Five days, four nights in Arizona. 40 hours of boozing. A terrible outcome for sports. Two losses by Bay Area teams. Am I surprised about the outcome? Yes. Yes I am.
When my buddy and I headed to Arizona to watch the San Jose Sharks battle the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday, followed by attending the San Francisco 49ers @ the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football, we expected a victory in at least one of the games.
Heading into Sunday night's game, the Sharks sat at 13-2, boasting the best record in the NHL. Packed 50/50 with Teal and White jerseys vs the Red and Black, Sharks fans were louder and dominated the noise at Jobing.job arena. The Coyotes were bottom feeders in the Western Conference, and I think the Sharks completely overlooked their opponents. Sharks got beat 4-2 (last goal an empty netter). Gretzky's squad is really young and talented. Sharks have a better team, but they didn't show up. It was that simple. Blame it on three consecutive games, but the Coyote's endured the same stretch. Sharks scored early, notting two power play goals, but simply lacked any sort of offense for the next two periods. Jeremy Roenick and Bouche', both ex-Coyotes, didn't play well at all. Man, do I miss Nabokov.
Westgate plaza boasted a fantastic retail center, which included the Fox Sports Grill, YardHouse, Margaritaville and even a Piano Bar. Festivities started early on Monday afternoon, as 49er fans came out in full force. Being in Arizona, you couldn't even imagine how many 49er fans showed up to root on the 5-time Super Bowl Champions.
The house was packed at game time. I had seats on the 49ers 50 yard line, ten rows up. People were pumped for Monday Night Football. The dome was open and the place was loud. Too bad the 49ers can't seem to keep a lead. It truly broke my heart to see them lose in a game they were expected to be dominated from the get-go.
Once Allen Rossum opened up the night with a 104-yard kickoff return for TD, Cardinals fans went completely quiet. The 49ers defense is lacking a pash rush, which enabled Kurt Warner easy access down the field. The 49ers were doing really well up until the end of the 3rd quarter. I hope everyone eases up on Sean Hill. The interceptions and turnovers are still a major problem for the team. Once again the 49ers beat themselves.
The Cardinal fans talked a lot of smack before the game. Even the radio announcers for the AZ networks were already calling for the division title. That game really did seal the deal. Singeltary looked confused, even sad at sometimes. I felt bad for the guy. He sure was animal on the gridiron, but I am questioning his coaching ability. I just dont think he will make it within the 49ers organization as an HC.
Mike Martz should have called for a pass play, something to mix it up at the end. Everyone in the stadium knew the 49ers were going to run the football. It was poor game-calling at the end, and there really should be no excuses from Martz. He has experience and should have called a better game in the end.
Weather was great. Glendale has a great facility. Scottsdale was crazy and Tempe boasts the most beautiful girls I have ever seen. Would have been nice to come up with at least a W, but as I have said for the last several months now - we as Bay Area fans are being punished for some reason.
At least the 49ers looked better than they did in their previous five losses. Hill was able to slow down the offense to give the defense a rest. 49ers should be able to keep the offense rolling and make adjustments from their mistakes. The team stepped up for MNF - i must admit a better showing than last years 27-0 beating by the Seahawks.
All in all, a great trip. I hope that both teams can learn from their mistakes and continue to grow as a team for years to come.