Andy Lee Is the San Francisco 49ers' MVP and a True Sporting Hero

Colan LamontAnalyst IIMay 6, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25:  Punter Andy Lee #4 of the San Francisco 49ers punts against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Andy Lee is one of my heroes in sports.

That statement may sound a tad unexpected, but it's true. I think that Andy Lee is every bit as important to the San Francisco 49ers as Patrick Willis, Alex Smith and Frank Gore.

Jacksonville Jaguars fans watched in horror as their management selected punter Bryan Anger in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. I'll go out on a limb and say that I'd be completely fine if Andy Lee had been a first-round pick back in 2004. After all, Rashaun Woods or Andy Lee?

Lee won games for the 49ers in 2011, consistently pinning offenses back into their own territory, thus giving the 49ers' defense the green light to attack. David Akers may have won the NFL scoring record for a kicker, and Blake Costanzo may have given a spark. But Andy Lee was my special teams hero last season.

The Bay Area is blessed to have both Andy Lee and Shane Lechler—the two best punters in the league— but Andy Lee is only starting to get the credit he deserves. A first-team All-Pro last year, Andy Lee averaged a career high 50.9 yards per punt, but he still doesn't have a highlight package on YouTube. Wrong.

Jim Harbaugh is lucky to have the best 3-4 defensive end in the NFL, the two best inside backers in the NFL, the best young pure pass-rusher AND the best punter in the NFL.

San Francisco 49er fans across the world should share my sentiment.

Andy Lee for MVP.

69,000 49ers fans at 'The Stick' should repeat these words throughout game-day to show their appreciation.

For me, there is Lionel Messi, there is The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Adrian Peterson and Lorenzo Amorusu. Andy Lee is now the most recent addition to my sporting heroes list.