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TNDZ x Niners x Valentine's Day

Posted Feb 14, 2014

COLUMN: Ten things to love about the San Francisco 49ers.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Let me start this week's column by saying there’s a lot to love about the San Francisco 49ers. I tried to make a list of 10 things you have to love about the franchise. There’s probably a number of items I missed, but when I sat here and thought about it over a bacon cheeseburger in the 49ers café, I felt like the following top 10 list would be passable for this week’s “The No Drag Zone” column.

So without wasting any more time, let’s get right into it.

10 Things to Love about the Niners...

10. "Mic'd Up Series"

I wonder what Joe Montana would have sounded like during “The Catch” or his game-winning touchdown drive in Super Bowl XXIII. Just think about the amazing audio that would have come from Montana famously spotting John Candy in the crowd right before the Hall of Fame quarterback led San Francisco to a third Super Bowl title. Future memorable moments in team history will now be documented now that 49ers Studios puts a microphone underneath the pads of a different player for each game. If you haven’t watched all of the “Mic’d Up” videos from the 2013 season, go ahead and take a look. Heat up popcorn, get comfortable and take a look at the players in a whole new light. Don’t worry, your boss won’t mind. It’s Friday.
9. Dixon's Twitter Account
I personally love following the Niners running back. Why? Because you never know what you’re going to get. Well, you know you’re going to get some Benihana mentions and hibachi pictures, but what’s so wrong with that? I also appreciate his music selections and takes on NBA hoops. The Niners have plenty of memorable tweeters on the team, Dixon, who is approaching free agency, is arguably the best of the bunch.

8. #Niners365 Movement
No matter what time of the year it is, the Niners remain relevant. Perhaps that’s the biggest change of the Jim Harbaugh era. The team has won more games than anyone else during Harbaugh’s three years in San Francisco and that means it’s never been more appropriate to rep the red and gold. It's happeneing even when it’s long past the football season. That is why #Niners365 is worth noting in this space. The Niners brand is everywhere you look in the Bay Area and beyond. So when you see something cool associated with the team, tag it #Niners365, tweet it at me and it’ll probably end up on our lifestyle blog.

7. Gold Jackets
Is there another NFL team with a fashion trend that spans multiple decades? Zubaz pants? Nope. Starter jackets? Nah. The Niners gold jacket is going nowhere. You’ll still see the fashionable look from Candlestick Park make its way to Levi’s® Stadium. I wish I had an original gold jacket. I really do. If you are one of those people with one of those bad boys hanging in the closet – and you didn’t purchase yours online or from somebody else – let me give you a mighty high-five. Congratulations on dominating life. Even the remakes are currently sold out, which speaks to the legitimacy of the gold jackets with “Forty Niners” on the back.

6. Crabtree's Kicks
I admit it. I’m a sneaker head. I still have old shoes in storage and I can’t really explain why. So when Michael Crabtree hits the field in some of the most famous Air Jordans, turned football cleats, I tend to tweet about it. Crab’s shoe game is the best in the NFL. And you could say other players wear Jordan cleats, but none of them get the color combinations and styles like the Niners  receiver. I tried to countdown the top 10 kicks of his career and there were so many options that didn’t even crack the list. I wonder what No. 15 has planned for ’14. Sneaker-loving football fans can’t wait.

5. Harbaugh's Fashion

Much like his star receiver, Harbaugh’s style is certainly well-documented. The 49ers coach has his own Nike t-shirt. He also presents himself in a thoughtful way – the Niners coach is consistent with who he is. Sure, it might leave some people perplexed. But it’s not really entering Harbaugh’s thought process. He does his thing and it’s kind of helpful. Do you recall scanning the sidelines for the 49ers coach? Nope. Why? because that never happens. You always know where Harbaugh is and what he’s wearing. Harbaugh’s gear reminds me of this famous Ronnie Lott quote: “It’s not important what pants you wear; it’s how you wear them.” That goes for even the ones with pleats.

4. Linebacker Wrecking Crew
Here’s where you could start to make an argument. If you’re an old-school, defensive-minded football fan, this section might be atop your list. But here’s the thing – this is my list – so I have the liberty to put San Francisco’s starting linebackers at the four spot. Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are a joy to watch and cover as a sports writer. On any given week you will see one of the four do some astounding things. Willis forces fumbles better than anyone in pro football. Bowman covers ground like a centerfielder. Smith slithers and strikes opposing quarterbacks in a dominant fashion. Then there’s Brooks, a versatile player who physically beats up the opposition. I’ve said before in my “Niner Talk Bonus” series – these guys deserve a nickname as a quartet. Perhaps there place in football lore will have to wait until they all make the Pro Bowl in the same year. It could happen in 2014.

3. #Kaepernicking
Remember #Tebowing? Or #Griffining? Those trends were cool for a minute. But they didn’t quite last like the hashtag-celebration of the Niners quarterback. Colin Kaepernick’s signature celebration has been celebrated by fans ever since he came on the NFL scene in Week 10 of the 2012 regular season. Even opponents like to imitate the Niners quarterback. If you’re at a game you can always take a picture and do Kap’s pose. The celebration has staying power and speaks to the unique style Kap plays with. He has fun doing his job and is creative enough to share it with the fans.

2. Levi's® Stadium
I was part of the stadium tour earlier this week and it was awe-some. For real. The Niners have a new playground, complete with a museum, restaurant, television studio, amazing sight lines and 20 other things that I could go into great detail about.  Can you remember a time when preseason football was anticipated this much? The first games at Levi’s won’t count in the record books, but I could see fans just wanting to tour the building rather than watch second-string players battle for depth-chart supremacy.

1. Team History
Who’s got it better than us? Nobody. I grew up around here (born in SF) so my view is slanted (clearly). But the truth is I enjoy everything about our team history and my role as Senior Reporter has afforded me the opportunity to learn all about the franchise. I’ve been able to appreciate everything from the "Million Dollar Backfield" to the 49ers Rap Crew of the 1980s. I can’t wait to see the greats of Niners past honored and celebrated in the team’s museum at Levi’s. But until that day happens when the public can celebrate their achievements, I’ll put them atop the 10 things to love about the team list.

Thanks for reading. Don't forget to buy flowers and read the rest of the column.

- Favorite Tweets x #49ers Roster -

The 49ers have 53 players on the roster and an 8-man practice squad. Those characters in the locker room certainly know how to express themselves in 140 characters or less. Let’s enjoy their best tweets of the week.

- Recommended Viewing -

Watch these videos. Why? Because you’ll be better informed as a football fan.

- Insta Moment -
Instagram moments are too good to pass up. You have to love Vernon Davis sightseeing in Germany on his way to Sochi.

- Parting Shot -

Next week at this time I'll be in Indianapolis for the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. Who is the next Eric Reid? Not sure, but Trent Baalke and his crew will be looking for another impact player who can make a Pro Bowl just like San Francisco's free safety. I enjoy the combine process. It's definitely like a Super Bowl media session. Players are being questioned from all angles and it seems like more media credentials are handed out this year. I can't wait to see what it's like when some of the more well-known players step up the podium. I promise you this, the most notable personalties will make it to my annual "All-Personality" team. I enjoy the process of hearing from the prospects and then of course there's always time for a quality steak in one of Indy's well-known steakhouses. I'm hungry just thinking about it. Make sure to check out 49ers.com for wall-to-wall combine coverage starting on Thursday. We'll hear from Harbaugh and Baalke down in Lucas Oil Stadium. There will be plenty to write about and discuss in the coming weeks. Enjoy the three-day weekend everybody.