Category Archives: Dear…

Improvements and a Milestone

By Kevin York

Dear readers,

You may have noticed over the past couple days that The Couchletes site is looking a little different. Over the weekend we migrated from a free community server to a privately hosted one. This move will allow us to make some aesthetic changes to the site to improve your reading experience. You may have already noticed a few of these changes, like a wider post column. Now our posts, which sometimes get lengthy, are more spread out and don’t stretch as long vertically, which previously forced you to scroll and scroll and scroll. We also are able to add a ‘Continue Reading’ link to those long posts from the homepage so that you’re able to view more of our recent posts on the homepage.

Unfortunately, we experienced an unintended downside to the move – our subscription feeds were changed. If you were previously subscribing to The Couchletes, either by email or by a feed, you’ll need to re-subscribe. That can be done on the right side of the homepage. We know that’s not ideal and we apologize for any inconveniences.

A recent content change we’ve made is the addition of Quick Slants, daily short-form posts that touch on current popular topics. Like I mentioned earlier, we know that some of our posts, while thorough, can get pretty long. Quick Slants offset our regular posts by giving you shorter, more quickly digestible posts. Yes, we’re now publishing multiple posts per day. We’re like a “real” site. Well, almost.

In the coming weeks you’ll notice additional changes to the site, all designed to improve things on your end. Please bear with us as we make these improvements. We really appreciate all of you who keep coming back to the site.

I’m also happy to report that yesterday we reached a milestone. Why the 49ers Should Let Dashon Goldson Walk was our 100th post. Yes, we’re just surprised as you are that we’ve made it this far. We couldn’t have done it without all of you actually reading what we publish. Apparently there really are people interested in what we have to say.

Lastly, we’ve added two new authors to the site. Josh and Jeff each published their first posts recently. Josh questioning if the NFL has reached the peak of its popularity and Jeff assessing the current state of his Dallas Cowboys. Exciting things are happening here at The Couchletes and we hope you continue this ride with us.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york
You can contact Kevin at

Dear Roger Goodell

Dear Roger,

I’m a huge fan of NFL football. I have been my entire life. I’m a Packer fan, but I’ll watch any NFL game. I’ve just always enjoyed the final product that much. My dad’s a Bears fan, but I can remember as a kid watching lots of different games with him Sunday afternoons and Sunday nights – Broncos, Steelers, 49ers. As a family, we always had the Lions and Cowboys games on TV during Thanksgiving gatherings. Me (a Packers fan), my dad and brother (Bears fans) and my uncle (a Colts fan) would watch the games together, regardless of who was playing. You see, it didn’t matter who was playing. We just loved football.

When you became NFL commissioner, I thought you were a great choice. I may have been slightly biased. I’m a PR guy. You started as a PR guy. It gave all of us PR guys the thought, the hope, that we could actually have a sports management job at some point in our career. Of course we were dreaming, but you gave guys like me hope. Your first few years as commissioner, you showed that my initial instinct about you was right. I thought you did a great job.

Through three games of this season, you now have me questioning you as a good commissioner. Actually it’s not a question. You’re blowing it. You’ll now be remembered for this more than any of the good you’ve done for the league. This situation with the lockout of the NFL refs has shown a different side of you. It’s not an issue of bettering the game. It’s an ego situation for you (and your owners).

Last night was the most embarrassing situation I’ve seen from the NFL, ever. Worse than bountygate, even worse than when you locked out the players last summer. Last night directly affected the outcome of a game. It affected records. It affected standings. It could affect the playoff picture. And you caused all of this by allowing it to get to this point. Sure, you answer to owners, but you’re also supposed to be a negotiator, someone who looks out for the best interests of the league when owners get focused only on themselves and their team.

Roger, I’m not just talking about that final play, when I say it was an embarrassing situation. You remember, it though, right? The final play? Green Bay safety MD Jennings intercepted Russell Wilson’s hail mary, but your officiating crew gave the touchdown to Golden Tate, a receiver who shoved Packer cornerback Sam Shields to the ground (I believe that’s offensive pass interference, but what do I know?), then got one hand on the ball that Jennings held in both hands and cradled against his chest (that’s possession based on my understanding of football…). No, I’m going further back – the roughing the passer call against Green Bay linebacker Erik Walden (he hit Russell Wilson as the ball was leaving Wilson’s hands – clean hit) and the pass interference call against Shields when he was defending Sidney Rice against a pass down the sideline (Rice actually interfered with the pass on that one, grabbing Shields’ collar and pushing off his head). Those were both blown calls that extended and influenced (via field position…) Seattle’s penultimate and final drives of the game. And it’s not just me saying those were the wrong calls. Jon Gruden, Mike Tirico, Steve Young and Trent Dilfer agreed with both. The whole game was poorly officiated, but those really stuck out as having great influence over the outcome.

