Gonzalez’s gripes won’t bring the Niners down | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Gonzalez’s gripes won’t bring the Niners down

We were going to write this week about Miami of Ohio defensive coordinator Jon Wauford, who not only watched his defense give up the winning touchdown to Marshall with 5 seconds remaining on Tuesday, he was arrested for good measure.

When the final gun sounded, a few Marshall fans began celebrating — a little too vigorously in Wauford’s opinion. The burly assistant coach chose one lucky winner and shoved him head first onto the artificial playing surface, where the guy’s head banged against the turf and made a hollow, coconut-like sound. Two West Virginia state troopers saw the whole thing and slapped Wauford in cuffs.

It’s not exactly something you put in the 2003 media guide. “Coach Wauford’s defensive unit gave up the winning TD in final seconds against The Thundering Herd, and was immediately arrested following the game.” But hey, knocking a Marshall fan senseless is only a misdemeanor in West Virginia, so let’s move on.

I was watching another, larger individual being bounced off the turf this past Sunday at Candlestick Park, and it was kind of fun — although no one was arrested afterward. There was plenty of griping, however. Kansas City’s Tony Gonzalez was talking up a storm, howling that someone should have been arrested, or at least detained, following San Francisco’s 17-13 win over the Chiefs.

“He jammed me at the line, which is fine,” Gonzalez told The Associated Press. “But when you jam, you have to let go after 5 yards. If they want to give him credit, go ahead. But he knows you can’t do that.”

Gonzalez was of course talking about 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson, the latter who was all over the former like Yasmine Bleeth’s “Baywatch” uniform.

The most-feared and highest-paid tight end in the game complained a lot, and in fact was still talking after all the reporters had left the stadium. He might yet be there screaming for all we know.

What of the specifics of this controversy? Was Peterson guilty? Will the two appear in an upcoming episode of Judge Judy? And what the hell happened to the jar of quarters I had on my mantle? It was there before the game, that’s all I know.

This is our take on the controversy: The 49ers are back.

We all remember the 49ers of the 1980s and early ’90s. Bill Walsh was our Willie Wonka, directing a sweet-as-candy organization that ran on magic and imagination. There were also guys like Joe Montana and Steve Young and Roger Craig, and kickers who didn’t bring on nervous twitches when they lined up for 31-yarders with the wind.

But the NFL front office, evil antagonists that they are, grew tired of fans in other cities howling about how the 49ers were always winning. And so they changed the rules — institution of the salary cap being chief among them — to bring the City by the Bay down a peg or two. Or seven.

At first, it seemed to work. Remember the 1999 edition of the 49ers? If giving up touchdowns is a crime for a defensive coordinator, as it seems to be in West Virginia, Jim Mora would still be in prison today. But through a series of savvy front-office moves (please ignore Lawrence Phillips) and with Steve Mariucci pressing most of the right buttons, San Francisco is, once again, as they say, the team to beat in the NFC.

How do I know this? Because other players are accusing them of cheating.

My very first thought on hearing of Gonzalez’ post-game remarks on Sunday were of glory revisited. As the Chiefs tight end complained, I suddenly saw a Super Bowl trophy, shrouded in tule fog, moving slowly up the bay on a small raft paddled by Paul Tagliabue. We’re back, baby. It’s been years since other teams have complained about the 49ers’ tactics. All that was missing on Sunday was Howie Long complaining about leg whipping by the 49ers’ offensive line, or Mike Ditka hurling a wad of chewing gum into the stands.

There has been some talk lately of Green Bay being the team to beat in the NFC. Or Philadelphia, or perhaps even Tampa Bay or the resurgent Rams. I’m telling you right now that barring unforeseen injuries, San Francisco will be in the Super Bowl. Write it down and put it in your pocket — no, not your pants pocket, then it will just go through the wash. Look for a moment if you will at the Packers’ schedule. Danny Thomas Junior College plays a tougher slate. Now look at San Francisco’s.

The 49ers have played and beaten three straight teams who were playing for their lives. Oakland and Kansas City, two very good teams, needed wins to salvage their seasons. The Chargers are in the same boat tomorrow — a loss to the 49ers will deal a savage blow to their playoff hopes.

Whether the 49ers have the muscle to get past the Broncos in a possible Super Bowl showdown is still debatable, but as far as the NFC is concerned it’s over. The 49ers are back on top.

And while you’re pondering that, we leave you with this, from the Miami-Marshall game:

The frustration of a fifth straight loss to Marshall also boiled over in the Miami coaches box, where a desk was destroyed and chairs were hurled through walls.

Thank you and have a pleasant weekend.

— Rick Chandler’s interactive sports column, Capacity Crowd, can be found at NBC.com

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