San Francisco 49ers: Foolish 49ers' Fans Ripping Smith Would Rather Be Right Than Give Coach a Chance

Ted SillanpaaAnalyst IApril 23, 2011

49ers' fans tend to forget that Alex Smith has played well and won in games like this one against an improved Raiders' team.
49ers' fans tend to forget that Alex Smith has played well and won in games like this one against an improved Raiders' team.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers' fans are trying to come to grips with the idea that the club won't draft Blaine Gabbert or any other quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Well, it's not so much that they're trying to accept that the franchise won't be adding a big-name passer as that the 49ers' fans are having to acknowledge that the organization really wants veteran Alex Smith to return for head coach Jim Harbaugh for the 2011 season.

We don't know if Smith wants to return to San Francisco. We are only sure that 49ers general manager Trent Baalke has made it clear that he and Harbaugh want Smith to return.

(Well, it's conceivable that they're pretending to want Smith back as part of some pre-draft ruse aimed at trading picks to a team that wants Gabbert at No. 7 overall.

The 49ers' fans are in the incredibly rare position of having some control over what goes on down on the field. In fact, many seem to realize that they can have some impact on Smith's return and how he might perform if he is in San Francisco in 2011.

Readers who just can't imagine the 49ers bringing Smith back are writing things like, "Smith won't respond well when we start booing him...too much pressure," or, "If Harbaugh re-signs Smith, Smith will be booed out of the stadium."

Here's an idea ... maybe those fans should acknowledge that they've booed Smith (and every other 49ers' quarterback) for years and that the 49ers' quarterbacks have played very poorly.

Booing is something that I've never understand, but I've spent years watching in the media box or sitting quietly with the understanding that I wouldn't be encouraged to do my job more effectively if angry readers stood behind me to heckle, jeer and boo as I was trying to finish a story.

It's clear that loads of 49ers' fans would rather be right about Smith being a bust than to step back, let Harbaugh build his team and acknowledge that booing athletes is just a elementary expression of frustration aimed at a complete stranger.

Panthers' fans could step back and say, "Booing Jimmy Clausen doesn't help our Panthers win, so...we'll see what happens if we don't boo every thing he does."

Fans who don't like Matt Leinart might be helping their team if, when Leinart next takes the field, they either cheer his successes or suffer his failures in silence. 

The only NFL fans who had reason to boo a player, literally, off the field were the Raiders fans who simply couldn't stomach watching quarterback JaMarcus Russell throw away his career.

He made no effort to improve and wasn't a hard-worker. His life after being released by the Raiders showed that fans in Oakland did themselves a favor by booing Russell into oblivion.

Smith, though, does work hard. He is proper physical condition. He has shown signs that he can win in the NFL.

He has also shown some mental toughness by coming back after all the benchings with juvenile fans, all liquored up, booing him as the culprit in a failed play...even though the liquored up fans really had no idea who was truly at fault.

This is to 49ers' fans, OK? There's no news about Smith or reports that he is the guy Harbaugh wants to lead the 2011 team.

It's about the fans who gripe about the organization...crucify Smith...and promise never to rest as long as Alex Smith is the 49ers' quarterback.

Anything can happen, OK? Anything. Smith can go bust in 2011. Smith can improve and the 49ers could win.

Those 49ers' fans who brag about being willing to boo Smith off the field or to boo and show the QB is weak-willed should admit that they don't care if the 49ers win...they just want to be right about Alex Smith.

Fans who want the 49ers to move forward in 2011 simply have to be smart enough to admit that booing Smith to try to break him once and for all is nothing but an effort to assure the 49ers that they'll make no progress at the quarterback position.

Harbaugh and Baalke like Smith. who find the need to heckle, jeer and curse Smith are pulling for the 49ers to lose.

That doesn't really make sense, does it.

(Ted Sillanpaa can be reached at