Who Cursed the 49ers? Jim Harbaugh or a More Powerful Force?
By Robert Haugh
The 49ers lost another heartbreaker on Sunday in overtime to the Indianapolis Colts, 26-23. The team is now 0-5. This year, they’ve lost their last four close games by a total 11 points. So some sportswriters and fans are speculating about a curse.
Is it the Jim Harbaugh curse? Since Harbaugh was fired, the team is 7-30. Harbaugh certainly looks like he’s cursing team president Jed York.
But we think a curse may have started earlier because in Harbaugh’s last year, 2014, he was 8-8 as the 49ers head coach.
The Curse of the Youth Soccer Park
In 2012, York promised in writing and in meetings with the youth soccer community to build new soccer fields because of the impact of the neighboring stadium on NFL game days. York wrote:
To demonstrate our commitment to our community’s young soccer players and their families we are proposing that the 49ers underwrite several regulation-sized additional soccer fields in Santa Clara. These fields would be dedicated and maintained for the use of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League during NFL game days.
Then York reneged. The soccer community was informed two years later, in early 2014, by 49ers Vice President Larry MacNeil that the team would not build any fields.
Since crossing the Santa Clara Youth Soccer community, here’s all the bad things that have happened to the team on the field:
- Harbaugh finished 8-8 after taking the team to 3 NFC West Championships and a Super Bowl, then got fired.
- Jim Tomsula.
- Chip Kelly.
- After Harbaugh, 7 wins and 30 losses.
- Numerous arrests and the sudden retirement of key players.
Here are the bad things that have happened off the field:
- In 2014, facing a packed room of soccer kids and parents, the Council majority (Jamie Matthews, Dominic Caserta, Pat Kolstad and Jerry Marsalli) backed down from selling the Youth Soccer Park to the 49ers.
- In 2015, then-mayor Matthews suddenly and mysteriously resigned, ending a long political career on a bad note.
- In 2016, Santa Clara voters approved a measure that said the Youth Soccer Park could not be sold to the 49ers or anyone else or used for another purpose without a vote of the people.
- In 2016, the 49ers likely funded (but won’t confirm or deny it) BluPac, a dark money organization that tried but failed to take over a majority of the city council and tarnished the political reputations of the candidates they did support: Patty Mahan, Mohammed Nadeem, Mike Sellers, Ahmad Rafah and John McLemore.
- In 2017, the 49ers tried to lift the weekday curfew for concerts and failed, also tarnishing the reputations of the council members who support them: Caserta, Mahan, Kolstad.
If you believe in curses (or karma), York needs to make peace with Harbaugh to start winning games. If the team wants to regain goodwill in the community, they need to keep their promises to the youth soccer community as a start. Or they may just continue to have a losing record on the field and drag down local candidates off the field.
NOTE: We haven’t written a preview of the City Council meeting because the agenda doesn’t have any major or controversial items. It’s new City Manager Deanna Santana’s first council meeting.