Earlier today, the Golden Nuggets included a link to Cam Inman's article about Steve Young's comments regarding perception of the San Francisco 49ers. Young talked about how the team has lost the perception of greatness following all the offseason departures. He went into how it was important to re-establish that during the first month of the season.
Young later appeared on KNBR to talk about his golf game, and toward the end of the interview, he addressed the perception issue. He provided some more detail on the importance of it, suggesting it was a bigger deal in football than the other major leagues.
What we lost in the last few months is the perception game. In football, maybe more than any other sport, when you're great, you show and you come out of the locker room, you're already up 14. People just, because there's so much time between games ... people read and they're like "oh geez" and all these guys come out and you've already got people leaning backwards. And I think when you have that perception, we've lost that perception, we're not perceived to be great. Doesn't matter, I'm not going to comment on who's in the locker room because I just don't know. It's an unknown at this point. It could be great, it could not. I don't know, but we've lost that perception, and it's a tough thing to get back. It has to be earned back, and so to me, to let that fall away so easily, is the biggest issue since December, that I worry about.
It is an interesting point to be made about the time between games, and how that can build up the hype. There is always talk about how any team can win on any given Sunday, but particularly good teams in the past have had a certain swagger about them. I don't know that we see it nearly as much these days with the salary cap and free agency, but it can still exist. The Seahawks Legion of Boom secondary has had it, and you could look back at the New England Patriots undefeated regular season for a similar swagger.
The first few weeks of the season will be important even beyond just perception. If the team is going to make noise in 2015, it will need at least a solid start coming out of the gate. I'm not suggesting they need to run out to a 4-0 or 5-0 start. I certainly would not turn that down, but a strong performance early on would build confidence within, and would at least show fans that this team is bringing some firepower to the table.