It was a slow buildup to this point over the course of the season. The first two weeks showed mistakes, some being fairly large; however, this third week of the season was by far the worst. The replacement refs have affected game momentum (and by extension, games, to a degree) and last night they finally affected the outcome of a game. You affected the outcome of a game.

What you’ve done, what you’ve allowed, and your owners have allowed, is an erosion of the integrity of the game. This isn’t the game we all came to love. Sure, last night’s game directly affected me as a Packer fan, but it goes beyond the Green Bay fan base. The NFC West will be very competitive this year, so so an extra win for Seattle has implications for San Francisco and Arizona. And who knows which team will be affected by poor officiating next week? They had a noticeable affect on the Baltimore-New England game Sunday night too.

You’ve also insulted our intelligence as fans. Don’t tell us there’s no noticeable difference between the real refs and the replacements. We’re smart enough to see it. That’s a slap in the face.

But what can we do as fans? You have all the power. You and your owners. We can’t stand up to that. Or can we?

We actually can, to a degree. As long as you see no change from the fans, you won’t feel any need to change – “they keep watching, why change? Why cave in to the refs?” Well, guess what? I’m not watching anymore. Not until you bring back the real refs that we, as fans, deserve. I’ll read about games online or in the newspaper. I’ll get my information from sources where you don’t get a cut of the advertising money. Christmas is approaching. I have a lot of fans I typically buy NFL merchandise for as gifts – brother, dad, fiancee, future father in law, future nephews, friends, friend’s kids. They won’t be receiving anything having to do with the NFL from me. They’ll get other gifts this year. Maybe I’ll put my money toward the NBA or Major League Baseball. You won’t be receiving any of my money until this ends.

Sure, I’m only one guy, and even with encouraging my friends to follow my lead and take a stand, it won’t be noticeable to you. It’s a small group, not even a blip on your radar. But that doesn’t matter to me. The integrity of the game matters to me. The professionalism. The accuracy. The accountability. I won’t be a part of this mockery. Call me when you bring the real refs back.

Kevin York

RE: Dear Kevin

Dear Rahul,

Thanks for your little “letter” to me. I have quite a bit to say in response, so thought it would be best to reply in a blog post rather than a lengthy comment.

Yes, the 49ers won the game. Yes, they looked good, better than the Packers. And yes, I did say the Packers would win.

To say San Francisco “ran all over” the Packers defense isn’t saying much though. You do realize that Green Bay had the worst defense in the league last year, right? Although there was a lot of pre-season hype about this year’s version of that defense being much improved, there wasn’t much evidence of that on Sunday. In fact, the defense actually looked worse. After a lot of thought put into it Sunday night, I came to the conclusion that the Green Bay defensive personnel may not actually fit the 3-4 scheme its playing. The defensive line isn’t taking up the space they’re supposed to and is making the two middle linebackers defend much more rushing territory than they should be.

Additionally, the outside linebackers, while solid pass rushers, simply can’t cover the flats. This is why Alex Smith looked like a Pro Bowler on Sunday. He was throwing a lot of slants and outs. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry simply aren’t quick enough laterally to adequately defend the flats. The runs and dinks and dumps by San Francisco dominated the clock.

Onto your comparison of the San Francisco running game against the Green Bay running game. Uh, there’s no real comparison there. The Packers really attempted nine runs in that game. The box score shows more attempts, but those additional ones were scrambles and broken plays, not real attempts. Comparing the two teams’ running games is like comparing my hair to yours. One is abundant and flowing. The other, well, is an attempt to be there, but…

Rodgers did throw for a ton of yards, but didn’t really look like himself until the final 8 minutes of the game. In fact, the entire Green Bay offense didn’t look like itself until the very end. Was this due to good defense? Somewhat, but not entirely…more on that later.

What I’m really saying with my responses to you is that you shouldn’t get too cocky. We discovered that the Packers were overrated going into the game. Very overrated. So enjoy it for now, but keep some perspective. Over the past few years, the teams that have been hot at the beginning of the year, were not so hot come playoff time – including my Packers last year.

