Sigh. We made it. It’s here. The beginning of a new decade of NFL football. The Patriots and the Colts owned the last decade. Which teams will own this coming one? (Hint: The San Francisco 49ers!!!!!).
I must be channeling sumo wrestling fans because I am really pumped about the outcome of the nutcracker battle between Mike Iupati and Isaac Sopoagna. And Justin Smith versus Anthony Davis. Bring it on, guys. I don’t think the league will be calling this franchise a “finesse” outfit this coming decade.
Maybe it’s a hangover from the Draft. I normally don’t get all that excited about the beef boys on the team. I just want them to do their jobs, so we don’t have to discuss them. Besides, that’s Berger’s responsibility.
Any how, this year I am excited by them. Iupati probably more than Davis. I keep thinking we might have a Steve Hutchinson/Larry Allen kind of guy at left guard. We all know what Hutchinson did for Seattle and the guy who stunk after he left, old what’s his name who’s out of the league — right, Shaun Alexander, and what Allen did for Emmitt Smith and the 2006 season for Frank Gore. Don’t be surprised if Glen Coffee is a very effective runner behind a line that can open up the cracks. He hits the hole faster than any back we have, and he hits it hard.
The 53 man roster cut down date is going to generate some blog anguish this year. Most fans would not mind seeing the team scrap the fullback position completely, but Mike Singletary is more likely to retain not one, but two guys for this spot — Moran Norris and Brit Miller. Which means two guys with more value (as bloggers see it) will not be retained. Norris, in fact, stands a good chance of assuming Mark Roman’s title of “least liked 49er player.”
The 49ers did not make the playoffs last year, as Singletary and Jed York vowed they would, but fans other than the usual grumblers did not lose faith in the team and its HC. The bloggers who have no faith in Singletary had none to begin with. The team was noticeably better last year and every game but two went down to the final minute, meaning fans got a full 60 minutes of excitement for their money or time, instead of far too many 30 minute, one half and it’s over games that had become the staple the past seven years.
The team also did not regress. It continued to progress, and even achieved one more victory than the previous year to finish at .500 for the first time since 2002. Not regressing was a big deal. The 2007 season began with fans thinking playoffs and full of high hopes, only to see the team not only regress, but collapse completely.
A few bitter bloggers claim this 2007 season was the last straw for them, squashing their optimism about the franchise. Sure. Hahaha. Spare me the dweep dip, chinchilla face. These guys are bitter because they choose to be. It’s a schtick. Conveniently, that 2007 squashdown provides them with their excuse to see nothing but 49er negativity everywhere they point their beady, mean little eyes. Or sockets, in Zero’s case.
The 2009 progress was real, and the league noticed, if not some of the nitpickers amongst us. Not only did the team win that extra game to achieve .500, but it took command of its division, the NFC West. That, in the long run, is the most meaningful accomplishment of the 2009 season. Year to year success in the NFL demands a team control its own division and assure itself of a playoff berth in the process. The 49ers took that first step last year and must now begin to win games outside its division if they hope to achieve a lasting run of NFL eminence.
What am I saying? That the 2009 season represented the first time since 2002 that the 49ers achieved back to back improved seasons. True, they won more in 2006 than 2005, but that was crawling out of the bottom of a pit, not a solid team getting better. So, no, fans not only have not lost faith in the franchise, they are more excited for the 2010 season than any season this century.
Gulp. C’mon guys. Bring home the bacon this year! And bring on the Nutcracker!