Both the Patriots and the 49ers have been to three straight Conference Championship games. They’ve each lost twice and won once. They’ve both lost their one Super Bowl appearance.
That’s the franchise company the 49ers find themselves in. The big difference is the Patriots’ window for success is closing and the 49er’s window is just opening up.
Another small difference is that no one is suggesting the Patriots trade HC Bill Belichick or dump his OC Josh McDaniels — the fellows who managed a mere 16 points against a very flawed Denver defense in the AFC title game this past year. It’s amazing how long an HC can ride an SB victory or three to job security. In Belichick’s case, ten years and counting with zero Lombardis to show for it.
The current question for the 49ers is how long a coach with NO SB victories can ride his job security. Or his OC.
Seattle HC Pete Carroll has one year left on his contract, which means he’ll most likely get a fabulous new extension this offseason, perhaps making him the highest paid head coach in the NFL. The reaction from the Jim Harbaugh camp? Grrrrrrr!
Harbaugh has two years left on this contract and there is some talk now of extending him. Would Jimmy be better served waiting for Carroll to set the top bar, winning the SB next year, and going for a penny or two more than Carroll in 2015? Or should he hedge his bets and take his extension now, before he wins the SB or perhaps continues to fail to achieve that goal, and setting the new top dollar dog later on, either here or somewhere else?
Some folks believe there’s no difference between a 6-10 season and a team that loses the Title game or the Super Bowl. I’m no math whiz, but 11 wins plus at least two more playoff wins seems to indicate a 13 win season or so, which is 7 or more weeks of happy time football than a six win season provides.
Perhaps my “all or nothing days” have simply receded into my youthful past and a pleasant week now has greater value than one pleasant week every four or five years, which is about as much ALL success as salary cap football currently allows. It’s certainly disappointing to fall short of the championship trophy, but nowhere remotely close to the disappointment of your team being weekly NFL roadkill.
Still, much of the joy of being a football fan is the perfectly legal right to hold entirely nut ball expectations and cling adamantly to ridiculous mathematical theorems. It might even be a necessity, given the nut ball world around us that enrages the soul on a daily basis. The primal guy within needs a little Hulk space, a tantrum room, and football fanning provides it.
At any rate, the offseason is heating up, the Scouting Combine is wrapping up, rumors are flying, draft lust is forming, Aldon Smith has not yet been arrested, and the 2014 season is muscling its way onto center stage.