The 49ers Rush Back to Relevance.

Who's got it better than the 49ers? Well, there's the Packers...

It rained the day after the San Francisco 49ers clinched the NFC West to return to the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons, but for this particular long-suffering fan it felt like sunshine and rainbows.

The 49ers have won the NFC West and are back in the playoffs. Reunited and it feels so good! What a difference a real coach makes. Jim Harbaugh has taken Mike Singletary’s leftovers and turned it into fine cuisine.  It’s raining outside but it feels like sunshine and flowers.

It’s not easy being a 49ers fan east of the Mississippi River.   Why, just the other day, some kid was absolutely incredulous that someone could live in Ohio and be a fan of a football team in California.   Out of the mouths of babes.  They just don’t get it.  Geography has nothing to do with being a fan.

There was a point in the lost years of Dennis Erickson/Mike Nolan/Mike Singletary running the Niners into the ground where I just gave up.  Every bit of 49ers memorabilia, the T-shirts, the refrigerator magnets, the banners, the flag, the bumper stickers that were never placed on a bumper,  the Joe Montana and Jerry Rice action figures, all of that crap went into a bag and banished to a dark corner of the basement.

That’s the way love goes.  You can only have your heart ripped out and stomped on so many times before you stop caring or bleed to death.

Patrick Willis talks about whatever he wants.

The 49ers winning a division with stiffs like the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams is no reason to thump your chest and throwing how bad they are in your face.   Considering the Seahawks “won” the NFC West last  year with a 7-9 record, hell yeah, the 49ers deserve to have a bit of swag in their step.

Opening up a can of whup-ass on the Rams was sad, but it was necessary.  They were standing in the way of the Niners clinching the division, so they had to be moved out of the way.   Blanking them 26-0 was just the cherry on top.

I’m happy for Frank Gore who became the 49ers all-time rushing leader and I’m happy for Alex Smith, the first round pick who will always be in the shadow of Aaron Rodgers.   I’m happy for Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree who are finally justifying their high draft pick status.  I’m happy for Patrick Willis, the best linebacker in the NFL, though he did suffer a hamstring injury that will sideline him for a few games.  I’m happy for obscure players like Larry Grant and Kevin Williams who have emerged in 2011.  I’m happy for Jim Harbaugh, who has been the coach the Niners have been looking for since Bill Walsh left the building.

Most of all, I’m very happy for Aldon Smith, the team’s top draft pick this year who has completely justified his rep as a relentless pass rusher.   Smith put a bull rush on Rams tackle Adam Goldberg where he put him on his butt and dumped back-up quarterback A.J. Feely, giving him his eighth sack of the year.

It was Smith’s ninth sack that topped the eighth one.   On fourth down, Smith sacked Feely again, but instead of breaking out into a bad dance routine, pumping his fist and screaming like he hit the lottery, Smith jumped up, ran off the field, brushed past his teammates, removed his helmet, and sat on the bench with his hands folded in his lap looking like a dutiful student.

It was classy and classic at the same time.  That it was funny was an added bonus.

Class is something the 49ers have in abundance like championships.  Is it like the days when Montana, Craig, Rice, Young, Lott and Walsh were crushing the competition and hoisting five Super Bowl trophies?  No, but winning the division is a step on a road to bigger and better things.

Nobody’s talking about the 49ers return to respectability.  They’re talking about the Packers having a perfect season and Tim Tebow as the Second Coming.   Fine.  Let them ignore the 49ers. I’m good with flying under the radar for now.

The 49ers are finally relevant again.  If it’s not a complete return to glory, relevance isn’t bad as it goes.

Something to get excited about

Sacking Singletary

I wanted a winner too, but you're just another loser.

The 49ers fired head coach Mike Singletary too late.   The team had already clinched their tenth consecutive losing season weeks ago but in bedraggled NFC West they had not  lost the vague possibility of making the playoffs and possibly winning the division.   The St. Louis Rams delivered a day late Xmas gift by snuffing out the 49ers with a 25-17 loss and ending Singletary’s reign of error as well when team owner Jed York fired him with one meaningless game to go in this death march of a season.

The man who bellowed, “I want winners!”  turned out to be just another loser in the sad-sack 49ers clown car of failures.   Not as good as Mike Nolan and maybe not as bad as Dennis Erickson, but with a record of  18-24  even more disappointing than both.

