*Author’s Note: In a former blogging life I wrote a weekly 49er post called “The Displaced Faithful” (I lived in Kansas) with my good buddy and Connecticut’s #1 Niners Fan, “Huss”. Last year, as I boarded up my blog for law school, I consolidated my posts into an intimate email to my homeboys. Well, with the advent of Section925.com, I guess my weekly Niner posts are back and open for public consumption. Just know the titles will generally be musically thematic (if not all Dylan) and the analysis will be inspired, or at least completely biased and homerific-logic if you can suspend reality and not think too much about it. Gracias, enjoy, and Go Niners!
If any Niners fan considers last year as anything but an amazing and sublime journey that went down in a hail of gunfire, yet everyone at the funeral was glad that the person lived that long, then you weren’t a FAITHFUL from 2002-2010. For the new bandwagon fans please click this (Faithful please do not click this) and then do the math (no disrespect to the great Brian Jennings) of why we were not in the playoffs. So yeah, while losing at home on the NFC Championship Game because of one bone-head special teams play by the 49ers and one great special teams play by the Giants was a bummer, I will take heartbreak any day over being in a numb, heartless, failing relationship (plus we got this and this and that’s ok with me).
Looking forward to this season I was trying to think about how I would break down our (yes our) chances this year. As I kept thinking, I was never thinking of anything specific that I could focus on to say “X" is why we will be good. We have all 11 defensive starters back, Alex Smith does not have a new offense to learn, we added offensive weapons at the wide-out position, we have Jim Harbaugh, we have depth at running back, Aldon Smith is going to play on downs not named third, his brother Justin is a man of men, Boobie Dixon made the roster… the list goes on. On paper there is nothing too very scientific as to why the Niners are going to be good. When you’re constantly thinking about the 49ers, like I do, they are just a dog gone good team.
Even though the schedule, compared to last year, seemingly is a hand of cards that is no good to be holding (Green Bay, Jets, Saints, and Pats on the road and no crappy third place teams like last year), the strength of schedule is, by definition, ranked a lowly 26th (if you buy into that, I don’t really but sort of). The other thing is that the 49ers are road tested from last year, so a split on the road this year for those games is not bad. For the record, I’d put my money on losses at GB and NO and wins at NY and NE. I am still rattled by the Saints fans at the Superdome when I witnessed, first-hand, 72,000 people rooting against the great UC Davis graduate, JT O’Sullivan.
I know what the critics are saying. Similarly, I don’t think that the Niners will win 13 games this season because 1) we are not sneaking up on anyone and will get everyone’s best shot, 2) our schedule has the aforementioned “four BIG road games,” plus the Lions, Bears, and Giants (oh my…sorry I hate myself for that), improved Dolphins and Bills, and the always tough game in Seattle, and 3) nothing really bad happened last year so Murphy’s Law says it will happen this year via injury (knock on wood), Seattle being super good, or something screwy happening. Having said that, The NFC West still has the Nards and the Lambs and 10 or 11 games will get the job done.
I know that I’m not making any great connections about why the Niners are going to be successful this year. And unlike the years past I am not falling for some intricate scheme or a theory that wouldn’t pass inspection. On my internal confidence barometer it seems like the path the Niners have been hurled by Coach Harbaugh is the right one. Now, I’m not going to any great extremes, like Super Bowl or bust. BUT, 10,000 Elvises and 1 Boobie Dixon can’t be wrong. Sometimes it’s inexplicable, sometimes it’s ugly, but the Niners are a tough team that get it done and there is nothing that would make me think that is going to change going into the fall of 2012.
As us Faithful walk out of the darkness of the off-season and into the weekly shadows of doubt, I’m not going to go into any great trouble over whether the 49ers will make the playoffs this year. After thinking about the Niners' future this off-season, I believe it is whatever it seems. There is nothing too heavy to burst the bubble of them making the playoffs, and once they get there, who knows... I’m just thinking of a series of dreams.