Sunday, September 23, 2012

Looking Past The Vikings

The league told Alex he'll be fined $15,000 (twice as big a fine as if he had punched another player) 
if he wears this hat within the 90-minute period after a game again.  Which is funny, because he did it all 
last season and the league apparently didn't notice.  It's also funny because New Era Cap Company
is the official hat company for both the MLB AND THE NFL, so he's still wearing the appropriate 
sponsor's product.  It's also funny because Alex Smith grew up a Padres fan, which even 
I didn't know until I google image searched for this, so really he's just wearing this to suck up 
to the fan base that used to shit on him, when really, finally winning games was all  it took.  Still, it's a
 nice touch, and even makes Alex seem kinda cool now, at least locally.  Who ever thought that'd happen?

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh's oft-stated goal for the 49ers since taking the job has been "be better today than we were yesterday, be better tomorrow than we are today" which, as much as it has turned cliche for the ideal of constantly improving, is nice if you can actually achieve it.  If a team were to actually get better every day, even incrementally, it would at some undefined future point be the best team in the league and thus, presumably, a Super Bowl Champion.

It isn't as silly or stupid as it sounds when the 49ers truly do seem to be improving before your eyes.  Not necessarily getting better per se, but every week I find myself daring to expect more and more, as they repeatedly prove their upper limit is higher than I had hoped.  It started last year when they started winning road games outside the division (a category in which they were a hilariously bad 4-36 from 2003-2010) again.  It continued as they encountered game after game which I had written off as "well that will be a loss" when I went over the schedule, and ended up winning it.  "Oh, well, even their defense can't shut down the Saints or Packers enough for them to win against the elite teams."  And then they DID.

This year, we started out with "oh well they never win in Green Bay," and not only did they win, but they were dominant for most of the way through.  Now the talking heads on the network pregame shows and NFL network are in a scramble to put the 49ers at the top of their power rankings, and jostling each other for position to say they picked the 49ers to win the Super Bowl first.  It's both flattering and worrisome to have those guys getting in queue to fellate your team this early in the season, but it's been a while since the 49ers have been in this position, and it's a fun challenge to remember what it was like when they were that team all the time, and the fan base sat back feeling smug and entitled.  Fan swagger is already creeping back; people are wearing the hats and the jerseys again, even in the East Bay, over on the Raider side of the Partition.  Bay Area sports fans have long been classic frontrunners, owning all the team gear but waiting for an excuse to start wearing it (i.e. winning streaks) in public where other people can actually see you in it.

 San Francisco Baseball Giants' Manager Bruce Bochy, a "dull" guy now permanently 
declared cool (and legally authorized to kill hookers within the city limits) by virtue 
of winning the first world series for the team since they moved out here.  When word of the 
fine made the rounds, the baseball team decided to start trolling Roger Goodell and wearing 
49er hats during pre game interviews and warm ups.  The other wacky reliever (no, not the one you've 
heard of and are sick of seeing, he's hurt) even vowed they'd pay Alex's fine if he keeps wearing
the hat. Nothing says "looking past this week's opponent" quite like going on a tangent
about the local baseball team, too.  But the NFL's bullshit about what you can't wear and when is always
 worth making fun of, and San Francisco always oves getting an opportunity to protest shit.

 But there is no obvious improvement this week.  Pleasant Surprise is impossible.  Only horrifying disappointment in the wake of falling into a Trap Game.  Opening in Green Bay, home opening against the new rival Detroit, and off to New York to play the Tebows (though he doesn't even start for them) next week, the The Minnesota Vikings, presumptive last place team in a pretty good division, loom in prime ankle-biting position.  In the Andrew Luck sweepstakes last season, offense built around an every-down running back in Adrian Peterson that the 49er have a tradition of smothering, even back when he was new to the league and the 49er run defense was the saving grace of a bad team rather than the building block of a really good one.  Christian Ponder is not the QB the Vikings need, rather he is the QB the Vikings deserve.

Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco fools around with the local quarterback being fined for wearing the "wrong" hat.

Which is also funny because Randy Moss wore a Giants hat in a post game interview two years ago, 
during their world series run, with no tie to San Francisco and no reason to wear it other than I guess 
he thought it looked cool, and nobody in the NFL office noticed or cared then, either.

The hypercompetitiveness of Jim Harbaugh that has becoming the personality of the team, and their last year of track record, suggests they are as close to trap-game-proof as a team can reasonably be.  Last year, they beat the teams they were supposed to beat.  Badly, in some cases.  But for the first time in many many years, everyone in the country is talking about how badly the 49ers are supposed to beat someone, 10:00 am West Coast Body Clock Time notwithstanding.

After several looks at how they handle a game they "can't" win, after today we will have an inkling of how they handle a game they "can't" lose.

1 comment:

Whiouxsie said...

Not Well, Apparently.