The Super Bowl next Sunday will be a win-lose proposition for 49er fans. One of these despised franchises will have to lose the game, but one of them will have to win it, too.
We’ll either see Bill Belichick and Tom Brady trudge off the field with their third consecutive SB loss or we’ll see the Seahawks sulk away, hide from reporters, and none of them will be shouting and foaming in a roid rage at some poor TV reporter after the game.
If the Patriots lose, it means their offense has peaked, their defense has peaked, their coach and QB have peaked, and they should all be fired and replaced with a collection of nobodies and has-beens. Ooops. Wrong franchise. They’ll just come back next year and try again.
Ditto for the Seahawks. Both franchises have stable ownership and a modicum of sanity in the front offices. Also back next year to try again, with the same coaches and mostly the same players, will be the Steelers, Ravens, Colts, Saints, and Packers. What all of these franchises have in common, besides a grip on reality and a value for continuity, is terrific play from the QB spot.
As Frank Gore ruefully and reluctantly pointed out this year, in the NFL, offense all begins with, and goes through, the QB. The Greg Roman haters believe that he was the only thing wrong with Colin Kaepernick last year. And that a new OC will magically fix everything. If that were true, then Steve Deberg would have four SB rings right now, and not Joe Montana. As Bill Walsh said about Deberg, he was just good enough to get you beat. Right now, it would not be a stretch to apply those words to Kaepernick. He’s much more famous for his losses than his wins. And the wins came early in his career
Obviously, Kaepernick has far superior skills and talent than Deberg did. But Walsh knew Deberg didn’t have IT. And he knew there was no way he could teach IT to him. Of all the young hot shot QBs now in the league, Kaepernick has the least amount of IT. He is always a dangerous player who can make spectacular plays from anywhere on the field at any time. But he can’t consistently run an offense.
Kaepernick is 27 years old. He’ll probably never have the instinctual feel for the position that all great QBs seem to be born with. He can, however, learn how to function adequately in the pocket, read defenses, and develop the mental calm to go through his progressions and find an open receiver. The mental calm to realize game situations, first down markers, when to throw it away, and when to stay in bounds. Up to this point, he basically seems to play in a constant state of panic.
Kaepernick is down in Arizona now for eleven weeks, trying to learn pocket calmness from Kurt Warner. If the instruction bears fruit, the 49er offense will at least have a chance to succeed next year, and maybe for years to come. If the instruction is merely knowledge that disappears during the heat of a game, then the 49er offense will again be a frustrating thing to watch and the search for a new QB will/should be underway.