Half the 49er season is already over. Sigh. If only the offseason moved this quickly.
At this time of the year, we’re normally finishing the autopsy and preparing a eulogy, so this is uncharted territory. A perfect half season. Zounds!
Unless the team completely falls apart in the second half, we’ll even get to extend the season into January. Three more wins (Cardinals, Falcons, Rams) gets the Niners to eleven wins – enough for a playoff ticket. But they might have to beat Seattle at least once to win the division.
It’s possible they’ll lose three in a row (Packers, Ravens, Saints) to put a big dent in their Super Bowl aspirations. But the fact that “Super Bowl” and “49ers” are mentioned in the same sentence at this time of year, and not in a sarcastic or joking manner, is miracle enough to savor, however briefly, before heading down the home stretch.
It’s doubtful anybody thinks the Niners will stay unbeaten. The 1972 Dolphins’ old timers were worried about the Patriots, but not so much the 49ers. In fact, how the team stacks up against the league’s traditional powers, like the threesome mentioned above, is the biggest curiosity about the season’s second half.
I’d say they need to beat at least one of the three to attain any gravitas. Beating two, would vault them into serious SB conversations. And beating all three would have all us fans slathering incoherent blabberings everywhere we went.
If nothing else, this season has mostly vindicated Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. In year three of their rebuilding effort, they are drawing comparisons to Bill Walsh, not Norv Turner. That’s a giant leap forward for the franchise. They’ll need some SB wins to join the elites of the NFL, but at least they’ve put the Niners back into the mix near the top of the league.