Revived 49ers, QB Smith finally find right direction
After last year’s disappointing season, I wrote about the disturbing state of San Francisco’s longtime football 49ers?
Having been winners of five Super Bowls in the 1980s and ’90s, the 21st century had so far been frustrating and plagued by the absence of playoff action for the once-proud Niners, who possessed talent, but also had under-qualified ownership; no real team-building general manager; and were without a head coach who is a responsible leader with insight and could, truly, coach.
I stated that what the 49ers needed to do to get back to their once-familiar perch atop the football world was to reboot and return to the blueprint for success they followed during the final two decades of the past century, and then apply it to the 21st century, from which we’ve already lost a decade.
Well, the San Francisco 49ers definitely rebooted, and, after an NFL shutdown was just avoided, a shortened training camp was held, and unprepared preseason games were played, the Niners kicked off the real season and four weeks later they are sitting atop the NFC West Division standings.
There were a lot of changes made in the offseason that have led to the 49ers’ current 3-1 record, with the best and most important upgrade being the hiring of Jim Harbaugh of Standord coaching and pro- and college-quarterbacking fame – as well as having a head-coaching father and brother – who has brought a winning climate to San Francisco.
Though Harbaugh took early heat for sticking with Alex Smith at quarterback and giving him a chance to show that he is a more-than-solid NFL quarterback, who had to survive a swinging door of head coaches and offensive coordinators, who didn’t give him the support needed to gain and play with confidence and be the true leader, instead of running for his life.
Harbaugh’s belief in Smith has now paid its biggest dividends so far, and makes the future look a whole lot brighter, with Sunday’s 21-point second-half comeback led by Smith, which resulted in a stunning 24-23 road victory over the highly favored Philadelphia Eagles.
Sure there’s a long ways to go to finally earn a winning record, make the playoffs, and capture the NFC West title – let’s put a long-awaited trip to the Super Bowl on hold for now.
But the journey is definitely off to an optimistic start.