The hometown crowd will not be praying for victory this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. No, those knee callouses will have plenty of time to dissipate now. 49er fans will be expecting a rout.
We might indeed get one, but this site will settle for another victory, however it is achieved. 6-1 is three games away from a winning season and a playoff berth. Should the team accomplish that, fine. We can decide then how much frosting we want on the cake.
The fact remains that hardly any 49er fans currently believe their team is better than the one in Green Bay. Maybe that feeling will have changed by January. For now, though, the most realistic dream is one that sees the team appearing in the NFC Title game. That is attainable excellence.
If we get that far, anything can happen. But for a team with five Super Bowl trophies on display at team headquarters, NFC Title game runner up is not going to be wildly celebrated, like it has in the New York Jets’ fan base.
It’s safe to say a trip to the Title game, or even an appearance in the playoffs, will be quite pleasing to 49er fans, though. This year. This year especially.
The team took another step up the ladder of perceived worth this week without playing a game. This advancement came courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens laying a monstrous egg in Jacksonville on Monday night. Super Bowl contenders can lose on the road with some bad breaks or turnovers, but they can’t get thoroughly squashed by a bottom feeder team. Another year and another Ravens squad without an offense that is reliable. Eleven years running now.
A victory over the Browns followed by a victory over the Redskins would be back to back triumphs over the two guys — Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan — that were the most constantly clamored for HC/GM candidates in the blogopolis the past few years. Neither one of these guys seems to be setting the world on fire in their newest incarnations as Highly Respected Gurus.
In fact, no coach has ever won a SB with two different teams. Zero. So if SBs are your goal, stay away from hiring a coach who already has one. Five coaches have gone to the SB with two different teams, but all five of them lost either both times or once. Holmgren, Dick Vermeil, Don Shula, Bill Parcells, and Dan Reeves.
Meanwhile, it appears we’ll have to wait patiently for the 49ers to screw up one of these weekends and put a dent in the Jim Harbaugh Can Do No Wrong mythology. After all, what’s a blog if there’s nothing to gripe about? Quiet, actually. Very quiet. Even Alex Smith can’t screw up enough to get a good rip going. He came close in Detroit, then he spoiled it by heaving a game winning TD pass.
It’s times like this that I worry about Heaven. I mean, is it going to be any fun there? Some of you will probably tell me not to worry since I have zero chance of admittance. But what if God’s a lot more loving than we think and even a guy like Al Davis gets in? You never hear any of these people with near death experiences talking about what a gas it was Up There. Immense feelings of being loved, yes. But rip snorting fun times? No. Do you have to be friendly with everybody, even a Cowboy fan? I don’t know, but it seems to me that the religious PR people have done a whole lot better job of selling the shit that is Hell than the joy that is Heaven. I may have to text the Pope about this.