It may stagger longtime 49ers fans to comprehend it, but children born the season the team last won a Super Bowl are now able to buy cigarettes, vote, and sleep with whomever they choose. And yet, it's a testament to the utter dominance of the Niners of yore that older fans still feel entitled when complaining about the slings and arrows of following this team.
Complaints and anger are fair game for those too young for Steve Young. For those of a certain age, however, there's only disappointment and frustration. And you know what? That's okay. That's part of being a fan. You can't have good times without having bad times. If everything's good, the very idea of "good" becomes meaningless -- and cheap.
So the near-instantaneous cries of "Wait till next year!" and "What a magical season!" that flooded distraught fans only moments after Lawrence Tynes' 31-yarder in overtime split the uprights are nearly as frustrating as San Francisco's performance in the game.
Waiting till next year isn't really a matter of choice. And bringing up the Niners' great season at the moment of failure -- utter and preventable failure -- is extraordinarily patronizing.
So many times, we've been told that tragedies or deaths "put things in perspective" when it comes to organized sports. Really? Fans need floods and famines and terrorist attacks and senseless mayhem to remind them that there are more important things in life than the outcome of a ballgame? This is necessary?
Fans are perfectly capable of understanding the 49ers treated us to a spectacular season, but simultaneously realizing the team pissed away its most crucial game at its most crucial moments. To immediately attempt to smother real disappointment with cries of "wait 'till next year!" and "What a great season!" strikes me as a bit juvenile. The 49ers are a team of adults being rooted for by adults. And handling disappointment -- in an adult manner -- is something adults must do.