The NFC Championship Game will feature the number 1 and 2 seeds in the playoffs. How quaintly proper. And there are no wildcard entrants still in the running from either conference. Terrif! The four remaining teams all earned their way to the dance the old fashioned way, by winning their divisions.
The AFC North, AFC East, NFC South, and NFC West. How regionally correct. It would make you wonder if the TV networks had this whole thing rigged. If that were so, however, the Cowboys would be in the hunt every year, instead of in the toilet.
Atlanta’s DC Mike Nolan has been gone from the 49ers for 4½ years now, hanging up his suit midway through the 2008 season. During that time, five of the players he drafted here have become Pro Bowlers, three others are valuable contributors to the 49ers’ success, and it was Nolan who brought Justin Smith here via Free Agency. That’s nine of our twenty-two starters that are here because of Mike Nolan.
You’d think there would be fond memories toward a guy who contributed so much to the current good fortunes of the team. That does not seem to be the case, however. Nolan had a habit of throwing his players under the bus, he was not a good HC and he had the personality of an armadillo. He also taught Mike Singletary how to say, “I’ll have to look at the tape on that one” when confronted with press questions such as, “How come the team stunk it up so bad in the fourth quarter?”
All coaches develop some sort of defense mechanism to deal with the bright glare of failure. Our current coach, Jim Harbaugh, seems to be taking the novel approach of winning all the time and thus not needing to address failure at all. Let’s hope he has two more wins in his pocket for this year or he will indeed have to address failure. Addressing failure for a second seed season that didn’t quite get to or win the Super Bowl is a quantum bit easier than addressing the failure of a 5-11 season that was excruciatingly painful to observe and had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
49er QB Colin Kaepernick is trending nationwide, as they like to say in the Twitter universe. “Kaepernicking” has replaced last year’s model, “Tebowing,” as the sort of thing massive amounts of idiots do with their spare time. Some are just festive idiots, even harmless, but many are the uglier clueless variety. To get to the level of being an “Ing” you have to preen for the cameras after doing something good on the football field, performing your “signature” Ing thing. Kaepernick did so many good things last Saturday that he shot up into Ingdom almost overnight and even landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
I think it’s safe to say this Kaepernicking trend will have more traction than last year’s model, which was sent UPS Ground to the New York Jets and placed in the Unwanted Mail bin, where it languished for an entire season while the “Ing” evaporated from it’s packaging. At the very least, we hope to see lots and lots of Kaepernicking this coming Sunday, accompanied by lots and lots of camera shots of Mike Nolan scowling on the sidelines.