San Francisco’s first NFC West title since 2002 certainly is cause for celebration. According to coach Jim Harbaugh, it lasted for, oh, six hours.
Back to work.
Every season is a reality unto itself. There is no connection from one year to the next. That’s the nature of professional sports.
When you’re this close to getting it all, you focus on getting it all. Don’t wait for next year; don’t assuage yourself with feelings that there is going to be “more time” to accomplish the ultimate goal.
Example: Dan Marino led the 1984 Dolphins into the Super Bowl; the 49ers won. Afterward, everyone said that Marino had plenty of time to get back, and he surely would. Except that he didn’t. Winning the Super Bowl is about the only thing that Marino didn’t accomplish, and if he had two or three rings there’s little doubt that many would call him the greatest quarterback ever.
So, with four games remaining, the 49ers get to relax—somewhat—but also to assess. Looming on the horizon is at least one playoff game, the first in nine years. And maybe two. And a quick scan of the rest of the NFC suggests that there are two teams to worry about: Green Bay and New Orleans.
Here are four things the 49ers need to work on prior to hosting a playoff game in January.