Don’t look now, but we could be seeing a reprise of the late ’90’s battle for NFC supremacy between the 49ers and the Packers. With the exception of one uncalled Jerry Rice fumble and subsequent last second Steve Young TD laser to Terrell Owens, that battle did not go well for us. Let’s hope we can do better this time around.
Yes, it’s not too soon to look forward to the NFC Title Game. If the 49ers had played Detroit in Candlestick, Sunday’s game would not have been close. Detroit would have returned home as a spanked pretender. That is the scenario that might play out come January in the Divisional round, after the Niners have had a first round bye. Giving Jim Harbaugh and Vic Fangio two weeks to prepare a game plan is going to be as big an edge as it once was when Bill Walsh and George Seifert were baffling the NFL.
That’s assuming Detroit gets as far as a wild card entry. That bandwagon could yet break a wheel along the way. And assuming Detroit can actually win a wild card game on the road. Maybe more likely we’ll be seeing the NFC East or South champion.
St. Louis is now a full time baseball town as the Rams sink slowly quickly into the Mississippi. Blub. Blub. Blub. Arizona is finding out they bought a Kolb lemon from Philly, just like KC found out they bought a Cassell one from NE, just like Denver found out they hired a McDaniels one from NE, and now the Rams are finding out that same Denver lemon has worked it’s way into their food pantry, too. Sour, is what I’m saying here. No blub blubbing in Phoenix, though. Parched. Mirages. Dog tongue among the cacti. My kingdom for a drink.
Which gets us to Seattle. Big game this week for those guys. They travel to Cleveland and absolutely have to win the game or see themselves fall three full games behind the 49ers. Not to mention the psychic wound that would be incurred by comparing the 49ers whipping Detroit followed by Seattle getting whipped by the Browns. No way back from that plane ride home to second place and second class resignation.
Cleveland is in the midst of being no better under Mike Holmgren than they were before, and no better without Eric Mangini as HC, either. The Big Show is a bomb. But like the Big Tuna model of Rep Without Results, a whole lot richer for his retirement ranch. Maybe the Browns will rise up and win this game anyway. Seattle is due for a road game egg layer.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Harbaughs have a bye week. When they return to action at home against said Browns, an old Brownie should be back in action — for us. Braylon Edwards returns from injury, joining Mr. Nine Catch Michael Crabtree as our fearsome WR duo. A damaging offense gets even more deadly.
We are once again entering an era of routine victories. This era sure snuck up on us, bursting forth this year from the rubble like some DC comic super hero. We should be experiencing culture shock, like the Detroit fans. But this Bay Area franchise has basked in glory before and obviously has not lost its knowledge of proper basking decorum. Smug is once again in fashion! Although a brief period of reacclimation is now in progress. The youngsters. They have not yet traveled this road. First Lesson: How to gloat casually.
And it sure is nice to once again laugh at other teams and not at our own! Hahaha!