If nothing else, I respect Singletary for getting talented, but unmotivated players like tight end Vernon Davis to tap into his immense potential.    Everyone knew Singletary wasn’t an X’s and O’s guy.  He had never been a head coach, coordinator or assistant on any level.   His main qualification was he was Nolan’s linebacker coach.   He had a personality as opposed to the stoic Nolan and he was a Hall of Fame player with the Chicago Bears sporting a Super Bowl ring.   For a while, Singletary’s force of will compensated for his lack of skill as a coach.    The 49ers looked good coming off of this year’s undefeated preseason beating up on rookies, free agents and scrubs

But the year the Lions went 0-16 they had won every preseason game too.  When the real season began, Seattle exposed the Niners and Singletary as the complete frauds they were.   Players retired suddenly, starters were benched, cut and traded,  Singletary supported and then fired his offensive coordinator, screamed at his rotating roster of  has been, never weres and never will be quarterbacks and after every disappointing loss said he would have to “look at the film” before he could explain what had gone wrong.   Look at the film?   All you had to do was look at the 49ers sucking every Sunday to see how sorry they were and how completely they had bought into its own hype.

The 2010 San Francisco 49ers were the biggest steaming pile of shit in the NFL.   They were one of only two teams to lose to the league’s worst team, the Carolina Panthers, and it wasn’t even an upset when they did.

"YOU! Get in there and start coaching!"

I can’t recall the last time I saw a head coach in the NFL who was so utterly overwhelmed and unprepared for the challenges of the job as Singletary.  He made QB switches like a fan, traded away Shaun Hill so Alex Smith had a clear path and then threw him aside like a used Kleenex, realized too late why everywhere David Carr has been he’s proven he isn’t a NFL caliber quarterback, pampered Michael Crabtree, never developed any sort of consistency on the offensive line, couldn’t produce a pass rush, and watched the overpaid and under talented Nate Clements steal money without a gun.

But I got over being mad about the 49ers  after the Chiefs throttled them in the third game.   I’d turn on, watch a while, see them bumble, stumble and fumble and knew Singletary didn’t have Clue One in how to right this sinking ship.  I have no idea why Sing would wear a headset during the game.  It’s not like he knew the plays or called any.  But now I know why he wore that huge crucifix around his neck.  He was praying for divine guidance.

By the time this week’s game rolled around, I was almost pulling for the Rams.  Color me spoiled, but I saw those great Montana and Young teams winning divisions and Super Bowls.   Was I supposed to get excited about a 5-9 crap team trying to make the playoffs with a sub .500 record?

The 49ers used to be the league’s Gold Standard.  They’ve been fool’s good for so long it’s hard to remember when they weren’t a terrible football team.  A decade’s worth of losing will do that to your memory.

This was a mercy killing.   Singletary will go on to have a great career as a motivational speaker but unless he gets a shot as a position coach or defensive coordinator (and he’s given no sign he’d be any good as one)  he will never be a head coach in the NFL again.

Singletary turned out to be Dingleberry.

Tick-Tock, 49ers are on the clock.

Know what you won't see next year in San Francisco? Either of these guys.

“As far as our football team, there’s no doubt in my mind, somehow, someway, we will regroup and we will keep fighting and we will make a season of it. And I still believe we can go to the playoffs. I still believe we can get those things done. We just have to get the right things in place and go from there.”

~ Samurai Mike Singletary after the game and off his meds as the feeble 49ers sunk to 1-6 losing 23-20 to the previously winless Carolina Panthers.

Singletary’s remarks are as far removed from reality as those by the brat owner, Jed York, who declared the 49ers would win the division and reach the playoffs.  Would somebody take the lotion from them and hand them a towel because playoffs this year are a wet dream.

I’m starting to come around to the distressing realization being a fan of the San Francisco 49ers is like being stuck in an abusive relationship.   Remembering when times were good  keeps you hanging oneven though times haven’t been good for a long while.   In this case, it’s been 16 long years since the 49ers won a Super Bowl.  I have the sick feeling at this rate it could take another 16 years before they get bacl to another one

It hurts to admit it, but I drank the Kool-Aid.  The 49er brain trust came selling me a fantasy and I bought it.  I believed this year’s model of the Niners had what it takes to make the playoffs.  Not go very far in the playoffs, but after a previous season where Samurai Mike drove an untalented team to a 8-8 record though the sheer force of his personality, I bought into the bullshit that the 49ers had added enough pieces to take the next step.  Playoffs, baby!

