Days Of Red & Gold Past To Present

Days Of Red & Gold Past To Present

Written on 02/15/2018
Bryant Culp


In 1998 the city of Stockton, community businesses and Alex Spanos (owner at the time of the San Diego Chargers) brought the 49ers to Stockton. The team moved from Sierra College of Rocklin, CA. to the University of Pacific in Stockton, Ca. 

Growing up in Stockton I remember when the team announced they would be coming to town. This was such an awesome experience as not only a kid, but as a 49er fan myself! The 49ers came to my home town! How incredible the 49ers moved right down the street from my house. 

My brother Mark and I took off on our bikes as many times as we could to see the 49ers practice! The team had free open public practices. We went and stayed as long as possible. 

Stockton gets really hot in the summer and has negative effects on the human body prolonged to heat exposure. Carmen Policy with help From Alex Spanos, convinced Eddie DeBartolo Jr. to move the training camp to Stockton. 

My theory is that Spanos wanted to buy the 49ers! Eddie was, and had been in trouble with the League. Salary cap and Gambling cost this great franchise many future seasons of losing. The 49ers were under a dark rain cloud that just kept getting bigger. 

A deal was discussed  behind closed doors. Spanos wanted the 49ers, somehow he was going to get them. Selling or trading the Chargers was a possibility. The deal never happened and Eddie turned the team over to his sister Denise York. This decision left the team without leadership of an owner. The Niners needed someone to take charge. Coach Steve Mariucci was not the leader or coach the 49ers needed. The system the 49ers had, worked well. Mariucci used what was working with the Niners and kept running it. Until a defense can figure out an offense they can be beat. Once a defense knows the blueprint of an offense, the offensive advantage is over. The 49ers should never have fallen apart. The team was ready for a run to the super bowl. Every team has star players and sometimes injuries can happen or players retire unexpectedly. A good team and a strong coach can rise above all obstacles.  Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Bryant Young, Garrison Hearst, were just a few casualties that shouldn't have crippled the Niners. 

When you win 5 championships you should never be caught by the rest of the league. Eddie was a great owner who gave the team strong leadership. It was exactly what the 49ers needed! Just maybe, if Mariucci was a stronger coach, the Terrell Owens explosions on the sidelines  wouldn't have happened. 

T.O. needed a coach that would keep him in check. Instead T.O. was constant T.N.T. on the sidelines. T.O. was cancer in the locker room. In (1999) the 49ers finished (4-12) a few seasons later they finished (2-14) T.O’s protest in the locker room cost the team a QB and coach. This put the 49ers in a path to disaster. A presence of a strong team owner would have made a difference. 

The 49ers should not have drafted Alex Smith 1st overall. The 49ers tried to rebuild. The process included several coaches, and several offensive coordinators. The rebuild lasted longer than expected. Several players came and left. The team reached success once again. It truly seemed as if they got it right this time. Once again a mistake of arrogance put the 49ers right back at (2-14). 

The 49ers made it to a sixth super bowl appearance. They were losing and the clock was counting down. Frank Gore picked the franchise up on his back. He carried the ball on a explosive run into the red zone. The 49ers were on their way. The Niners attempted four passes to Michael Crabtree, and not one pass was completed. There was hardly any time taken away from the clock. 

The NFL is changing every year. The league is doing all they can to take the foot out of football. It’s now a passing league. The 49ers chose to create a picture perfect touchdown to win the super bowl. This decision cost the franchise more than just a super bowl loss. It created a chain reaction from the owner, to the coaches, to the players. Santa Clara wasn't exactly where anyone wanted it to be. four years later, four head coaches, and several new players, finally Santa Clara is popular again. The 49ers have a good General Manager, head coach with potential, and a franchise QB. 

Jed York is showing a strong  leadership presence. It’s a presence this team needs. If the organization plans to be successful Jed has to put this team on his back, don't fumble and don't stop running.  

Football is a game that on any Sunday anyone can win. Anyone can win that's why the games are played. Teams prepare, train, and practice to play against each other. The system they play in only works if the whole team buys in. The system only works for a short time until a defense can figure it out. Any team can have success and failure it's all about balance. The difference in success versus failure is the emotions that come from winning or losing. No matter the outcome, if you have a strong owner, the support will be felt from the bottom to the top. 

The 49ers were ready! Before Steve Young got hurt, he said "we're ready to make a super bowl run.” Back in 1998 at U.O.P, “The Stockton Record” reported that Young's ready, the wait is over! 20 years later the future is bright and the wait is over. 

The 49ers should never try to be picture perfect for the NFL.  The 49ers should remember they are the standard setters for the NFL. 

Don't let the league call the plays. Give Frank the ball and win the game. Now with the new training camp and new stadium in Santa Clara , just think, U.O.P. and the city of Stockton could have been the city that got the 49ers. Maybe The Stick would have been rebuilt. 

The Niners could have stayed and played In Stockton a couple of seasons.   The 49ers were supposed to stay in Stockton for ten years. They left after five years. They left over a dispute involving the training facility’s weight room air conditioners. Air-conditioning forced a fumble, a fumble Santa Clara picked up. 

U.O.P. and Stockton lost and has yet to recover. The 49ers past is behind them. The future is bright as long as Jed York stands strong behind his team and continues to show the presence of a strong owner who remembers the 49ers should be the tone setters. 

This year of 2018 Jed York, John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo are going to bring back a dynasty!!!


Bryant Culp

Twitter: @BryantCulp3