Christian McCaffrey

Why 49ers star McCaffrey compares football to classical music

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Christian McCaffrey has made a name for himself as one of the most dynamic players in the NFL, but the 49ers' star running back's skill set extends beyond the football field.

During a recent interview with former Stanford teammate Brennan Scarlett on the "B Scar TV Podcast," McCaffrey revealed his passion for playing the piano while sharing a hilarious story about his musical experience.

"I'm fascinated with stuff like that," McCaffrey shared. "The piano, music, other things. It's fascinating to me. And I'm not even good. I'm good for people who have never heard people play piano. But I'll like shock people, 'I didn't think you could play.' But my fiancé, she went to Brevard. She's like a world-class cello player. Her mom is in the Boston Pops. She was in the Boston Symphony for 35 years. True music.

"My whole life I'm like, 'I'm gonna play piano to get chicks.' And then I play in front of her, and she's like, 'You're so off.' She's like, 'You should stop.' "

McCaffrey then detailed how his time playing football has cultivated a greater appreciation for classical music due to the parallels between the two.

The All-Pro running back described how a successful orchestra is strikingly similar to a football team firing on all cylinders, citing the cohesion required to excel as a unit for both.

"Even with them, I've learned to appreciate classical music because how much goes into it," McCaffrey explained. "And the sounds and orchestra. Like, orchestra is so cool because it's the same as football. Everybody has a job. If one person messes up, it messes up the whole sound. Then there's the conductor, who's the coach who brings energy. They're dictating the energy and how emotional every instrument is. My soon-to-be mother-in-law told me the conductor is everything. They're bringing out how loud, quiet, in the middle, patient each and every-[she said], 'Music is the space between the noises.' Man, that's such a sick quote. I love that. I'm like, 'Wow, that makes so much sense.'

"And I'm thinking football. All I'm thinking about is football. That's running back. That's the time before the cut before you see the hole. Before you make the double move. What are you doing to sell 'that.' How patient can you be or how quick can you be, depending on what the conductor is calling for? She said, 'You can have some of the best players in the world, but if there's a bad conductor, it won't sound good."

Luckily for McCaffrey and the 49ers, Kyle Shanahan has proven to be one of the best conductors in the league as the head coach in San Francisco.

Paired with an elite ensemble of players, Shanahan and the 49ers have created a symphony of winning football to the tune of a 22-8 record over their last 30 games, including a 19-5 record since trading for McCaffrey in October 2022.

San Francisco will look to continue creating beautiful music together when they face the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night at Lumen Field for a Thanksgiving clash.

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