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Here is a link to my Tuesday column. The full text appears below.

History isn’t over till it’s over. Now the history between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks circa 2013-2014 is officially over. Now we draw conclusions.

Richard Sherman’s play on that sad Colin Kaepernick pass that never reached Michael Crabtree that finished off the 49ers in the NFC championship game that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl is the iconic play in Seahawks history.

Call it “The Tip.” If the Seahawks had lost to the Broncos, The Tip would have been just another play, a good play, but just another play. It would have been “a tip” in lower case instead of “The Tip” in neon lights.

But the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, murdered the Denver Broncos who seemed totally unprepared for the game. Maybe they got the wrong schedule and thought the game was Monday.

Winning the Super Bowl is something the 49ers didn’t do when they had the chance, and now The Tip is a great moment in Seattle history. They should put up a statue in Pioneer Square of Sherman swatting the ball to Malcolm Smith.

Why is this historical note about The Tip important to 49ers fans?

Because the Niners were on the wrong end of The Tip. Because the Niners enabled The Tip, allowed it to happen, were the stooges in that scenario. Because The Tip is the Seahawks’ version of The Catch.

Understand what I’m saying. The 49ers, who pride themselves on The Catch as a defining moment of their rise to greatness, got “Catched” up in Seattle. And because the Niners got Catched, the Seahawks went to New Jersey where they embarrassed the Denver Broncos and cemented Peyton Manning’s reputation as a substandard postseason quarterback, where they marred Manning’s legacy even though he claims not to understand the word “legacy.” The 49ers were silent partners in all this.

I always have felt a little sorry for the Dallas Cowboys in that 1981 NFC championship game, the way they lost, the way they got embarrassed at the end — Everson Walls leaping futilely for the ball that Dwight Clark caught. I feel just as sorry for the Niners, how Crabtree never got a hand on Kaepernick’s pass, how he was a spectator to a truly great football play, Crabtree just hanging around like a loiterer in front of a candy store. If someone draws a painting of The Tip, Crabtree is a mere spectator near the margin of the canvas.

I can’t help thinking Jim Harbaugh, terrific coach in his own right, was the victim of The Tip. Harbaugh seems to get victimized at iconic moments. Bill Walsh never seemed to be the victim of the iconic play. Because of The Tip, the 49ers have become Dallas.

Whatever you think of Sherman — he acted badly after the Seahawks beat the 49ers — discussing his series of rants is off the point. It amounts to discussing mere etiquette. There is very little etiquette in pro football. Harbaugh rants nonstop at the officials. When I once asked about his conduct during games, he laughed at me and used the word “etiquette” as a pejorative, like it is a silly and irrelevant concept.

So, sure, Sherman screwed up but it was mere etiquette. What matters is he made the football play, The Tip.

I’ll tell you something else that matters. Kaepernick showed up in New York during Super Bowl Week. One morning, he made the rounds of radio interviews, spoke to broadcasters and reporters until he was blue in the face. That he dove into interviews was news in itself. “It talks!” He was on some kind of political junket, shining up his image. He responded to Sherman more than a week too late. Talk about missing the moment.

And during those interviews, he repeatedly put his foot in it. Define “it” any way you want. He said if he had it to do over, he would throw that final woebegone pass to Crabtree, or to “Crab,” as he calls No. 15. He said any time Crab is covered one on one by anyone, even Sherman, he’s going to No. 15.

That brings us back to history. Kaepernick is a history repeater, a serial historic loser. He threw three times to Crab to lose the Super Bowl, and he threw to Crab to lose the NFC championship. And he just doesn’t learn from history. He even brags about it.

He swears he did the right thing. He says the pass was a foot too short, implying next time — if there is a next time — the pass will be just the right amount of feet. Note to Colin: Joe Montana throws that pass exactly the right amount of feet the first time. See The Catch. Montana has no need to discuss the proper number of feet.

So, we conclude our discussion with this. Kaepernick made The Tip possible. Kaepernick contributed to the iconic play in Seattle Seahawks’ history. Kaepernick swears he would throw that pass again. There is something iconic about that, too. Or do I mean, ironic?

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.press

democrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

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Comments

17 Comments

  1. Niners in 2012

    Sherman keeps getting all the credit because he’s a big mouth, look at me type. But Malcolm Smith deserves most the credit for that play. Just watch where he started the play from, his normal middle linebacker position. He read the play and book’d it to the endzone, had the insticts to run to the ball and was there to make the play. If he’s not there, that ball falls harmlessly to the ground and it’s 2nd down.

    February 3rd, 2014 11:35 pm

  2. Dr. Feelgood

    Can you identify when the culture of trash-talking began to erode sportsmanship as a virtue? It’s now so pervasive. Still, the majority of players know how to win and to lose, with grace, know that disparaging a defeated foe is in very poor taste.
    Such a excellent football game for the NFC title, and we’re left with this BS to linger over. Sad.
    I cannot define when good etiquette began to decay in the league, nor in all sports, but do know when it happened to the Niners. It was Ken Norton Jr throwing haymakers at the goal post after some random, good defensive play. Prior to that, when the Niners scored a TD, when they put up a goal-line stand, they were very professional. They left the field and got ready for the next play. It was all about team, not individual.

    February 4th, 2014 12:45 am

  3. PhD

    Tippy Canoe and Colin too.

