Why is this historical note about The Tip important to 49ers fans?
Because the Niners were on the wrong end of The Tip. Because the Niners enabled The Tip, allowed it to happen, were the stooges in that scenario. Because The Tip is the Seahawks' version of The Catch.
Understand what I'm saying. The 49ers, who pride themselves on The Catch as a defining moment of their rise to greatness, got "Catched" up in Seattle. And because the Niners got Catched, the Seahawks went to New Jersey where they embarrassed the Denver Broncos and cemented Peyton Manning's reputation as a substandard postseason quarterback, where they marred Manning's legacy even though he claims not to understand the word "legacy." The 49ers were silent partners in all this.
I always have felt a little sorry for the Dallas Cowboys in that 1981 NFC championship game, the way they lost, the way they got embarrassed at the end -#8212; Everson Walls leaping futilely for the ball that Dwight Clark caught. I feel just as sorry for the Niners, how Crabtree never got a hand on Kaepernick's pass, how he was a spectator to a truly great football play, Crabtree just hanging around like a loiterer in front of a candy store. If someone draws a painting of The Tip, Crabtree is a mere spectator near the margin of the canvas.
I can't help thinking Jim Harbaugh, terrific coach in his own right, was the victim of The Tip. Harbaugh seems to get victimized at iconic moments. Bill Walsh never seemed to be the victim of the iconic play. Because of The Tip, the 49ers have become Dallas.
Whatever you think of Sherman -#8212; he acted badly after the Seahawks beat the 49ers -#8212; discussing his series of rants is off the point. It amounts to discussing mere etiquette. There is very little etiquette in pro football. Harbaugh rants nonstop at the officials. When I once asked about his conduct during games, he laughed at me and used the word "etiquette" as a pejorative, like it is a silly and irrelevant concept.
So, sure, Sherman screwed up but it was mere etiquette. What matters is he made the football play, The Tip.
I'll tell you something else that matters. Kaepernick showed up in New York during Super Bowl Week. One morning, he made the rounds of radio interviews, spoke to broadcasters and reporters until he was blue in the face. That he dove into interviews was news in itself. "It talks!" He was on some kind of political junket, shining up his image. He responded to Sherman more than a week too late. Talk about missing the moment.
And during those interviews, he repeatedly put his foot in it. Define "it" any way you want. He said if he had it to do over, he would throw that final woebegone pass to Crabtree, or to "Crab," as he calls No. 15. He said any time Crab is covered one on one by anyone, even Sherman, he's going to No. 15.
That brings us back to history. Kaepernick is a history repeater, a serial historic loser. He threw three times to Crab to lose the Super Bowl, and he threw to Crab to lose the NFC championship. And he just doesn't learn from history. He even brags about it.