The 2012 NFL schedule was released Tuesday evening and the 49ers are once again a darling of the networks, with five prime time games on the calendar. We won’t be hearing John Madden extol the virtues of Guy McIntyre pulling on a sweep, but it will have to do.
It’s my guess that observers in general think the 49ers are a great team more because Jim Harbaugh is the coach, than that the players are all super fellows. They did get a slew of Pro Bowl respect last year, but much of that came from winning games, and maybe less from being standout players. Joe Staley and Dashon Goldson come to mind, as guys who wouldn’t have gone to the Pro Bowl if the team were 6-10. Which is what they were before Harbaugh took over.
Of course, you could say they weren’t 6-10 because those two guys played so well, but I’m sticking with the Harbaugh scale tilt when it comes to sizing up the worth of the team. Until somebody tells me I’m full of shit, then I’ll dig in my heels even further and dust off some nasty comebacks to support my opinion. When in doubt, SHOUT!
The good part about having this opinion is enabling my kool-aid glass to remain fairly full heading into the 2012 season, in the face of a mean looking history which suggests a big drop off is coming. NFC Championship losers don’t have a great track record for success in the following year.
One team that did fly in the face of history was our very own 1984 Super Bowl team. The 1983 team lost a three point screw job to the Redskins in the NFC Championship, and responded with a dominant 1984 season and the second of five Super Bowl victories.
Of course, the team could eat into this perception by having yet another outstanding year, forcing everyone to sit back and say, “Hmmm. Maybe these guys really are great!”
With three of the first four games on the road, we’ll probably find out early how the year is going to play out. If the team gets through that stretch in good shape, another great year could be in the offing. From October through late November, the 49ers play only one road game, a trip to Arizona. They could rattle off a pretty nice winning streak here.
For those of you who were doing something useful with your lives Tuesday and missed the schedule release, here is the 49ers’ 2012 slate of games:
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, at Green Bay, 4:15 PM
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, Detroit, 8:20 PM
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Minnesota, 1:00 PM
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, at NY Jets, 1:00 PM
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, Buffalo, 4:15 PM
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, NY Giants, 4:15 PM
Week 7: Thursday, Oct. 18, Seattle, 8:20 PM
Week 8: Monday, Oct. 29, at Arizona, 8:30 PM
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, St. Louis, 4:15 PM
Week 11: Monday, Nov. 19, Chicago, 8:30 PM
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, at New Orleans, 4:15 PM
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at St. Louis, 1:00 PM
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, Miami, 4:05 PM
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, at New England, 8:20 PM
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at Seattle, 4:15 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, Arizona, 4:15 PM
Handwringers to the left; pom-pommers to the right. The 2012 Season Prediction booth is now open for business.