As Ryan Price returned home from work Tuesday, he opened the front door to find his 4-year-old son, Johnny, walking toward him, his face a portrait of devastation.

"What's wrong, buddy?" the Vacaville high school teacher asked.

"I thought the 49ers would be in the Super Bowl," squeaked Johnny, still suffering two days after the San Francisco 49ers lost to the New York Giants in an agonizing NFC Championship game.

Price captured his son's heartbreaking moment on video, and like any dutiful 21st-century parent, posted it to YouTube. Two days later, the video went viral, and mourning 49ers fans were allowed a collective chuckle while being given a chance to gain some perspective.

"I just thought my friends and family will like this, and the next thing I know, it blew up," Price said.

That's what happens when 49ers President and CEO Jed York tweets the video to his 18,359 followers, writing, "Couldn't have said it any better myself."

On Friday, York explained his fascination with the video.

"The kid was so cute and so genuine, I think he summarized what makes sports so great, and makes us all feel like a little kid," York said in a phone interview. "It's such a genuine fan emotion. If you're a true fan, whether you're 80 years old or 3 years old, you connect with that feeling, and it was powerful. It was really powerful."


Advertisement

York's Twitter post sparked a frenzy as Ryan Price began fielding calls from friends, family, members of the media and even "Good Morning America."

"If I knew he would be seen by so many people I would have cleaned his face up," Price said, laughing.

Johnny began to root for the 49ers as their magical 2011 season unfolded. During the playoffs, his 34-year-old dad often watched the game on the couch while tossing a football to Johnny.

One family member not happy with the video is Johnny's 6-year-old sister, Marcella, who recorded a clip of herself -- crying crocodile tears -- shortly after the loss.

While Johnny's YouTube video soars past 162,000 views, his sister's version has only logged about 2,900.

"She is not happy for Johnny at all," Dad said, laughing.

Near the end of the appropriately timed 49-second video, Ryan Price assures Johnny they can still watch the Super Bowl, even without the Niners.

It ends with Dad leading the 49ers' familiar chant: "Who's got it better than us?"

Johnny responds, sniffling, "Nobody."

Staff writer Mike Rosenberg contributed to this report. Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.

Online extra
View the video of Johnny Price crying over the 49ers' playoff loss last weekend at
www.contracostatimes.com.