The read-option offense, once a promising innovation in the NFL, died quietly Sunday in San Francisco before 69,732 witnesses, who did not notice.
The faddish strategy expired shortly after it was trotted out for one play by the 49ers and QB Colin Kaepernick, who was once the read-option’s closest friend and working partner.
Cause of death was listed as hardening of the hearts of NFL coaches toward the read-option.
“We were never comfortable with that thing around,” said a coach. “It made us surrender too much control. It scared us.”
The NFL read-option was born Nov. 6, 2011, in Oakland, when Denver quarterback Tim Tebow used it to beat the Raiders 38-24. Tebow passed as if he was using his wrong arm, but he ran for 118 yards even though the Raiders had prepared to stop the option. A monster was born.
However, Tebow proved a deficient parent. His amateurish passing repulsed “experts,” and when he won games with his legs, coaches struggled to take credit. Plus, Tebow’s an odd guy and coaches prefer “normal” quarterbacks.
Coaches never came to terms with the read-option, whether employed by Tebow or later by quarterbacks like Kaepernick and the Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor. Victories were labeled flukes, and there was a “gimmicky” stigma attached to the offense.
Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle
Scott Kazmir is about to join a unique club, signing a two-year, $22 million deal with the Athletics.
It’s not the worst deal in the world. It would come as no surprise if Kazmir does well in Oakland. Fly ball pitchers tend to have an advantage in Okaland — where the deep center field takes away homers and the acres of foul territory gives you a few extra outs.
But the A’s choice to sign him is striking. Not because he spent 2012 in Texas pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters. But because Kazmir is the latest in a exclusive group of players to get $10 million in a season from the A’s.
Nothing against Kazmir, per se. But it’s hard not to question this move if you just consider the Athletics history of big contracts. Oakland’s favorite small market team, perennially crying poor, every now and then splurges on a player via signing or trade. And such forays into the luxury shopping always seem to induce the same head-scratching reaction.
Check out this list of players who made at least $10 million in a season, dating back to 2000.
2003 – Jermaine Dye ($11.7 million).
2004 – Jermaine Dye ($11.7 million).
2005 – Jason Kendall ($10.6 million).
2006 – Jason Kendall ($11.6 million).
2007 – Jason Kendall ($13.4 million).
2008 – Frank Thomas ($12.6 million) and Eric Chavez ($11.5 million).
2009 – Matt Holliday ($13.5 million) and Eric Chavez ($11.5 million).
2010 – Eric Chavez ($12.5 million) and Ben Sheets ($10 million)
2014 – Yoenis Cespedes ($10.5) and Scott Kazmir ($11 million)
–Marcus Thompson II, San Jose Mercury News
She’s there, every game, every season.
Sleep Train Arena. Section 120, row C, seat 1.
From Reggie Theus to Isaiah Thomas. From Dick Motta to Michael Malone. From 17-win seasons to the Western Conference finals. Barbara Rust, better known as the Sign Lady, has seen it all as she has faithfully taken her seat since 1985 to cheer on the Kings.
The only thing able to keep Rust out of her seat is her battle with breast cancer, which forced her to miss the Kings’ home preseason games. But only 10 days after lumpectomy surgery, Rust and her husband, Niko, were back in their seats – her beloved Kings serving as the best medicine.
The Kings organization and players have rallied around Rust, offering her support and honoring her during the team’s Pink in the Paint breast cancer awareness night in October, though she was unable to attend. Her fellow fans, some of them her former kindergarten students, also have offered Rust their support.
–Victor Conteras, Sacramento Bee