I've got a slight problem. Well I have lots of problems, don't we all (including not sticking to the point as you'll see so I apologise now) but right now the problem I have is that I don't really like posting on forums/websites/etc/etc much and I really wanted to say Hello and Thank You to everyone at Niner Nation for this year. Really it's been awesome, we do pretty well for NFL news in general in the UK as opposed to Russia or Argentina (probably I have no facts or anything to back this up and so I apologise if I'm wrong I just named two random countries that aren't the UK or the USA to be honest) but we don't get constant 49er related updates on an at least daily basis. Thanks to the great work on this site by everyone I now do. Also as I sit in my welsh longhouse in the middle of a very welsh very long field there isn't a huge 49er related community to feel part of and thanks to this site I now do. Ok I'm the kind of person in your community who sits at his window staring at you and refusing to speak to anyone but it is still nice to feel part of something however vicariously. And I just wanted to thank you and I wanted to do it before Sunday's game because I don't know how much better life can get in the world of a 49er fan than right now. Well ok I do because I remember staying up until 4am to watch us massively beatdown the Chargers regardless of the fact that I had school in the morning and hopefully I'll get to do the same again without the school bit. So I wanted to say Thanks and I wanted to do it before the game, oh yeah and I'm away for a few days and won't be back until very late Saturday. Oh yeah and there just didn't seem to be an appropriate post anywhere to say thank you and hello without it looking decidedly odd. So instead I'm doing this. Which leaves us with another slight problem I really don't want to waste all your time by making you click here and read this and then go away going 'well fine but he could of just stuck a random post at the bottom of something else and saved us all five minutes of our lives.' So now I need to say something insightful and meaningful in some way or I've become the creepy starey guy who has started screaming at the community about how much he loves them for no apparent reason. I'll try and do that in a minute but firstly and mostly Thank You. Really each and every single person who has posted anything on this website you have all made what has been a historically wonderful season that little bit more special and for that I do want to thank you. After the jump we might get something insightful and meaningful. I will try I promise.
Anyway something insightful and meaningful. Um well it isn't very insightful or really that meaningful but firstly I just want to say as wonderful as things are right now God will have his funny little jokes. See being in the UK is awesome for many reasons but particularly where American sports are concerned it is awesome because we pretty much get to pick whatever team we fancy to support. I enjoyed watching Montana and Rice and Friends beat up the Jets (my Father's team) when I was young so much I've had little gold flecks in my blood ever since. Because the NFL has for a very long time been such a large part of my life when I started dating my current girlfriend nearly 5 years ago I was keen for her to get into the NFL. However it never really took until just about a year into our relationship when I took her to a Superbowl party at a sports bar in London. Those with a decent memory and some keen mathematics might be able to see where this is going. See at this sports bar she watched one team (and one player in particular) do what was commonly held to be the impossible (as all these things are until they are done.) And apparently he looked very 'cute' while doing it. Since then she has been very into the NFL and has added a special place in her heart for that year's Superbowl champions next to Liverpool FC, The Boston Red Sox and (in this order) me. And yes I know as a Red Sox fan there could of been another team she could of supported from that Superbowl but a) they lost and b) I wouldn't let her, I do have to draw the line somewhere and if you think I'm letting another soul be lost to Beezlechik and Co you can forget it! You might think this makes her all very bandwagonny I realise so to stick up for her although she picked winners at the time she has stuck by them resolutely even through the last couple of years and well quite frankly who would pick a team that is a perennial disappointment and no hoper when you could choose any team you like. If you go down that route you end up very bitter and twisted I can tell you. And I speak as a Mets fan. So yes thanks to me she is an NFL fan and thanks to me I am going to spend this Sunday watching the big game sitting next to a Giants fan, who also happens to be the love of my life and quite quite psychotic. Particularly about Eli Manning. After the last game against the Giants (which we also watched together and I've mostly healed from) she has offered to recreate every single hit on Eli on myself in realtime. So if anyone sees Aldon around town can you explain I want Eli to spend as much of Sunday as possible wiping Candlestick turf off his mouth but could he try and sack him as gently as possible? And if anyone sees Jim can you ask him for the love of all that is holy to not send Whitner on a blitz because I'd like to be able to remember my name after the game. So while you are sitting there surrounded by your 49er friends and your 49er family sharing in the wonder and joy that is 49er playoff football spare a thought for me who is probably being sacked for the 6th time that night.
