana and running back #33 Roger Craig after the 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins to win super bowl in 1985. (AP Photo)

But what many probably don’t know is that DeBartolo treated his employees, not just the players, like family. And this isn’t lip service. This is jumping on a cross-country flight at a moment’s notice to say goodbye to a former player, dying in a hospital room. This is jumping on another plane, in the middle of the night, and again flying cross-country – this time to personally tell a longtime employee and friend that her son, a San Jose Police Department officer, had been shot and killed in the line of duty. This is caring for a former player who had cancer. And I’m not talking paying the guy’s medical bills. Oh, Eddie did that. But Eddie actually drove 40 minutes to take the guy to his chemotherapy appointments, waiting with him, and then driving him home. This is paying a former player, who was injured and partially paralyzed during a game in 1989, a lifetime contract. The team still pays the player $100,000 per year.

I could go on, and the article does. A lot of people donate lots of money to just causes. And that is necessary and great. But there is something special reading about how Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. truly cared about people – his employees really were treated like family. I certainly did not know this side of DeBartolo. I’m glad I now do. -TOB

Source: Former 49ers Owner Eddie DeBartolo Has His Own Fall of Fame”, Daniel Brown, San Jose Mercury-News (01/29/2016)

PAL: I knew DeBartolo was adored here, and now I have a better idea of why that is. I also didn’t know that he voluntarily gave up control of the 49ers after serving that suspension. Great article.

Is Hosting the Super Bowl Good for SF?

You know what’s great about getting older? You realize what a waste of time it is to be a cynic. At some point, you just stop caring about what’s cool, and not in an ironic way. When someone asks if you mind meeting up in the Marina you respond, “Man, I just want to have a beer and hang out.”

I want you in that frame of mind as we step out onto the thin ice that is Super Bowl 50. Is it a shitshow in our city while happening 45-miles from San Francisco, or is it just the next thing we love to crap on? Is a temporary inconvenience acceptable for an opportunity to highlight this beautiful city, or is the fact that San Francisco ultimately a wonderful place already accepted the world over and needs no further showcase? Berkeley resident and SI writer Chris Ballard puts forth a pretty measured argument here. Ultimately, I don’t really care, but I don’t mind either. It’s the response that ought to terrify 49ers once Super Bowl City circus leaves town. Moving them to Santa Clara just might elicit the same response from the locals in a few short years. -PAL

Source: It’s one big SB50 party in Bay Area, but many residents want no part of it”, Chris Ballard, SI.com (2/4/16)

TOB: This article touches on a lot of feelings that I have about Super Bowl week. The first is resentment over the 49ers move to Santa Clara. If the 49ers want to play there, then good riddance. But don’t come groveling back to San Francisco now that you need us.

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The second is the wasted tax dollars. The SF politicians who ok’d this – at least $5M in unreimbursed expenditures, not to mention all the lost productivity downtown due to road closures, etc., really get me going, too. As I noted, those expenses are not going to be reimbursed by the NFL (unlike those for Santa Clara, which will be). I read earlier in the week that a county supervisor said that promising not to seek reimbursements from the NFL was part of the bid – that the Bay Area would have lost the bid if San Francisco didn’t promise this.

First, so what? Second, it shows complete ignorance of the NFL’s Super Bowl bidding system. The NFL has made a habit of awarding the game to cities that build new stadiums (recently: Indianapolis and New Jersey). Santa Clara was getting its game. So why did San Francisco care so much if Santa Clara got the bid?

Today I read an article in the New York Times wherein the President of the SF Chamber of Commerce said the city would easily make back the money it put in, and then adds that there is further benefit because the Super Bowl is a “worldwide event that will sell San Francisco.” Dude. It’s SAN FRANCISCO. It doesn’t need to be sold. This is not Jacksonville (offense intended). We don’t need the exposure. Frankly, while the hotels may be slightly more full, San Francisco is popular enough that this isn’t a huge boon to tourism. There are always tourists here. Besides, if they held all the events in Santa Clara, most people would still have stayed in San Francisco. So, we gain very little and give up a lot. Seems like a bad deal. Also, Phil and I went to Super Bowl City on Saturday. It was so awful, crowded, boring and dumb and there was nothing to do but stand in long lines for corporate branded events, that we quickly left to drink some beers and play some pool at a nearby dive bar. We had a great time, and I was reminded why I love San Francisco.

If You Didn’t Win Powerball, At Least You’re Not John Elway

Like many people, my family’s (relatively meager) investments took a hit in the early part of 2016. Reading this story made me feel a little better. In 1999, just before his retirement from the NFL, John Elway was offered by team owner Pat Bowlen a 10% stake in the Denver Broncos for just $15M. He was offered a further stake of 10% more in exchange for giving up $21M in deferred compensation. He was also offered right of first refusal if the Bowler Family ever decided to sell its stakes in the team. Elway declined. It wasn’t because he didn’t have the money – Elway had recently sold his auto dealership empire for $82M. Elway instead invested $15M in a Ponzi scheme. Elway lost almost half that investment, the first in a series of failed investments that Elway made in the late-90s and early 00s.


