The Harbaugh honeymoon is officially over. Lasted longer than most expected, too.
No more sippin’ Mai Tais on the beach with toes buried in the white sand. No more five-star hotel rooms with dazzling ocean views. The flight back from Hawaii has landed at the Reality Airport and the captain has a few words.
This team, along with every other team and person, has their share of flaws.
The offensive line couldn’t even protect an old lady crossing main street, let alone its starting quarterback.
Alex Smith never does the dishes.
The offense seems content with padding the kicker’s stats.
Greg Roman always leaves the toilet seat up.
It’s hard to tell if the No. 1 receiver is Crabtree or Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Flaws, flaws, and more flaws.
They’ve been here all along, but everyone has been stuck in honeymoon mode.
“So what if my spouse leaves strange hairs embedded in the bar of soap? We’re winning.”
“So what if an empty cardboard box contains more creativity than the play-calling? We’re winning.”
For too long, the general motto was: "Who cares? We’re winning."
That won’t cut it anymore. The team is no longer winning, having lost two of the last three games.
Who cares? We're still 10-3.
Actually, the players care. The coaches care. And the fans care.
The Harbaugh-49ers marriage has reached that crucial stage of post-honeymoon realization. That five-year contract may as well have said "From this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do us part."
For much of the season, Harbaugh warned of Freddie P. Soft and forbade his presence anywhere near the team. Well, it appears as if his brother, Teddy B. Doubt, is looking to sneak in the back door.
The honeymoon is over, and has been replaced by the relationship’s first true test which contains one all-important question: How will the team respond to adversity?
Every team in the NFL must deal with certain setbacks. They come in many forms, shapes and sizes. It may be an injury, or multiple injuries to key players. It could be a string of tough losses (unless you’re the Packers), or even poor performances.
The fact of the matter is they’re all part of football and befall each team. These inevitable “bumps in the road” ultimately divide the mediocre teams from the good teams and the good teams from the great teams.
So, we return to the lone question on the test: How will the team respond to adversity?