    February 4th, 2014 12:53 am

  4. Steve

    Iconic or ironic?

    I think the word you’re looking for is “idiotic”.

    February 4th, 2014 2:59 am

  5. Dennis

    “a serial historic loser” – seriously? That makes you sound like you don’t know what you are talking about and I know better. Kaepernick hasn’t been around long enough to make that judgment. The term might better fit Tom Brady or Peyton Manning over the last 10 years. Go ahead and call them serial historic losers and see how that works.

    February 4th, 2014 7:50 am

  6. Brett

    Feeling sorry for Dallas in 81′? Not a chance Lowell. Not bying it here. I would like to get real for a bit. Montana’s throw to Clark was eisier than Kap’s throw to Crab. Still it had to be perfect due to the defence. It was a much longer pass. Sherman had to play it perfect or Kap had to throw it one fool longer. There is two ways we could have one that game on that play. A foot further or a sherman stumble. Those are pretty good odds. Still – I don’t think that play should have been called at that time. Kaps only got a little blood on his hands as there is plenty to go around.

    February 4th, 2014 8:24 am

  7. Ben

    I’m no great fan of Kaepernick. His attitude toward fans, via the media, has been a big turn-off, and his inability to go through basic progressions in the passing game is hard to watch. That said, I understood his comments about “the tip” play much differently than you. By saying “if I had thrown it a foot farther”, I read that as him taking accountability. If he’d said “if only Crabtree had come back for it”, then he’d be putting his foot in his mouth and trying to deflect blame.

    February 4th, 2014 8:31 am

  8. Dan

    Colin Kaepernick may be the 49ers version of Tony Romo.

    February 4th, 2014 8:40 am

  9. Steve Smith

    Kaepernick is awful. 18-6 regular season record and 4-2 playoff record. I think the 49ers should cut him tomorrow I bet he wind up in the arena league. Especially he is no Joe Montana. I remember the 81 super bowl when Joe went in at linebacker and stopped the bengals at the 1. Or in 1984 when he was playing cornerback and was part of holding Marino to 16 points. Or in 1988 when he played multiple positions on defense and held the bears and bengals from scoring an offensive touchdown in the nfc championship and the super bowl. If you guys want to point blame at players for the 49ers miscues over the last 3 years look at Whitner, Rogers, and T Brown. 3rd and long 26 yard td pass to mario manningham. The bomb Flacco threw to Jacoby Jones in the SB or the other 2 td passes they gave up in that game. 4th and 6 from the Seahawks 38 yard line and to give up a TD on that play. In 3 of the 4 super bowls montana won the 49ers D gave up 1 td in 84 and 1 in 89. The one td in 88 was on a punt or kick return can’t remember so the last 3 sb’s the defense gave up an average of 14 pts a game. What I am trying to say teams win not qb’s, young would have won more but his defense stunk till 94 then after that they never replaced Waters. But if Kaepernick is that bad I believe Ken Dorsey, Tim Rattay, JT OSullivan, and Sean Hill are available.

    February 4th, 2014 9:26 am

  10. Mark M

    More silly mind numbing comparisons to our great legacy years. It’s as if there is only one way to win, to repeat history, to be Joe, to be Bill, Jerry, Roger, etc….

    These guys have to write their own history, not worry about measuring up to an impossible standard like that of our dynasty years. If Harbaugh wastes two minutes of his time worrying about things like this, he’s doing a disservice to the current team and fan base.

    February 4th, 2014 9:34 am

  11. Rob

    Glenn Dickey on Kaepernick, telling it as it is and should be–

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/49ers-should-wait-before-extending-colin-kaepernicks-contract/Content?oid=2695681

    February 4th, 2014 9:34 am

  12. Brett

    2012 – good point

    Steve Smith – put the pipe down

    February 4th, 2014 10:41 am

  13. Stan

    I’ve deduced that Kap needs a puppy. Teach him responsibility. Compassion. Something to round off that chip on his shoulder that likes flashy cars and flashy clothes and tells the media “get off my back”.
    Or a wife. Sometimes that works too…

    February 4th, 2014 11:21 am

  14. Stan

    Everytime they show “the tip”, I wonder why Crabtree didn’t pull up and fight for the ball? After the SB..and this season,HE KNOWS Kap tends to be short..that should have been an advantage to Crabtree to know. But he blindly acted just as if the SB had never happened the year before.

    Ain’t anybody on the 49ers who ever heard of Santayana?

    “The Life of Reason” needs to be passed around 49ers HQ…Roman,Kap,Crabs,Balkee.. Jim. He could fit in to his Shakespeare quotes. For the next year.

    February 4th, 2014 11:42 am

  15. mike

    Steve – Since you want to dig deep into the annals of Niner QB history, where are Steve Bono, Jim Druckenmiller and Giovanni Carmazzi?

    February 4th, 2014 12:53 pm

  16. Stan

    As soon as Crabtree heard “The fade” was called..HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN READY for it to be short. Sherman’s description of Crab not having top 20 WR skills fits what we saw. Well,maybe not top ten.

    February 4th, 2014 1:34 pm

  17. Phil

    I am done reading you Lowell Cohn. Last month CK7 was the greatest talent in the NFL and now he’s a bum. I think all you sports writers are full of it. I am tucking thus little article away in my top drawer and will pull it out when CK7 leads the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory, so we can all watch you eat your words.

    February 4th, 2014 9:02 pm

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