Cry for Elway: “the 20 percent stake he passed on, based on a Forbes 2015 valuation of the team at $1.94 billion, is now worth $388 million, which would have been a 646 percent return on the 1998 investment, adjusted for inflation, had he made it.” Today, Elway is a team executive with no ownership stake. Whoops. Like I said – now I don’t feel so bad. -TOB

Source: How John Elway Missed Out on a Fortune”, Darren Rovell, ESPN.com (02/03/2016)

PAL: I spoke to Elway on the phone tonight and asked him to comment. His response: “Why you gotta do that, man? You don’t think it’s the first thing to cross my mind in the morning and the last thing I think about at night before I fall asleep? You really think I worry about Peyton Manning? Nah, bro. But, you know…One love, brother. I mean, I’ve accepted it, you know? Seriously, I have. I HAVE, OK.

TOB: Interestingly, I HAVE talked to John Elway on the phone. I was 16. He was in Tahoe for the annual celebrity golf tournament. A friend worked at Caesar’s and told us that he was one of the few celebrities that did not use a pseudonym. So, a friend and I simply called the hotel and asked for John Elway. I was transferred to his room and he actually answered. We chatted a few minutes. I told him he is awesome, he said “thanks” and “dude” a lot. And that was that.

Send It In…Cristiano?

In a week dominated by the Super Bowl, a simple article about the other football had me texting TOB:

PAL: Link:

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TOB: Haha. That’s an 8 foot hoop for sure

PAL: Watch the video: 


TOB: Yeah he does have some serious hops

TOB: But that’s still an 8 foot hoop

PAL: But can he dunk?

PAL: I say yes

PAL: Definitely a soccer ball

TOB: Yeah, I think so. If those photos aren’t doctored.

Who are we talking about? Cristiano Ronaldo. Deadspin ran a very simple story: Can Ronaldo dunk? This was based off of a photo that – I agree with TOB – seems to pretty clearly show Ronaldo dunking on a kids hoop that looks as if it were purchased from the sporting goods aisle at Target.

However, further footage* shows how much of an athletic freak this dude is. This is by no means a great story, but definitely a captivating half-assed investigation. I’ve concluded there is no friggin’ doubt Cristiano Ronaldo can flush it on a 10-foot hoop. -PAL

Source:Can Cristiano Ronaldo Dunk?, Greg Howard, Deadspin (2/3/16)

*Yes, TOB, Esq. – assuming these are not doctored photos. I choose to be an optimist. I choose to believe.

TOB: Upon further consideration, he’s 6’1, which isn’t tall but isn’t short. But he’s an unbelievable world-class athlete. The photos are not doctored. Of course he can dunk. He still sucks.  #Messi4Life.

Breaking: NFL Continues to Be the Worst

Quick background: For many years, even once sports became regularly televised, the leagues and the networks lacked the foresight to retain the footage. You may remember our story about how the only footage of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series was discovered in Bing Crosby’s wine cellar after his death. Well, somehow, both the NFL and CBS failed to retain a copy of Super Bowl I, played in 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. The game was believed to be lost to the ether, Green Bay’s dominance only visualized in an ever-dwindling number of memories.

Or use images like this, from halftime of that game. Times sure have changed.

Or using images like this, from halftime of that game. Times sure have changed.

Until 2005. That year, a childhood friend of a then-36 year old man by the name of Troy Haupt read a story about how the NFL did not have a recording of the first Super Bowl, and remembered an old box in Troy’s mom’s attic that said “Super Bowl I”. Troy and his mom found the tapes and had them restored. Haupt, through a lawyer, has been trying to sell the tapes to the NFL for $1,000,000. Some might find this greedy – but consider what it’s likely worth to the NFL in advertising once they decide to air it alone. Really, he might be offering them a bargain. But the NFL, of course, sees things otherwise. They believe that, because they own the content, that Haupt cannot sell it to anyone but them, or be faced with a lawsuit. The NFL originally offered Haupt just $30,000, and now claim they are not interested in the tapes at all. The NFL recently even stepped in and killed a deal between Haupt and CBS.

For his part, Haupt says he wants to sell the tapes jointly with the NFL and donate some of the proceeds to charity. The NFL has no interest. As things stand, the tapes remain in Haupt’s possession, awaiting someone to knock some sense into Roger Goodell.

Source: Out of a Rare Super Bowl I Recording, A Clash with the N.F.L. Unspools”, Richard Sandomir, The New York Times (02/02/2016)

Video of the Week

Damn, Whitney. R.I.P.

PAL Song of the Week: Lord Huron – “Meet Me in the Woods

Live a little! Listen to all of our weekly picks here.

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“Here’s what it is, it’s a doodle. Some people doodle at work when they let their mind run. They draw houses, penises. Funny how the houses are always colonials and the penises are always circumcised, don’t you think? Well, I doodle too, but I’m not an artist so I draw words and lists.”

-Robert California

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