Niners, Raiders and Mario Mendoza

The 49ers are a popular preseason pick to win the NFC West. The Raiders are projected by many to move from The Worst Team of the 21st Century to, possibly, kind of mediocre.

If the pundits are accurate, the seven-season nightmare endured by NFL fans in the Bay Area could soon be over.

Tonight’s meeting between these teams is a reminder (as if one was needed) of how fans have suffered since 2002. You know all the low points: Zero playoff appearances. Zero winning seasons. Rashaun Woods. A combined winning percentage of .308.

But in sifting through the post-2002 rubble it is stunning how much comically bad football has been witnessed.

Here are some tidbits (not included in the 49ers’ or Raiders’ pregame notes):

• The Colts have a .795 regular-season winning percentage since 2003. In order to reach that figure, you must add the Raiders’ winning percentage (.258 since ’03), plus the 49ers’ (.357), plus something else really crummy. How about Mario Mendoza’s .180 batting average in 1975?

• In 2005, before he was benched and traded, Tim Rattay led the Niners with five TD passes, the same number Donovan McNabb had in a 42-3 win against SF in Week 2 of that season. The Niners finished the season with eight TD passes, went six games without a passing TD and went 46 consecutive possessions without a TD of any kind.

• The Raiders have had five coaches since 2003. The Steelers have had six coaches since 1963.

• In 2005, the 49ers were outgained by 2,672 yards, setting an NFL record. The 2008 Lions, the only 0-16 team in NFL history, were outgained by 494 fewer yards.

• Raiders wide receivers combined for 82 catches in 2008, nearly matching the output of Redskins tight end Chris Cooley (83).

• Tom Walsh was the Raiders offensive coordinator in 2006. Prior to joining the Raiders, Walsh (all together now) was running a bed-and-breakfast inn in Swan Valley, Idaho, and had not been employed by an NFL team in 12 years. Walsh was stripped of his play-calling duties after 11 games.

• OK, stop snickering. See Hostler, Jim. 2007.

• During a four-game span last year, the Raiders offense had 588 total yards. During a four-game span last year, Titans running back Chris Johnson had 646 rushing yards.

• From 2004-07, 49ers quarterback threw 55 TDs, five more than Tom Brady had in 2007.

• In a 24-0 loss to the Falcons in 2008, the Raiders had three first downs and 77 yards, the fewest yards by an NFL team since Luke McCown led the Browns to 26 yards in 2004.

• During a 22-game span from 2006-07, the 49ers failed to collect more than 200 yards net passing. It was the longest such streak since the NFL changed its passing rules in 1978 to prevent such incompetence.

Of course, there’s more. But you get the idea.

What’s the sense in dredging up Cody Pickett’s one-completion game, or the wheelin’ and dealin’ of Terry Donahue, or, my gosh, JaMarcus Russell, or the Lane Kiffin Overhead Projector Press Conference or …

– Eric Branch

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