When you suddenly start winning football games at a rapid, unexpected pace, you collect a lot of new fans along the way. This is commonly known as a bandwagon. When a franchise misses the playoffs for almost a decade, then that franchises’ fan base shrinks at an alarming rate. It doesn’t shrink to such a size that their home games would be blacked out on local television, but it becomes small enough to notice a stadium with large swaths of empty orange and red seats if anyone had actually bothered to watch. But if a team many predicted to finish near the bottom of the decrepit NFC west suddenly, out of nowhere, rips off the NFL’s second best record through 12 games, than you can bet that fans will start materializing out of the woodwork. The 2011 San Francisco 49ers bandwagon is already starting to burst at the seams.
The primary way to spot the new “bandwagon” fans was they were the ones standing in unison during Sunday’s game vs the Rams and doing the wave. While the 49ers had the ball. On 3rd down. During these particular moments of a football game, the home crowd usually grows quiet, deferring to the offense it’s rooting for to do something positive. However, I would assume the people who were doing the wave were not entertained enough by the 49ers crushing the Rams and winning their first division championship in quite a while. I would assume the act of people around them standing up out of their seats and then sitting back down in them in a sort of unison was more entertaining. Which is fine, because you paid the $70 something dollars to get in, the $20 something dollars to park and the I don’t even want to bring it up something dollars for beer. Now that you’re 3 figures lighter in the bank account, knock yourself out I suppose.
This is where we run into the conundrum of winning. On one hand wining is most definitely super awesome. On the other hand, winning attracts people who don’t necessarily know a lot about football or sports or how our society functions. As much as it’s painful to have a person standing and yelling in the seat in front of you at a very inopportune time in the game, I would say it’s more painful to have the perfect, unblemished view of Shaun Hill throwing another incomplete pass. So, this winning thing seems to be the lesser of two evils. The new fans will most certainly buy up all the 49ers gear they can find and this money will go into the organizations pockets. Ideally, for fans anyway, to be spent on contracts for WR Josh Morgan, CB Carlos Rogers or any number of deserving players on the roster who are only signed through this year. It’s been so long, a lot of Niners fans have forgotten what winning is like. The bandwagon might contain fans who are annoying to the hardcore fan base, but I would venture to say that hearing a stadium of those same hardcore fans chant “WE WANT DAVID CARR” on national television was probably much worse.