The San Francisco 49ers are currently the number two ranked team in the NFL. This is modestly up from the number 26 spot where the team was located at the beginning of the season. There’s a certain obligatory demand they be ranked number two, since they in fact have the second best record in the entire league.
But I don’t get the sense that Those Who Would Rank firmly believe the 49ers actually are the second best team and are merely waiting for one of the more marquee franchises, like the NY Giants or Baltimore Ravens, to expose the team as pretenders. Merril Hoge even went so far as to roll his eyes heavenward right there on camera when it was suggested by his fellow talking head that the Niners might get the number two seed in the NFC playoffs. Hoge is a former NFL player who had to retire due to brain injury incurred from multiple concussions. You can do the math, but I will merely point out that he then made a nice career choice by signing a contract to babble on TV for a living.
Of course, Favorable Rankings are posted prominently on the wall of Frederick P. Soft’s living room, and we are not allowed to visit his home and bask on the sofa. Besides, unless the team beats Green Bay in the playoffs, Number Two isn’t going to be anything to brag about unless you are a devotee of toilet humor. I only bring it up to point out that despite the team’s favorable polls, NOBODY BELIEVES IN THEM!
Most of the disbelief no doubt stems from My God Alex Smith is the Niners Quarterback! Smith is currently the ninth ranked QB in the league and nobody believes in that ranking, either. Frank Gore is the fifth ranked RB and that gets thumbs up all around, but that’s about the only ranking that is digestible nationwide regarding the 49ers.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Minnesota, in a cold water flat designed for penitential living, an old ex-linebacker is scratching the unused knob at the top of his torso and muttering, “That’s MY team. That’s the team of my vision!”
This 49er team is indeed Physical with an F. But it is also Mental with an Ummm! It is this latter aspect that eluded the aforementioned linebacker as he exits his quarters through the hole in his front door that perfectly defines his shape. Keys? Who needs keys?!
It’s fun to be a 49er fan again, no doubt about it. I try to remember that unless the team wins the Super Bowl this year, the 2011 story is not going to have a happy ending, no matter where and when that ending occurs. But I’m not dwelling on it. There’s at least ten more weeks, maybe more, of fun ahead of us. That is a whole lot better than nine more weeks of meaningless games as a bottom feeder. Even Merril Hoge would believe in that.