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49ers Live Event - Author Arne Christensen(05/30/2009) 
3:59 Bryan-Admin:  49ers Paradise is pleased to welcome Author Arne Christensen. Arne has recently completed a very comprehensive look at Bill Walsh's tenure with the 49ers. Titled "The Walsh Years" you can read the 49ers Paradise book review here. We want to welcome Arne, as well as all of our friends from 49ersParadise.com and 49erswebzone.com
3:59 Arne_49:  Hi everybody, happy to be here.
3:59 Bryan-Admin:  Oh great! Did not see you pop in...
Thank you again for joining us.
4:00 Bryan-Admin:  We are ready with the questions whenever you are!
4:00 Arne_49:  I'm ready.
4:01 Bryan-Admin:  Fantastic... I'll start with my own, and then we can get into some of the reader comments. First, I think the fans want to know a bit more about you, and your project!
4:04 Arne_49:  Well, I grew up in the South Bay, and my first 49er memory is Rice's fumble against the Giants in the '87 playoff game, so I was familiar with the late '80s Niners. I started getting some information from newspaper archives on the '88 team, then kept going: I dug up info. on the Walsh teams from old microfilm, from Walsh's book, Building A Champion, and other sources. It was really interesting to get a more in-depth sense of what Walsh did for the Niners and finding out more about his teams.
4:06 Bryan-Admin:  Is there something you learned about Bill Walsh from watching all the games, that you didn't gather from the media or his book?
4:08 Arne_49:  Well, one of the big things is the extent to which he agonized over the games. He was very distraught by the '82 team, he thought it gave up on him. Some of the players were using drugs, the Niners wound up 3-6 that year. Walsh also comes across as extremely dedicated to his craft: he was constantly thinking of ways to improve his team. Also, he wasn't just an offensive expert: he helped shape the Niners' superb defenses of the '80s.
4:09 Bryan-Admin:  Why should fans by your book?
4:11 Arne_49:  It's a very comprehensive guide to the Walsh years. I've put together full box scores and game summaries for all the games of the three Super Bowl years, '81, '84, and '88, and I don't think you can get those anywhere else except in the original newspapers. I also go through the other seasons, things like Montana's early development as quarterback, O.J. Simpson with the '79 team, the "Hail Jerry" game in '87, Rice's emergence as a superstar, the 1980 comeback against the Saints.
4:12 Bryan-Admin:  What are your feelings on the Montana and Young controversy?
4:12 Bryan-Admin:  Fans, we are still accepting questions, please feel free to submit them.
4:14 Arne_49:  I was surprised by how early it started. Montana had a back injury in '86, a lot of people thought it was the end of his career. He came back, but got a concussion in the playoffs, and the Niners got Steve Young as his eventual replacement. Even before the Vikings playoff in the '87 season, Young had started some games, and Montana was getting very uneasy about having Young as backup. Walsh wanted to have Montana feeling that uncertainty about whether he had the starting job, I think.
4:14 Bryan-Admin:  Do you feel Walsh really knew Young would be ready to step up at some point? or was this luck?
4:16 Arne_49:  It sounds like Walsh knew Young was fairly capable, but in '87, '88, was not up to Montana's standard. Holmgren had coached Young at BYU, so the Niners knew he was going to be very good. But they were hoping Montana would last for at least a couple years.
4:21 Arne_49:  I don't think anyone expected Montana to still be an effective starter as late as 1994, or '95 I think was his last season.
4:23 Bryan-Admin:  

Looking back at the team's performances, were you at all surprised by the strength of the defense in the Glory Years?

4:25 Arne_49:  Not too much. It's always been a myth that the Niners were a finesse team, but watching those late '80s teams, Lott's hard hitting was always a feature of them, and they had Haley, Romanowski, etc. I was surprised by how good the '84 defense was, it gave up about 12 points a game. And in '81, the defense got a huge number of turnovers, it was a very big factor in getting the Super Bowl win. One thing that always comes up is Walsh emphasizing how the team needed to "beat the other man to the punch"-he liked hard hitting.
4:25 Bryan-Admin:  Why do think the 49ers defense during those years never got any respect, both then and now?
4:27 Arne_49:  I guess some of it's just a bias against the West Coast, teams over here are supposed to be soft because of the warm weather, I guess. And Montana and Walsh, especially, had glamour images, and the media paid a lot more attention to that and the West Coast offense than the ability to shut down other offenses. I guess offense is just sexier than defense.
4:27 Bryan-Admin:  

Does your book have any emphasis on the way the WCO was built? It's origins on the east coast?

4:28 Bryan-Admin:  Fans, we only have a few minutes left, and have plenty of questions. Please stay tuned for the rest of the chat.
4:28 Arne_49:  Not too much, it's more about just what Walsh did with the Niners, not so much his time with the Bengals or any of that.
4:28 Bryan-Admin:  

Have you tried in anyway to get this book published? recognized by local media? Sent to the Walsh family?

4:30 Arne_49:  I haven't done much yet. I talked with Kevin Lynch a couple months ago, and David Harris, who wrote a bio of Walsh last year, but that's about it so far, unfortunately.
4:30 Bryan-Admin:  

Do you have any plans at looking at the Seifert era?

4:31 Arne_49:  No, at least not in anything like the same level of detail. Walsh is more interesting, and I think there's quite a bit more information available about the Seifert teams.
4:34 Bryan-Admin:

The 49ers today are clearly moving away from their past. Yet, some moves like bringing back Tom Rathman, or establishing a 49ers HOF are counter to that. Do you think the 49ers need to pick a direction?

4:37 Arne_49:  There's a balance between recognizing the past and not letting it overshadow today's goals. I don't think there's any danger in paying attention to some great teams of yesterday, so long as you don't refer back to them constantly instead of focusing on the current challenges.
4:37 Bryan-Admin:  We really want to thank you for your time today, and all the hard work you have put in to this book. At the same time, we want to encourage our visitors to check out your blog at http://49ershistory.wordpress.com as well as to read the 49ers Paradise Book Review, where there is also information on how to purchase your book... http://www.49ersparadise.com/bookreviews/walshyears.shtml

Thank you again for your time and efforts!
4:37 Arne_49:  You're welcome.
4:38 Bryan-Admin:  Fans, a transcript of this chat will be made available on 49ersParadise.com after this chat. Thank you all for your questions
4:38 Bryan-Admin:  Have a great day Arne!
4:38 Arne_49:  Thanks.


 
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