It was inevitable.
When Alex Smith was chosen over Aaron Rodgers as the first pick in the draft, they were always bound to be tied at the hip like some sort of freaky, media-induced Siamese twin. One, even at the most basic level or subconscious level, always evokes the other.
Usually, though, it happens in a poor way: the media is all like trolololol Niners for taking the wrong QB.
I mean, I can't fight them. We did take the wrong QB - but I don't think it would have been obvious should the picks have been reversed. It's pretty much undeniable that Aaron Rodgers is a better QB than Alex Smith, and I think this would have been true had the 49ers picked the former instead. He probably just wouldn't be so much better.
So yes, put me right in the center of the debate - for this is a debate made up of two pretty polar, almost mutually exclusive, sides. One side castigates the 49ers for picking the obviously wrong QB. The other side argues that Rodgers would have turned out way more like Smith and Smith like Rodgers had the draft gone otherwise.
I used to be in the latter camp - pretty solidly, in fact. I was largely convinced that Alex would be flat out amazing had he sat on a bench and learned. I've got to say, though, that I have drifted more toward a compromise position.
Really, when it comes down to it, the debate is predicated upon one question: is the Alex Smith of today a product of himself as an athlete or his training once he got to the NFL. I think both. Alex has proved that he reacts well to good coaching and poorly to bad coaching. But, he still struggles with more athletically based things like accuracy - something which Rodgers utilizes as a weapon.
At the end of the day, we can all be happy about one thing: both guys are way better than remembering that Brett Favre exists.