If the media reports are to be believed, the San Francisco 49ers have no hope of accomplishing anything of note during this NFL season.
It appears that the last nail in their coffin was hammered in at approximately 3:53 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, when Andrew Luck scored on a naked bootleg (easily the most graphically named play in all of football), strolling untouched into the end zone. Pontificated the pundits: The 49ers are dead. Done. Toast. Fubar. [Insert synonym here.] Some have even gone as far as to question the decision to trade Alex Smith, since his Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0 and at the top of their division while the 49ers are 1-2 and have spent the last two weeks getting collectively rolled by the Seahawks of Seattle and the Lucky Horseshoes of Indianapolis.
To which I will offer one completely unambiguous response: Huh?
Back in my day—all of 10 years ago—this thing we now call social media didn’t really exist. Emails used to be big back then (it was the best of times…it was the worst of times). The dawn of Twitter, Facebook and other such innovations has made the flow of information and opinions travel quite literally at the speed of light (or much slower than that if you have Comcast). The fact of the matter is that it is very easy to fall into the trap of making snap judgments on things that really shouldn’t be decided on in the spur of the moment.
If you don’t believe me, then consider this: How many times have you, in the last year, heard the argument that Player X is the greatest of all time? How many times have you seen an article backtracking on a previously erroneous assertion? Heck, what are the odds of me apologizing for a totally incorrect and dumb article this time next week? In essence, as a society, we are ever quicker to crucify and equally quick to backtrack and say, “My bad.” As a result, we tend to write off teams that really shouldn’t be written off.
The 49ers continue to have one of the most loaded rosters in all of football, despite the barrage of injuries they have suffered and the upcoming absence of Aldon Smith as he goes through rehab for his substance abuse issues. They have one of the brightest young stars in quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who, lest we all forget, is going through his first full year as a starter. To expect him to produce at the incredible level he did all of last year on a week in, week out basis is foolish; all young quarterbacks have growing pains and Colin Kaepernick will eventually right the ship.
Most importantly, the 49ers have a strong front office and an incredible coach in Jim Harbaugh, who would probably rather set himself on fire than lose three games in a row. It bears noting that the past two years have been remarkably short of adversity for the 49ers. This really marks the first time in a long time that the 49ers have been reeling and in crisis mode. Simple logic says that they will return with a vengeance and regain their contender status very, very soon.
The New York Giants have made an art of this kind of swoon, getting the temperature on Tom Coughlin’s (perpetually hot) seat to near-boiling point before uncorking a Super Bowl-winning (and job-saving) run. On the other end of the spectrum is Harbaugh, who has seen nothing but unprecedented success since taking over as head coach. His pearly white 28-10-1 record speaks for itself. However, Coughlin has two Super Bowl rings to his credit despite a relatively mediocre regular season record over the years. The TL;DR version of this entire column? Don’t write the 49ers off. Nostraviggy proclaimeth that they will end the year on a very successful note.
The Daily almost gave up on Vignesh Venkataraman after a streak of three consecutive mediocre columns. To remind Viggy how lucky he was to survive the losing streak, email him at viggy ‘at’ stanford.edu.