Since you decided to get arrogant about one win, one win….in the first week of the season…, I’ll bring a few things up that might want to make you think twice about how loud you brag about one win. Most of these are deeper issues that may not be obvious to a lot of people. They stuck out to me. I see things that you may not (During the Washington-New Orleans game I commented to my fiancee that the Redskins seemed to be running a modified version of RGIII’s college offense, helping him feel comfortable and leading to his great showing. On Monday, Trent Dilfer made the same comment, almost verbatim on ESPN).

-The referees. That officiating crew was without a doubt the worst one I’ve ever seen. There were so many missed calls, a number of which I’ll touch on lower down this list. Yes, they made bad calls both ways (indeed, they gave the Packers a free touchdown on that Randall Cobb punt return), but for the first 50 minutes of the game, they made (or didn’t make…) bad calls that greatly benefited the 49ers.

-Joe Staley and the referees part II. How many times was that guy allowed to false start? I counted four times on just one drive. A real officiating crew would’ve called those and put some kinks in those long Niner drives. But think beyond game one because, yes, it’s over and it doesn’t matter now. The strength of your offensive line might have some problems when he visits loud stadiums. Lambeau isn’t that loud compared with some other places. Good luck when you visit CenturyLink Field, the Edward Jones Dome and the Superdome. Those places are LOUD.

-Carlos Rogers and the referees part III. Rogers underperformed for his first six season in the league then suddenly had a pro bowl season in his seventh season. After watching his performance against Green Bay I have to ask, was last year a fluke? Did the rest of the defense make Rogers look much better than what he actually is? I ask because the 31 year old looked like he’s lost a step (or two). The wannabe referees missed countless pass interference calls against San Francisco. I felt like every couple minutes when Green Bay was on offense there was a missed call against San Francisco’s secondary. And if you really watched closely, you would’ve seen that a majority of those calls would’ve gone against Rogers – of course, if the referee crew had been a real one, these would’ve been called. If I were an opposing offensive coordinator, I would target Rogers.

-Alex Smith. You said you’re no Alex Smith fan. You probably don’t want to jump on that bandwagon just yet. As I mentioned earlier, Green Bay’s weak defense opened up the flats and also the middle of the field (one of Green Bay’s starting middle linebackers, Desmond Bishop, is hurt and missed the game) to be vulnerable to short slants and outs. That was where Smith did most of his damage – not on deep routes (still his weak spot). Most 3-4 defenses in the NFL are actually built to defend well against that type of passing attack.

-Injuries. San Francisco had remarkable luck in not facing any major injury issues last year. Their depth was never really tested. That type of luck rarely is seen two years in a row. As we get deeper into the season, let’s see how good the Niner reserves are.

I’m not trying to burst your bubble. Ok, yes I am. Coming from a formerly cocky fan, you may want to be careful how arrogant you get over one win in the first week of the season.

Your angry, bitter neighborhood Packers fan

Dear Kevin

Dear Kevin,

It was great to watch the second half of the Packers and 49ers game with you. My Sunday afternoon was awesome. Not only did the 49ers win their season opener against the top seed Green Bay Packers, I won the season opener in our fantasy league. What do Rahul and the 49ers have in common? They’re 1-0. I know you and I didn’t play each other in fantasy this week, but it was symbolic. I beat last year’s number one seed in our league just like my 49ers did. Not to mention, you love the Packers and told me there was no way the Packers would lose at home against the 49ers.

I really enjoyed watching the 49ers run all over the Packers D. If I’m not mistaken, even Kaepernick ran for 17 yards. That’s a little over a third of what the Packers rushed for as a whole. Benson ran for 18 yards. Oh, before I forget, I would like to thank the Packer that pushed Gore into the end zone. I don’t know who it was, but I want them to know that I appreciate it.

As expected Rodgers threw for a ton of yards. Weird though, Rodgers threw for 90 more yards but he ended the game with 1 turnover and a rating of 93. I’m no Alex Smith fan but, even you have to agree that something isn’t right when Alex Smith has zero turnovers against the Packers with a rating of 125. Right?

I have Greg Jennings on my fantasy team too. Unfortunately, he had a quiet game and suffered a groin injury. However, the true beauty of this game was that I could actually cheer for the Packers and Jennings without worrying about the 49ers losing the game. I think the 49ers lead by 2 scores for 75% of the game. Again, I had a great Sunday and Week 1.

Hopefully we can do this again soon. Good luck on Thursday.

You’re friendly neighborhood 49er fan.