Hello, NinersNation. After an exhausting weekend, a remarkable game on Saturday, and time to sit and reflect on it all, I started to think about a post somebody made (forgive me for not finding it, credit to whoever wrote it) on NN regarding the best seasons for rookie head coaches. There was discussion in that post about rookie head coaches taking over various teams, and looking at the numbers to see how they did in their first year with their new teams. Tony Sparano (I believe) had the best record with a new team, taking the one win Dolphins all the way up to 11 wins and the playoffs in his first season. Numerically, that was the biggest improvement I can remember. But, this season in the Bay seems to trump this, at least for this fan. Is this season for our beloved San Francisco 49ers the biggest (or maybe most surprising) single season turnaround the NFL has ever seen? It very well could be. Join me after the jump to see why.
I was listening to the radio this morning, and it was brought up that this could be the biggest turnaround of a franchise in one season in NFL history. Does that have a little to do with the franchise being as prestigious as it is? I think so. But when you really sit and REALLY think about what we have witnessed this season, it seems to read like fiction.
- We have a rookie head coach.
- We have a QB long considered a huge bust, and who still (even after this beautiful 13-3 season) has a sub .500 record (32-34 - Pretty sure that's up to date).
- We haven't had a winning record since 2002, and that is in what many have considered to be the worst division in the NFL by a long shot.
- With the NFL lockout, there was no offseason programs, OTAs, or real practice time to get really familiar with Harbaugh, his staff, his playbook, or his schemes.
All of these things considered, we all knew we had talent on this team, it had just never gelled and came together. But, even on NinersNation, there wasn't a lot of major expectations for this team this year, mainly for the fourth reason listed regarding the lockout. I myself predicted about 8-8, maybe a game swing either way. But nobody was screaming playoffs, Super Bowl, or anything like that. Then, we went on a remarkable run in the regular season, grabbed a bye and the NFC's second seed, then went and beat what statistically could have been the greatest offense in NFL history. Some people, including a vast majority of the media and fans, never thought this was possible or likely.
Yet, here we are, gentlemen. We are one win away from the Super Bowl with a welcome mat for the NFC Championship sitting outside of the "fortress" (Thank you for that, also, Coach) known as Candlestick Park. The Niners went from being a laughing stock for a decade, to hiring Jim Harbaugh, and little over a year later being a home favorite in the NFC Title Game. The 10 win increase by Sparano I mentioned earlier is great, but he didn't make it this far. And his team wasn't that bad for that long. So, NinersNation faithful, do you honestly think this season for our San Francisco 49ers is the biggest, most shocking, or most impressive single season turnaround in NFL history? When you really sit and reflect and think about what we've been watching since September, how do you see it?
This homer thinks it is. And it has been a magical, emotional ride I hope lasts a few more weeks. Win or lose, I will NEVER forget this season.