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What happened to the San Francisco 49ers?

Posted on December 19, 2014

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the 4th quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

 

Two weeks ago I had an assignment from Sports Illustrated to shoot a local NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders at the Coliseum in Oakland. The 49ers were stumbling through a disappointing season, barely keeping their heads above the .500 mark, and the Raiders had won only one game all year. My job? Take pictures of 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh looking mad and sad for a possible upcoming story about his team having a bad season, and him getting fired/traded. I also had to shoot his quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been having his own struggles this season. This was my first NFL game of the year, and I was excited for the opportunity. I was also super pumped that it was not going to rain!

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers warms up on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers warms up on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

I got to the comfortable shit hole that is the Oakland Coliseum three hours early with my trusty assistant, local wine maker Jim Heiser. Before long I was on the field waiting for Kaepernick to begin warming up. I wanted to make sure I was there to shoot everything the young Niners QB did before the game, so my editor would have plenty of images to choose from. I also wanted to be ready when coach Harbaugh took the field for the first time.

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers talks to fans on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers walks on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers throws passes on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Going into this game I had a feeling the 49ers would lose. Even though the Raiders were having a historically bad season I knew the team and their fans would be fired up for this game. The 49ers came stumbling into the contest after an embarrassing loss at home to the rival Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving night. The weather was working for me, now I needed the Raiders to play well so I could get some pictures of the Niners looking bad.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers runs on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

It can be very difficult getting close to an NFL head coach on the sidelines during a game. Just being able to see him through a small crack between all of the frauds, hangers-on, and morons near the bench area can be a real struggle. Luckily I was shooting the 49ers on the road in Oakland, so they did not have as many sideline passes to give away to the frauds, hangers-on, and morons as they would for a home game. This was good for me as I was able to get some good looks at the coach for most of the game.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers in action during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers in action during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers gets up after being sacked during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers studies plays on the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

It was a challenge bouncing around between shooting the coach and shooting the action on the field, but once I got into a rhythm it all came together. As the game headed into the 4th quarter the Raiders were ahead, and since the 49ers never seem to score much in the second half in 2014 the game appeared to be locked up. All that was left for me to do was continue to shoot coach, who instead of screaming and yelling much more ended up looking sad and defeated, like his team.

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers coaches his team from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers and Derek Carr the Oakland Raiders meet on the field after the game at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers walks off the field after the game at O.co Coliseum on Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

By the time the Coliseum clock that legendary Fremont High School basketball coach Leo Allamano used to operate hit :00 the Raiders were on top 24-13. The Niners season was basically over, and coach Harbaugh was one step closer to being shown the door.

I don’t know how it will happen, but one thing is for sure. When training camp opens up in Santa Clara in July of 2015, in the shadows of the new stadium that has had such a disastrous maiden campaign, there will be a new sheriff in town. And maybe a new gunslinger. Stay tuned.

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