Lost amid all the talk of cautious offenses and starting quarterbacks yesterday was this juicy little nugget: Owen Pochman has written an autobiography. I probably don't need to refresh your memory, for every long-suffering 49ers fan will recall the name "Pochman" the way Capt. Kirk remembers the name "KAHN!!" Owen Pochman, you see, could very well be the worst 49er. Ever.
I know what you're thinking. What about draft busts like Reggie McGrew or players who committed catastrophic blunders like Preston Riley? Sure, arguments can be made, but you'd be wasting your time. For no player has created so much destruction in as short amount of time as Pochman, who was picked up midseason in 2003 to replace Jeff Chandler. It should be noted that Chandler had made 6 of 7 field goals that season before getting the hook.
Oh, it started well for young Owen. He made four field goals in a 13-12 loss against the Browns in Week 3. Then things went a tad askew. He missed a field goal in one-point loss to the Seahawks, missed another the following week against the Detroit Lions and then missed three in a win over Tampa Bay.
The spectacular flameout, however, came the next week in Arizona. He missed two field goals and an extra point against the lowly Cardinals and, oh yeah, his kickoff in overtime went out of bounds. He also managed to alienate the 49ers' lockerroom in just six little weeks. Chidi Ahanotu, at the time a 33-year-old defensive lineman, said Pochman used the team's hot and cold tubs as if he was vacationing at Club Med and there even were reports that he used them while in the buck, a no-no in NFL lockerrooms.
The late Roger Phillips (he's not dead, just no longer on the beat) joked that, in just a matter of weeks, Pochman managed to tear down a franchise that Bill Walsh spent a quarter-century building up. If Pochman makes a few field goals, maybe the 49ers squeak into the playoffs. Instead, they limp to a 7-9 record that year, the triumvirate of Terrell Owens, Jeff Garcia and Garrison Hearst is banished and the 49ers haven't had a legitimate offense since. Maybe Rog was right.
Anyway, Pochman's book is called "I'm Just a Kicker." He published it himself, which explains all the spelling errors. Dan Brown, another former beat writer who was covering the 49ers that fateful season, reviewed the book yesterday in the Merc. Heck of a job, Brownie. So pick up (or rip up) a copy of "I'm Just a Kicker." It might make a good Christmas present for that Cowboys, Raiders or Rams fan in your life.
-- Matt Barrows