Fan Support and Player Performance - chicken or egg?

I just saw another FanPost asking which niners jersey someone should buy.  In that post they explain some of the obvious choices "Patrick Willis is the obvious choice, but he's not my favorite player" and laments that a couple of others are coming up on wanting/needing new contracts and "they might not be there next year."

I posted a (IMHO) witty reply that he should go for the Joe Nedney jersey because they'll be propping that guy up with a walker and he'll still be hitting 50-yarders.

But that got me thinking.  We've all been tough on/ skeptical of Alex Smith at one point in time or another.  Many have recently posted something to the effect of "No more excuses, this is his year to shine or show he's a true bust of the highest order."  I won't go back over all the things I think happened that inhibited Alex's success (most of which were situational or external factors IMHO) because we all know them.

Imagine this - It's opening day in Candlestick Park.  Our 49ers are facing the reigning Super Bowl Champions - the New Orleans Saints - and their superstar QB Drew Brees.  Alex Smith and the team run out onto the field to thousands of cheering fans.....

And they are all wearing #11 jerseys.

Other than the obvious ("that would never happen - you're an idiot Pete") - what effect do you think that would have on Alex?  On his performance that game?

Ultimately, the question I wish to pose is:  Does a "he could be great but hasn't shown it much yet" player get fan support because he performs?  Or do we, as fans, choose to support him and, therefore, he performs?

Heck, make that number 85.  Or 15.  Or 52. Or 21. Or Joe Nedney's #6.  :)  Or whoever.... the player doesn't matter (well...maybe I made myself a target for proposing that 60k+ SF fans would a) BUY an Alex Smith jersey at all let alone b) all wear them to 1 particular home game...)  But I hope everyone sees my point and the questions I'm throwing out there...

I don't have a solid opinion one way or the other - I was just pondering and wanted to see what you guys thought.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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