Peter King

Why Peter King says Oakland no longer having NFL team is 'a travesty'

Why Peter King says Oakland no longer having NFL team is 'a travesty'

It was an unfortunate scene at the Oakland Coliseum as the Raiders wrapped up their final game there. And in the aftermath of the stunning loss and chaotic reaction from the crowd, NBC Sports' Peter King addressed the insanity of the city no longer having an NFL team.

"Ugly end to the Raiders in Oakland, with fans throwing stuff from the black hole and even some booing of the team after the surprising loss to Jacksonville. I’ll say it for the 38th time: It’s a travesty, regardless of the behavior Sunday, that Oakland will not have an NFL franchise anymore, and probably never will again. The passion and the love of team and sport is something exceeded in very few NFL markets."

Fan energy was at a high Sunday with fans tailgating long before kickoff in the Raiders' last game before relocating to Las Vegas. But after officials blew a sliding call on Derek Carr with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter and the visiting Jaguars got the ball back, the crowd became angry. Carr was booed as he left the field and trash was thrown from the stands as fans reacted to the Raiders going from having a 16-3 lead at the start of the third quarter to losing 20-16.

[RELATED: Gruden vents frustration after NFL's apology for blown call]

This isn't the first farewell game the Raiders have played in front of devoted fans in Oakland, as the team departed for Los Angeles after the 1981 season and originally was going to leave for its new digs in Sin City after last season. But while last season's "departing" game was more of a fond farewell, this season's game ended in disaster. It was, indeed, an unsavory way to conclude the Silver and Black's residency in the Bay Area, and the sting from the ugly departure likely will last for a long time.

The Raiders aren't the only team to recently have left The Town. The Warriors relocated across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco after last season, while the Athletics remain in a constant state of flux regarding where their new ballpark will be built -- if it's built at all.

What Jimmy Garoppolo told George Kittle before biggest play of season

What Jimmy Garoppolo told George Kittle before biggest play of season

Jimmy Garoppolo knew he was going to throw the ball to George Kittle.

The 49ers quarterback told his tight end as much ahead of the biggest play in San Francisco's 48-46 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Coach Kyle Shanahan called timeout with the 49ers facing fourth-and-2 from their own 33-yard line, delivering a play call into Garoppolo's helmet. 

As Peter King recounted in his Football Morning In America column, Garoppolo immediately looked to Kittle. 

"Hey, you're gonna get the ball on this," Garoppolo told Kittle. "You better win."

Kittle, tucked near wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Emmanuel Sanders just outside the left tackle, was Garoppolo's first read on the play. The tight end was in man coverage against rookie safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, which Kittle said "basically made the decision for me" to break towards the outside. 

Garoppolo's pass hit Kittle in stride, and the tight end turned a routine first down into an epic 39-yard gain, crossing midfield as Marcus Williams pulled on Kittle's facemask. 

"I knew he'd get flagged for it, so I was actually happy -- it just meant 15 more yards for us," Kittle told King. 

Kittle's mindset? 

"Get as many yards as I can, and hold onto the damn football."

[RELATED: 49ers open as huge favorites for Week 15 game vs. Falcons]

Kittle said the 39-yard reception -- and the ensuing 14 yards on the facemask call -- was "probably" the biggest play of his career. It ultimately set up Robbie Gould for the game-winning 30-yard field goal as the 49ers improved to 11-2 and regained the NFC's top seed. 

Garoppolo might not have seen all that coming, but his confidence in targeting Kittle on fourth down proved to be his best decision of the season. 

49ers legend Frank Gore has strong Hall of Fame case, Peter King says

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AP

49ers legend Frank Gore has strong Hall of Fame case, Peter King says

Fifteen years and 15,300 career rushing yards later, former 49ers running back Frank Gore has had quite the career.

He moved up to third on the NFL's rushing list in Week 12, passing Barry Sanders in the Buffalo Bills' win over the Denver Broncos. As a 36-year-old, Gore has rushed for 552 yards as a contributor for one of the AFC's biggest surprises. 

Gore's place in 49ers history is unquestioned, but what about in the history of the game? A reader asked NBC Sports' Peter King in his Football Morning In America column about Gore's case for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

King, an at-large member of the Hall of Fame's selection committee, said Gore should one day receive a gold jacket.

"Gore’s a bit of a conundrum," King wrote. "He’s an absolute outlier in NFL history, a guy who ... was never considered the best or second-best back but had a valiant and incredibly productive career after both knees and both shoulders had been reconstructed. 

"The Hall of Fame doesn’t have specific qualifications at any position. But I do think there is a place in the Hall for a player who, from 2006-16, his 11 prime seasons, averaged: 1,132 rushing yards per season, 4.4 yards per rush [and] 15.1 games per year. ... After Gore at three, the next nine backs on the all-time rushing list are either in the Hall of Fame or, in the case of number six Adrian Peterson, a lock to make it. I think Gore has done enough, but it’ll be up to the 48 voters in 2026 or so to decide if they think he has."

[RELATED: Where 49ers stand in playoff picture after Seahawks' win]

Before Gore gets a call to the Hall, he surely will have his number retired by the 49ers. Since Gore left San Francisco as a free agent after the 2014 season, no player has worn No. 21. 

That's an honor befitting of the 49ers' all-time leading rusher, and a player who was as responsible as any for San Francisco's climb out of perennial mediocrity into the NFL's elite from 2011 through 2013. If you ask King, Gore's résumé is enough for football's ultimate honor, too.