Sorry that wasn't insightful at all, I am trying here hopefully point two will be better. It can be summed up like this. WHO'S GOT IT BETTER THAN US? And I mean in more ways than just being in the NFC Championship game and having the best team chant in the NFL. Oh yeah and the funkiest special teams unit, Tony Montana totalled baffled my Dallasite friend who watched the game with us last week. I think in Dallas the special team’s unit lineup to a song specially written for them by Jerry Jones and have to salute him each individually in turn before kicking off. I mean it like this, what franchise in the NFL has a rosier looking future than us right now? Ignoring whichever team gets its hands on the Lombardi this February (and it can easily be us, yes keep saying that to yourselves it is true and it sounds good) is there going to be any franchise going into the off-season as happy with its circumstances as the San Francisco 49ers? Let’s check down the things that you'd want to have going for you on your sports franchise of choice. The really big things that your team needs to make sure you as a fan have a good life. First of all you want a good GM who can make good decisions. And I'd say that we do in Trent. So would the Professional Football Writers of America whoever they might be. Last year I disliked pretty much every single draft pick. Well no that isn't totally true but the very best I thought of any of them was 'they should be a nice project for a few years down the line.' Well since then we've had Aldon Smith but also Bruce Miller and Chris Culliver looks pretty handy too. Wikipedia is handily down because our nose tackle upset them or something but I think I'm right in saying Trent has been picking for us since 2010? So big whiffs are um Taylor Mays? Otherwise it is either a bunch of "Oh my god they are awesome" (Aldon, Navarro) some they could be pretty good in this league (Culliver, Hunter) or it’s too earlier to say (Davis, Kaepernick.) The only early round pick from the last two drafts that isn't around anymore is Mays and we've also had end of the draft hits like Miller. All in all I'd say he has drafted pretty damn nicely thank you very much. Also I watched as a bunch of players I thought I wanted in San Francisco went elsewhere and then we signed Whitner, Rogers and ok Edwards (who I like to think Trent only signed to prove that no one was perfect.) We seemed to let the best of our own free agency class depart for elsewhere while resigning players like Goldson and Smith (who'd of thought Trent's big mistake this year was not signing up Alex Smith, Carlos Rogers or Dashon Goldson to long enough contracts?) and while I've never been an Alex Smith hater I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't exactly singing for joy when I heard he'd be our starting quarterback this year. Now you could argue that this mostly shows I should never be in charge of a professional sports team (and you'd be right) but I prefer to think of it as showing that our GM knows what he is doing. This year no matter what he does, no matter who he drafts and who he signs I'll think he is right. Because he made the decision and as we've seen more often than not Trent gets it right. How great is that? Imagine being a Redskins fan (or a Mets fan come to think of it) and just knowing that whatever decision your front office makes it is almost certainly going to be the wrong one? Most teams fans (and no matter how cool and calm we are now we'll be doing it too I'm sure) worry themselves to levels of absolute insanity about if their team is signing the right player and I right now don't think I need to do that. I'll still do it I just don't need to. What if he lets all our free agents go and decides to bring in the entire cast of Glee instead to play for us? Well unusual but I'll just smile and go 'yup that'll probably work.' What if he resigns all our free agents at obscene levels with 100 yearlong contracts so that the rest of our team has to be paid in DVDs of Glee to keep us under the salary cap? I'll go 'yup that'll probably work' although I wouldn't want to be the one breaking the news to Justin Smith. Unless he happens to be a massive Glee fan in which case he can have my girlfriend’s collection. Actually if its Justin Smith...... no I shan't complete that one I think I'm going to be in enough trouble come Sunday anyways. I know blind optimism is well blind and overly optimistic and I also know I'll be debating every single decision our front office makes over and over again in my head but I do hope that in six months’ time I'll remember this moment right here and say to myself "you know what Trent has mostly been right so let's just assume he is right now this time and relax its going to be an awesome season." Right now he is the best in the business (remember the PFWA say so) and he is going to give our head coach the right people to do the job and give us an awesome season.
Talking of head coaches the PFWA also say we have the best one of those in the business at the moment. And I think we do. There was clearly some talent on this team but under the previous administration we only won 6 games last year in a not very good division. This year we've won 13. Without an offseason. Just imagine what Jim (I'm on first name terms with them all FYI) is going to be able to do now? Is there any team in the NFL that isn't looking a bit enviously at our head coach and his assistants? (and no they can't have any of our assistants I'm afraid or I'll cry!) Ok there might be a few that like their head coach, I'm sure all four teams who are still playing are quite enamoured with theirs too, but none of them did it in their first year without any real offseason to work with the team. What Jim and associates have managed to do to with this team is nothing short of miraculous and it can only get better. And how good does it feel to be able to say that? How good is it to know that no matter what comes next the team we have on the field next year is going to very likely be even better than it has been this year because they will have had more time with their coaches? Man I enjoyed 'Black Monday' and its associated head coaching hunts this year because I knew we'd have no part of it whatsoever. I didn't think our head coach was going anywhere, I didn't want him to go anywhere and there was definitely no one else out there who I wanted instead. Too many years of worrying if our head coach was going to keep his job or not and who might replace him were replaced themselves with nothing but blissful schadenfreude. The Rams got Jeff Fisher? I don't care our head coach is better. The Chargers still won't fire Norv Turner? I don't care our head coach is better. I knew exactly what was going to happen (nothing) and I knew it was going to be the best thing for the team. See Trent made the right decision there too and it might just be the best decision he has ever made. It is early and, as has been proven by now I am sure, I know nothing but there is a good chance on the early evidence that we could have another Hall of Fame Head Coach leading this team. There is very little that Jim has done wrong at all this year and the list of the things he has done right is almost endless, it is certainly too long to start listing now. So I won’t try instead I’ll aim vaguely for some kind of wrapping up instead and hope to come close to one.
The important point is that even from a more dispassionate view than I can possibly bring to the 49ers we have a really good Head Coach. And a really good GM. For the first time in far too long I know that the right people are in the job for the 49ers and I just don't have to worry about it any more. And you know what? All those professional football writers who went on about how we'd never get anywhere with Alex Smith or how Jim Harbaugh could never turn this team around without an offseason or in any way said anything negative about this team at all are now saying very nice things about us after Saturdays game. Which just shows that they know as little as I do about running a football team. Still they do at least know one thing. They know who to give the nice shiny awards too. For everything else related to the 49ers I trust my award winning friends Trent and Jim. With those two on board things will only get better and better and better and I now know that. For the first time in a long time my team is going to be good, really good and it will be really good for really quite a while. So I ask you who does have it better than us right now? NOBODY!
PS Thank you
PPS Hope there was some sort of point in there somewhere. Keep up the good work everyone!