65°
Clear
SAT
 80°
 52°
SUN
 84°
 52°
MON
 90°
 56°
TUE
 80°
 56°
WED
 79°
 55°

Vote for the Best of Sonoma County finalists: Best place to get married, best fundraising event and much more!

49ers on top of Bay Area heap
Rating the local pro sports franchises — all the way down to the lowly A's

  • Coach Jim Harbaugh cheers for his team at the end of the 49ers' playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints on January 14. (John Burgess / Press Democrat)

Which is the most important Bay Area pro sports franchise? Which is second, and so on?

In the interest of irresponsibility — sports allows us to be delightfully irresponsible — we apply zero criteria to our questions, nothing more than the gut feeling of this particular columnist. We do not include the Sharks because we are being irresponsible. Here are the teams in descending order.

San Francisco 49ers: The Niners are hands-down the most significant team in the Bay Area, in Northern California, in California. They are quickly ascending the national rankings.

Why are they such a big deal?

For starters, they are a National Football League franchise, and the NFL is tops by a mile. It's like the 49ers are running a 100-meter dash against the other local teams and get to start at the 60-meter line.

The 49ers have a glorious history around here, starting before the Bill Walsh years, but really kicking in with Walsh and George Seifert and those five Super Bowl victories — not to mention Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice. The list is virtually endless.

Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke have restored the 49ers to their rightful — yes, rightful — place as the preeminent local franchise. You should expect the Niners to be an elite team for at least a decade. They may contend for the Super Bowl next season when they actually have a training camp and the players learn the nuances of the offensive and defensive playbooks. The 49ers are in place to get a new stadium — a palace instead of their current dump. Things look rosy.

San Francisco Giants: The Giants are second. Call them a distant second to the 49ers. They still enjoy the glow of winning their first World Series in San Francisco two years ago. They play in the most beautiful ballpark in America. They are fan friendly to the max. Fans feel they know Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and Pablo Sandoval even though they probably don't. Bruce Bochy is a fan's and writer's delight — Harbaugh should take notes at a Bochy news conference.

© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View