The NFL season is finally here. Well, just about. Preseason games have already kicked off, and fans everywhere are getting excited about their respective teams. This crunch time before the season begins seems to be a reflection period. You look back and reflect on your team’s players and record from last season, while predicting and assessing their chance for success in 2012.
As a born-and-bred 49ers fan, I’ve seen a lot. The 49ers have had both great and terrible years in the NFL, but last season was a true Cinderella story for the team. This season, coming off such great momentum from 2011, Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers seem ready to repeat the same path as last year. Their positive attitude and productive offseason make the playoffs seem within reach again, and Alex Smith looks ready for another electrifying season. Here is a little tale of the team that many had regarded as the “ugly stepsisters” of the NFL.
The dynasty seasons of the 80′s and 90′s were incredible, but then success petered out. Things took a turn for the worse between the years of 2008-2010 when “evil stepmother” Mike Singletary took over. Intentionally dropping his pants while giving a team locker room talk clearly pinpointed how out of touch he was with coaching his team. Singletary looked as if he drank from the wrong cup, and it seemed like any player on the 49ers who tried to speak up was punished for it. Those poor guys suffered under Singletary’s reign until he was finally fired in 2010.
January 7, 2011, was a glorious day. “Fairy godmother” Jim Harbaugh waltzed in and signed a five-year, $25 million contract to become the next head coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Rumor had it that Harbaugh had the Midas touch, and any team he touched turned to gold!
Due to the lockout, the 49ers had everything going against them in preparing for the 2011 season. Whatever magic this fairy godmother cast upon the 49ers was amazing. Harbaugh led the team to a 13-3 record in the regular season. The 49ers won the NFC West division while finishing second overall in the NFC and went all the way to the NFC championship game. The team had not made the playoffs since 2002.
Yes, last season was truly magical for the 49ers organization and all of its fans. Many statistics say that a team with a 13-3 record and a trip to the playoffs will never repeat that same journey, although I beg to differ. Things change frequently in the NFL, and every single game is full of the unexpected. In the world of football, you just never know if your team will be the one riding off into the sunset with a horse and carriage.