Kyle Shanahan Said His Young Players Don't Appreciate the 49ers-Cowboy Rivalry or Get His Wedding Crashers References
As someone in a similar line of work as an NFL Head Coach (long-term substitute civics teacher), I completely understand where 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is coming from here. It sucks when you make a solid reference that goes completely over somebody's head. Even though they're the one who is wrong, you end up feeling like an idiot.
I've worked in both urban and suburban schools, and it's the same in both. It blows my mind how little this generation knows about anything that happened before they were born. I'm sure people have said that about the generation below them since the beginning of time, but most of those people had valid excuses. It was hard to learn about the past when you had to work in the textile mill at nine years old. Plus, in the grand scheme of humanity, home-viewing is still a relatively new phenomenon, even though it's unrecognizable to its original form. Before the introduction of Betamax and VHS in the mid-70s, if you didn't see a movie when it was in theaters, you probably never saw it. Yeah, there were second-time-around theaters, but when you're stressing about the Cold War, I'm sure you've got better things to do. I wouldn't fault a 22-year-old in 1960 for not getting a reference to Casablanca, but with modern technology, there's never been more access to information. Maybe I'm just more attached to them since they were the hit comedies of my formative years, but being like 22 is not a valid excuse to have never seen overly-quoted movies like Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Superbad, and The Hangover, or at the very least know where the reference originates. I get it, everybody is different, and millions of factors contribute to everybody's reference toolbox, but come on! I'm notorious for not seeing "classic" movies, like I've never seen Jaws, but if someone says, "We're gonna need a bigger boat," I know wtf they're talking about because I'm proficient in popular culture.
Now I'm 30, which depending on who I talk to, means I either have one foot in the casket, or my life hasn't even truly begun! But during my younger days, I was aware of what happened before my mom pushed me out over a 24 hour period. So were my friends. I even sought out information about the past with hit shows like I Love the 80s (wanna hear something gross? That series debuted in December of 2002, which means they aired closer to the 80s than right now) and these things called books.
I can sympathize with Shanahan for having a great reference go over some youngsters' heads. Just the other day, I made what I thought was a solid reference to Tommy Boy that went completely unrecognized.
No niner was caught in there :(
I'm sure Shanahan makes the same references over and over again like kids in my 8th-grade class who thought reciting a quote meant you were funny. I bet Kyle has driven "Rule #76: No excuses, play like a champion" into the ground like his father did to Terrell Davis, but in defense of these uncultured youths, maybe it's time to look yourself in the mirror and realize just because you wear a trucker hat with a microscopic logo, that doesn't mean you're hip anymore. 2005 was 17 years ago.
If you're addressing a group of young athletes from every nook and cranny of Florida, Texas, California, and maaybe Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, it might be time to switch it up and take "You know how they say we only use 10 percent of our brains? I think we only use 10 percent of our hearts." out of your rotation. If you're going over tackling and say "tattoo on the lower back? might as well be a bullseye," a bunch of kids who know TikTok as an app and not K$sha banger might be confused and be like, "wtf is this dude talking about?"
As much as I disrespect gen Z's complete and total disregard for history, I can't really blame them for not appreciating the 49ers-Cowboys rivalry. Like, if you didn't live through Brady-Manning with Pats-Colts in the 2000s, you're likely not gonna appreciate that rivalry, especially if it fizzled out by the time you got into sports. Those emotions of sports don't transfer like laughs from a movie. It's much easier to laugh at something than understand all the nuances of what went into the 1994 NFC Championship Game.
The Catch was literally 40+ years ago. Troy Aikman and Steve Young are announcers/media personalities to these "kids." More importantly, the Cowboys haven't been to an NFC Championship Game since 1995. I'm sure a few young guys on each team have a decent understanding of NFL history, but the Cowboys have been the face of playoff futility for over a quarter-century. It's all they've ever known. The Pittsburgh Pirates used to win World Series too, but 19-year-old kids in AA probably aren't up to date with Willie Stargell's star system.
I feel like I've been sort of all over the place, but my point is just because something happened before you were born doesn't mean you have an excuse to be ignorant to significant moments in history. When I was in 8th grade, my social studies teacher told us that one of the most important reasons to learn about history was to understand jokes, which has stuck with me ever since. You need to have some semblance of history to get jokes and references. I think both parties involved deserve a little blame. Kyle, you gotta know your audience and update your reffies and dumb young players; you gotta learn that the world was spinning long before you showed up. Use the millions of streaming options to catch up on the classics and maybe stream some old NFL Films on Youtube instead of Euphoria.