Darting here and there ...

Û Next year, if the 49ers' season comes down to the final play again, left side of the end zone, please. And maybe to a different receiver from Michael Crabtree, even if we don't think he's so "sorry."

Û Effective Advertising Dept.: Hey, we want a pair of those Richard Sherman noise-canceling headphones so we don't have to listen to Richard Sherman.

Û Yes, we've read all the stuff about Sherman's background, his intelligence, his achievements and his ingenious P.R. machinations. He still came off badly, and his "look-at-me" rant overshadowed a truly great game.

Û Fox showed the gruesome NaVorro Bowman injury so many times that you would have thought they were previewing a new TV series.

Û You know NFL officiating has reached a crisis point when Mike Pereira becomes the most coveted sports-talk radio guest on the planet.

Û Everybody has a theory on why the 49ers lost. We blame that damned horse named Harbaugh that finished seventh in the California Derby.

Û Here's our un-facetious theory. It wasn't Colin Kaepernick. It was the guys blocking for him ... or perhaps we should say not blocking for him.

Û The good news is that the 49ers broke a tie with the Cowboys and have now played in more NFC Championship games than anybody -- 15. The bad news is they've also lost more than anybody -- nine.

Û But enough weeping, Niners fans. You could be living in Detroit and rooting for the Lions.

Û You could also be living in Oakland, where they can't even keep their cheerleaders in line.

Û New Raiderettes cheer: 2-4-6-8, we are going to litigate! And not even included in the suit is that they have had to keep smiles on their faces for the past 11 years of Raiders football. Talk about unfair labor practice.

Û In most work environments, if you forget your yoga mat or bring the wrong pom-poms, you at least get a warning. Boy, those Raiders are tough.

Û If Patrick Marleau fulfills the three years of his new contract extension, he will threaten to become the longest-tenured Bay Area pro athlete ever. We believe that honor is held by Willie McCovey at 19 years, but even McCovey's years weren't consecutive. Mac spent 21/2 years in San Diego, and about two cups of coffee in Oakland.

Û Speaking of McCovey, we read that the Yankees will pay an interpreter $85,000 a year for new Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. That's precisely what Willie Mac made in his 1969 MVP season. Interpret that.

Û Contrary to what modern-day statisticians tell us, won-lost record clearly must be worth something. For Tanaka, 24-0 came to $155 million, not counting posting fees and luxury taxes.

Û Apparently, you must have an "a" at the end of your last name to pitch in the Yankees' rotation now: Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova, Tanaka. They still need a fifth guy -- Barry Zita?

Û Best nugget we've heard in the wake of Clayton Kershaw's new $215 million deal: He'll earn 75 cents per heartbeat for seven years.

Û Shrewd signing by the A's in nasty lefty reliever Eric O'Flaherty, even if he is coming off Tommy John surgery.

Û As for Grant Balfour, he'll be Tampa Bay Ray-ging this season. He'll be missed, especially when Victor Martinez comes to town.

Û Stephen Curry has a theory that the Warriors' exposure in China this fall helped him earn nearly 900,000 more All-Star votes than last year. Maybe. If he'd received 900 million more votes, we'd be sure of it.

Û The latest Warriors-Clippers showdown, Thursday at Oracle, will offer an intriguing new wrinkle: Jordan Crawford vs. Jamal Crawford off the bench. Not related except through their love of a jumper.

Û Intriguing that one Australian Open women's semifinal pitted Dominika Cibulkova against Agnieszka Radwanska, which was last July's final at Stanford's Bank of the West Classic. A few more people watched Cibulkova repeat her Bank of the West upset this time.

Û Finally, don't forget that kooky new Pro Bowl on Sunday, where who knows who is playing for which team. Little-known fact: Jerry Rice wanted to draft Joe Montana, but they made him take Drew Brees.

Contact Carl Steward at csteward@bayareanewsgroup.com. More darting on Twitter @stewardsfolly.