When the new Nike Elite 51 NFL uniforms were released Tuesday, it was Alex Smith who represented the San Francisco 49ers. He slipped on the lightweight jersey, stood in front of a mirror and thought one of two things:
"Dang, I look good"
"Boy am I glad to not be a Dolphin."
Wearing the slightly altered yet very familiar uniform, Smith was comfortable. And not because of the mesh ventilation (though I'm sure it's a nice feature), but because Smith is no stranger to change, both subtle and not.
In seven NFL seasons, he has had three head coaches, seven offensive coordinators and yada yada yada. We all have the story memorized by now. The current offseason, though seasoned with a dash of continuity, has been no different; one filled with much activity.
All eleven starters on defense return, but the offense remains a work in progress. Ranked 29th in passing-yards per game (183.1) last season, the 49ers have made it a top priority to upgrade their receiving corps. One catch for three yards in the NFC Championship must have been the final straw. Randy Moss (yes, that Randy Moss) and Mario Manningham were both brought in to equip Smith with dangerous playmakers and more will surely be added in the draft.
Back to a Brooklyn film studio, site of the football-themed fashion show. Smith steps away from the mirror to join the rest of his peers. He looks around, at himself and then smiles from ear to ear.
He's happy. Confident in his teammates and, most importantly, in himself.
Forget the whole Peyton Manning affair and the six seasons of inadequacy and a lack of playmakers around him; Smith and the 49ers offense will look much better in 2012.
New uniform and all.