This time last year, myself and other San Francisco 49er fans were saying our sweet goodbyes to Mike Singletary. We were thrilled to be finally free of our underachieving quarterback, Alex Smith. We were dreaming of hiring Stanford’s coach Jim Harbaugh, wondering who would be behind center and curious about the possible “inconvenient truth” that our beloved Frank Gore would never recover from his hip injury.
We were preparing ourselves for what looked to be—at best—the beginning of a long rebuilding period. None of us ever imagined that one year later the 49ers would be 13-3 and headed into the playoffs with a bye week and home-field advantage.
Even after we got our guy (Coach Harbaugh) and found out Gore would be returning to his duties as bell cow, most of us doubted the 49ers would be able to right the ship so quickly (especially with Alex “Mr. Disappointment” Smith returning as quarterback).
Most analysts and pundits predicted the St. Louis Rams would win the NFC West and that the 49ers would finish third or fourth in their division.
Well, they were wrong, and so were you, and so was I. Isn’t it fantastic?
This season will go down (for me) as one of the best ever.
I have been a 49ers fan my entire life. I was born in 1979 (just months after Joe Montana was drafted to the 49ers) and raised in the Bay Area. For as long as I can remember the Niners have been a major institution in my life.
For myself—and other kids just like me—it was abnormal not to win. Since 1979, no team has had more division championships, playoff appearances or Super Bowl wins.
Will the Niners make the Superbowl?
When I think about it now, I was spoiled. And sometimes in order to appreciate what you got, you have to lose it. That’s exactly what the last decade has felt like for me.
I now have my own kids. We are moving home to the Bay Area in February, and I can’t explain how thrilled I am to have this 49ers season coincide with our move home.
I am grateful to GM Trent Baalke, Coach Harbaugh, Alex Smith, and all of the 49ers for delivering an immaculate season for us all to remember.
I am looking forward to the playoffs and seeing just how far we can go, but this season has already been a success. The 49ers are back to their winning ways, and the fact that my kids get to live that now, that’s all that matters to me.
Good luck in the playoffs Niners!
This article was originally published in the Benicia Herald.