Message to NFL players: do not report concussions. Message to 49er players: do not believe a word I say. Message to 49er fans: the 49ers will win the Super Bowl this year.
Jim Harbaugh delivered the messages Wednesday evening in the kind of bold and ruthless fashion that great coaches and great leaders, if not great men, do — decisively and without regard to public opinion. To justify this inseason move, Colin Kaepernick must win the Super Bowl. Anything less will be nothing more than what Alex Smith has already accomplished, and perhaps less than Smith would have accomplished if he had remained the starter.
Is that enough pressure for you, Kaepernick? Welcome to the big time, big guy. You’ll either be a hero or the guy who couldn’t carry Smith’s jock.
This is precisely the sort of pressure Harbaugh no doubt wants Kaepernick to feel, because it’s the only way to tell if the guy can cut it. There’s no room for losing games. He must win and he has to start Sunday in New Orleans. A loss there would be unacceptable. The Saints are a team with virtually no defense. They should be shredded more easily than the Bears were shredded last Monday night.
As for Smith, he’ll accept this latest bit of shabby treatment with the grace he’s demonstrated throughout his career. And he’ll have no ill will. After all, Harbaugh resurrected his career and allowed him to prove he could win games in the NFL. In the offseason, he can demand his release and get it and, unlike last offseason, teams will believe he has a desire to play elsewhere. There should be several suitors available.
Harbaugh runs some risk in the locker room and plenty in the halls of the hindsight pundit vulchers if this doesn’t play out well, but it can’t be any greater than the risk he pulled off when wooing Smith to be his starter for the 2011 season. The man is either going to be a legendary coach or a guy who ends up in a padded room, perhaps mumbling about Waterloo, while hilarious Youtube videos capture his every wild and wacky career moment.
We’re leaning toward legendary at the moment and will sit down today and be thankful. Our coach has just guaranteed a 6th Lombardi for the San Francisco 49ers! May the league tremble before our mighty might men!