Thursday, September 24, 2015

Paul Hofer: Great football player

Good to see Peter Hartlaub in last Sunday's Chronicle give a shout-out to Paul Hofer, a great Niner running back from days of yore. From a sidebar ("S.F. stars we wish we could see play") that doesn't appear on the online version of the story:

Paul Hofer (49ers, 1979) My favorite San Francisco 49ers player of all time was the first pro running back to thrive in Bill Walsh's innovative offense (58 receptions in 1979!) but sadly his career was disrupted by knee injuries. I saw him play briefly, but my only concrete memory is watching him on crutches on the sideline. I'd give my next five years of football watching to see Hofer play one more game.

I saw every game Hofer played for the Niners, either at Candlestick or on TV. He was a great football player! If the Niners had a decent respect for their own history, they would put together videos featuring highlights by early Niners like Hofer. (See Hartlaub's full-length tribute to Hofer from 2013: A tribute to Paul Hofer: Candlestick Park’s working class hero).

Hartlaub also singles out Hugh McElhenny:

(49ers, 1957) I've heard McElhenny was incredible to watch live, weaving back and forth on the Kezar Stadium field for 40-yard touchdowns that covered 140 yards of ground. He averaged 8 yards per carry in an injury shortened 1954 season, but we're choosing 1957---arguably the 49ers greatest season of their first 35 years.

McElhenny was a great open-field runner. The Niners haven't had one anything like him since.

McElhenny was part of a great backfield, with Y.A. Tittle, Joe Perry, and John Henry Johnson.

Kezar Stadium, December, 1957
15-year-old Rob Anderson was there.

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"You called it Rob---he's going to the SFMTA"

Yes, I called it, but it wasn't a tough call, given Muni's history of hiring anti-car bike people to run the city's transit agency. After all, the city's Transit First law was rewritten long ago to include bicycles. Advancing "better transportation options"? Gee, I wonder which "option" he means? Not surprising to learn that Bialick is "excited" to be boarding the MTA's gravy train, which is turning into a jobs program for unemployed bike people:

by Aaron Bialick

Since I announced my departure from Streetsblog, folks have asked about my next move. Well, I’m not going far: I’ve accepted a position on the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s public relations team.

In this new chapter, I’m excited about working directly on projects that advance better transportation options in the city. To start out, I’ll be working in a media relations position on Muni-related project and service announcements.

I’ll be in good company with a lot of folks I’ve gotten to know through my years of reporting on the agency’s policies and projects, some of whom have also transitioned from advocacy roles. Former Streetsblog reporter Michael Rhodes is now a Muni Forward planner, and Andy Thornley, whom I first met when I interned at the SF Bicycle Coalition in 2009, manages on-street parking programs. To my mind, when the city hires good advocates, that’s a sign of success for the movement.

I’ll be here at Streetsblog through the end of the month, and after that, you’ll still see me around. I’m changing jobs, but I’ll still be working to make San Francisco and the Bay Area more livable and sustainable.

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