February 4, 2023

By John Chen –

If the San Francisco 49ers don’t beat the Philadelphia Eagles and win Super Bowl LVII, I’ll never see the East Coast again!

There’s a lot to like and be optimistic about this San Francisco 49ers team not only making the Super Bowl LVII title, but bringing it to the Bay Area. With elite playmakers on both sides of the ball, the 49ers have no glaring weaknesses save for a young, inexperienced signal caller who has so far exceeded expectations and proved a winner. No wonder San Francisco fans are excited and everyone is talking about the team. After all, football is America’s game and we fans often live or die with the successes and failures of our beloved team.

This past fall, many of the 49ers games took place during our San Francisco Gay Flag Football League (SFGFFL) season. And with so many die-hard LGBTQ+ pro football fans playing in the league, there are always at least three to four National Football League (NFL) games being streamed on various Apple and Android devices on the sidelines, especially when the Niners are playing. There is no shortage of football excitement among the millions of LGBTQ+ fans. We’re just as rabid, passionate and Homer as everyone else!

My good friend Darrel Bayani, a former SFGFFL commissioner and inductee into the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) Hall of Fame, is one of the biggest 49ers fans I’ve ever met. Darrel is frighteningly versed in every statistical category of Niner players and teams, every draft pick, every trade, and every win and loss. He also knows the names of all the players, including those on the training team! During SFGFFL games, I always find Darrel engaged in intense and factual discussions with our many other die-hard pro footballers about the ins and outs of our 49er team.

“This season, the 49ers are in prime position to put on a serious Super Bowl run for a number of reasons,” Darrel repeated excitedly between downs at a flag football tournament in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. “First, [the 49ers] have the best defense in all football! #1 in virtually every meaningful statistical category. Our pass rush, led by a beast, Nick Bosa, is relentless and incredibly difficult to block for even the best offensive lines, making it much easier for the linebackers and defensive backs to cover receivers downfield.”

Darrel continued: “Secondly, we are packed with talented key players like Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings and Kyle Juszczyk. Our offense operates behind a strong line led by the best left tackle in Trent Williams. The icing on the cake is the Cinderella story from “Mr. Irrelevant, our 3rd string quarterback, Brock Purdy.”

Darrel concluded, “And finally, head coach Kyle Shanahan made excellent offensive play calls from well-prepared plans, took our offensive weapons into space and let them do their thing. Let’s not forget our defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans, who directs and commands a shutdown defense. And there you have it. With everything that goes in favor of the Niners, how can anyone bet we don’t win the Super Bowl?”

I can tell you firsthand that talking about football with Darrel, especially when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers, is like talking to a panel of ESPN pundits.

Interestingly, my in-laws were all born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania and were brainwashed to be the greatest Philadelphia Eagle homers, much like Darrel was with the Niners. The most logical and analytical is my brother-in-law Steve. Why did I raise my in-laws? Because on the 49ers’ road to Super Bowl LVII, the Philadelphia Eagles are the NFL team with the best overall record.

Steve immediately and angrily corrected me when I said the 49ers were the best team and had the best chance of winning the Super Bowl. “Now that [the Eagles] We have a healthy Jalen Hurts back, our offense is on another level. Hurts is a special quarterback who can hurt even the best defense with his arm and leg. In fact, the coaching staff has successfully implemented quarterback running games designed to “hurt” aggressive and unrelenting defenses.

Steve added, “Our defensive line is a major strength, and our team can get to the quarterback and force him to either speed up his throws or release without blitzing. Our line can seriously force a veteran quarterback into error, let alone a rookie with little playoff experience. Also, we are the #1 seed. We can rest our players an extra game and have home field advantage during the playoffs. I like our chances to get to the Super Bowl and win it all!”

Note that Steve’s analysis is pretty much pinpointed at the San Francisco 49ers and my homer notes we have the best team. FYI, I cut and pasted Darrel’s Niners review and texted Steve for consumption, which I got an eye-roll emoji in response. Which also led to a friendly in-laws bet. Should the 49ers beat the Eagles and win the Super Bowl, Steve will have to take a dip in our frigid Pacific Ocean on his next visit. If all hell freezes over and the 49ers lose to the Eagles, I’ll have to take a dip in the Atlantic.

All right, Darrel had better behave properly about our 49ers, or I’ll never visit Pennsylvania again in my life. Or even worse for Darrel, Steve and I, another team like the Kansas City Chiefs and their All-World quarterback Patrick Mahomes will win Super Bowl LVII.

John Chen, a UCLA graduate and avid sports fan, has competed and coached tennis, volleyball, softball, and soccer teams.

San Francisco 49ers advance to NFC championship game

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys on January 22, 2023 in a nail biting game that saw both teams draw until the Niners got the upper hand with a 19–12 win. Now, starting at noon on Sunday, January 29, the impressive men in red and gold will take on the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC Championship. The Niners’ winning streak is currently 12 games. Hopefully that will increase to a record-breaking 14 as a Super Bowl win is within reach.

The 49ers, along with all other NFL teams, clearly have a much longer road ahead of them to achieve LGBTQ equality within their ranks. The team has taken some steps, like hosting a PRIDE Watch Party in 2022 and a panel on LGBTQ activism in sport. There are also some related digital wallpapers for fans at: https://www.49ers.com/fans/pride

Here we present some thoughts on the intersection of our community and professional football from former SF Pride President and Krewe de Kinque Founder Gary Virginia and San Francisco Bay Times Sports columnist John Chen.

Let’s go Niner!

Released on January 26, 2023

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