Niners assistant shouted on his way out of Seattle
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Just what that sounds like depends on the situation, because saying those words on Sunday morning to a house full of family is very different than shouting it while walking through an opponent's stadium after winning a close game that formally extinguished that opponent's playoff chances.
Yes, shouted. That's what one of the 49ers assistant coaches did as he left the coaches box on the suite level at CenturyLink Field Saturday afternoon. Then he shouted it again, plenty of bass in the voice and an edge to the tone that made the intentions pretty clear. The 49ers had won a hard-fought game 19-17, and now a 49ers employees was walking through a work space that included a number of Seahawks employees and spreading a little Christmas jeer.
Now before the story continues, let me clearly state that I am not attaching judgment to what occurred, but trying to describe what did occur. I am not attaching any adjectives to the behavior or denoting it as good or poor sportsmanship. It did not offend me, it did not anger me, but it did raise my reporter's curiosity. I have not seen nor heard anything like that in my time covering the NFL.
In seven years covering the Seahawks on a daily basis, I have now been present for 56 regular-season NFL games in Seattle, five additional playoff games and 52 regular-season games in other stadiums.
I have heard coaches or other team employees shout in spontaneous reaction to a play, either in celebration or frustration to play. I have heard what sounded very much like someone banging on a wall or a table. But I have never heard -- after a game -- a member of a coaching staff shouting what came across as a taunt whether it's at home or on the road.
Since the event struck me as unusual, I decided to try and discern who exactly said it. I saw San Francisco's coaches walking to the elevator reserved for the coaches in the final few minutes of the game. Some of the Seahawks assistants were already in there.
"Who was it that shouted?" I asked of the four 49ers assistants who were in the elevator.
"There were a lot of people shouting," said one of the 49ers staffers.
Nope, I said. It sure sounded like it was just one guy.
"Was it you?" I asked the assistant who had responded.
I wanted to be able to say which coach had shouted.
"Who are you?" the assistant asked.
I identified myself as a reporter and said that I just wanted to properly attribute the statement to the individual who said it. At this point, the elevator operator indicated the questioning was at an end, the door closed, the coaches descending down to field level.
Now, since the coach never gave his name, I can't tell you for sure who I talked to. I can tell you that judging from the 49ers' Web site I am fairly sure it was Michael Christianson, who is identified as San Francisco's coordinator of football technology and offensive quality control coach. Don Ruiz, a Tacoma News Tribune reporter who saw the exchange at the elevator concurred the coach I talked to was Christianson, and he said he saw him shout at least once.
Update: Kevin Lynch, long-time beat reporter in the Bay Area, reported the coach was Greg Roman, offensive coordinator. Mike Sando of ESPN.com also thought it was Roman, who does call the team's plays from the press box and is shorter.
And maybe the coach should be taken at his word, and he was offering the sincerest holiday greetings and the emotion of the moment made it come out differently. Or maybe it was exactly what it sounded like: a coach crowing on his way out.
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