Joe Staley has experienced a lot in his 13-year NFL career.” data-reactid=”13″ type=”text”>SEATTLE — Joe Staley has experienced a lot in his 13-year NFL career.
But he has never been through anything quite like what occurred Sunday night with the NFC West title on the line at CenturyLink Field.
wrapped up the NFC West title and home-field advantage with a crazy 26-21 victory over the Seahawks.” data-reactid=”15″ type=”text”>The 49ers have experienced their share of heart-breaking losses in Seattle, but Staley admitted to crying tears of joy after his team wrapped up the NFC West title and home-field advantage with a crazy 26-21 victory over the Seahawks.
“It hit me like a wave,” the veteran offensive tackle said. “I think it was being a part of this franchise for so long. And playing here and being so … not winning. And having a game here with everything on the line for the regular season and the title, and it just felt good.
“It was a crazy emotional game. I’m just emotionally drained.”
Staley is the longest-tenured player on the 49ers. He entered the day as the only player on the team who experienced a 49ers road victory over Seattle. The 49ers last defeated the Seahawks on Christmas Eve of 2011.
Yes, this was emotional for Staley, and everybody knew it.
Jimmy Garoppolo was asked about seeing Staley get “a little” emotional.” data-reactid=”20″ type=”text”>Afterward, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was asked about seeing Staley get “a little” emotional.
“A little?” Garoppolo said. “No, I’m kidding. It was a big win for a lot of people, but Joe has been here through the ups, downs and everything in-between. Just for him to get that, especially to do it here in Seattle, it was a big one for him. A big one for all of us, but you know, I’m really happy for him, individually.”
Part of what made it special for Staley is because a couple years ago, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue to play football.
The 49ers were mired in a dreadful 2017 season under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan. Staley, a six-time Pro Bowl player, didn’t know if he wanted to endure a rebuilding project. Then, he had a heart-to-heart talk with Shanahan, who laid out his plan. Shanahan convinced Staley that the 49ers were heading in the right direction, and a championship wasn’t as far away as it might have seemed.
During Staley’s career with the 49ers, the team has been awful, a Super Bowl team, awful again and, now, they’re back to being a Super Bowl contender.
“I like to ride roller-coasters,” Staley said. “It builds character.”
Staley’s influence on the team is so great that even a rookie on the other side of the ball realized what he has gone through in his career to return to this stage.
49ers defensive end Nick Bosa said. “Obviously, I came to a winning team, and it was kind of easy for me, but there are guys who have really fought through the hard times. Obviously, the scrutiny everybody had in this building and the years before, I’m glad I could help out.”” data-reactid=”27″ type=”text”>”I was trying to make a play so hard at the end just for guys like that,” 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa said. “Obviously, I came to a winning team, and it was kind of easy for me, but there are guys who have really fought through the hard times. Obviously, the scrutiny everybody had in this building and the years before, I’m glad I could help out.”
Shanahan said afterward that he hadn’t given much thought to how the 49ers became a 13-3 team in his third season at the helm of the organization after it won a combined 10 games over the 2017 and ’18 seasons.
RELATED: What 49ers saw on final play]” data-reactid=”29″ type=”text”>[RELATED: What 49ers saw on final play]
“It feels good to get where we’re at,” Shanahan said. “Our goal was to get in the playoffs. It feels much better with being the No. 1 seed. By now, everyone knows there is only one team that is happy at the end of the year. I know we’re going to be happy tonight. Then, we are going to get back to work and figure out how to recover this week, take care of our bodies.
“We will be ready for whoever we have to play a week from now.”
After earning a first-round bye in the playoffs, the 49ers will open the playoffs Jan. 11 at Levi’s Stadium.
Joe Staley overcome with emotions after 49ers’ 26-21 win over Seahawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area” data-reactid=”33″ type=”text”>Joe Staley overcome with emotions after 49ers’ 26-21 win over Seahawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area