Now I wonder what this season might have bee if instead of signing confirmed losers like David Carr and Troy Smith, the Niners had gone after Donovan McNabb when he put on the market.   Somehow I can envision McNabb having considerably more success throwing to targets like Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree and handing the ball to a bruiser like Frank Gore than the hapless Alex Smith.  Oh well, Smith will probably be happier when he’s playing elsewhere next season as a backup than a starter.

My approach to the final nine games is to go out there and try to do our very best to kick, scratch, claw and fight like hell to get that overall Number One draft pick away from Buffalo.  WE. CAN. DO.  IT!

Because really, nobody’s worse than the Forty Whiners.  Yeah, they have won a game and the Bills are still looking for their first victory, but does anyone seriously think this team could have battled the Ravens toe-to-toe for 60 minutes and narrowly lose by a field goal in overtime?

Detroit is bad but they have Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and a better backup QB

in Shaun “Thrown Away” Hill.  Bufalo is bad, but at least they play hard and have the

misfortune to the be in a division with the Jets, Patriots and Dolphins.  Cleveland is bad, but they beat the Saints.  The 49ers bragged and swaggered after they almost-but-not-quite-beat the Saints.

Carolina is bad but since they beat us they’re better than us.

I’ve seen every game of the Niners have played during this bad nightmare of a lost season and know this is not a team that fights back when it gets hit hard in the mouth and knocked down.  The Forty Whiners  curl up in a ball and cover up hoping  they don’t get kicked in the nuts while they’re down.

Detroit has sucked hard for so long its hard to remember when they haven’t but they have young talent in Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and a better head coach.   There seems to be a plan in place in Detroit to build up their talent pool via the draft, grab a few free agents and take their lumps now in hopes it will pay off later.   It might even work.  Buffalo is in the same boat butat least they play hard.  They have the misfortune to the least talented team in a division with the Jets, Patriots and Dolphins.  Relocate the Bills to Los Angeles, put them in the NFC West and within a year or two they’ll own it.  Cleveland has a tougher schedule and perhaps less talent than any team in the league, but they play hard, hustle and are prone to pull off a surprise  such as the butt-whipping they laid on the Saints, a team the 49ers bragged about “almost” beating.  Carolina is really bad but since they beat the Niners that elevates them a notch.

The 49ers have to depend on a used Carr.

Even  in his fog of denial, Samurai Mike has to know by now he’s a dead coach walking.  He won’t be warding off vampires with that huge cross around his neck next season while rocking 49er gear.  Sing has been exposed as a great motivator of men and a lousy leader of them.   Too bad really because I like the guy but never having been a head coach on any level has finally caught up with him.

Samurai Mike is a master of the motivational speech, but he’s not a strategist or a tactician and when you’re not, you’d better have assistant coaches who are.  The Niners don’t and that’s yet another reason why they’re as bad as they are.

It’s one of those seasons in the NFL when there are a few good teams, no great ones, a lot of mediocre ones and some really bad ones.  It’s no surprise to find the Bills, Panthers and Lions in the one-or-none wins teams, but to find the 49ers and Cowboys hanging around with the dregs of the league is a bit of a shock.

Next up, the Niners trip across the pond to play a Denver Broncos team that got ripped to shreds, 59-14, by the Oakland Raiders, who were beaten by the Niners the week before.  If Singletary drops this game and falls to 1-7 as the 49ers go into their bye week I could see the owners firing him and allowing one of the coordinators to finish the season.

The San Francisco 29ers are the worst team in the NFL and they can hear two very loud sounds: their season officially flushed down the crapper and the voice of Commissioner Roger Goodell telling them they have ten minutes to make the first pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

Officially, they have nine more games.  Unofficially, they are on the clock.

Drving with no brakes on the Short Bus of Fail

"We're all bozos on this bus. La-la-la!"

Note:  This is a rant.  If you don’t care for pro football, the San Francisco Choking Dogs or bad language, please pass this by.  We’ll resume our irregularly scheduled socially responsible posting at a later time.  Right now, I’m too mad, too pissed and too lost in a foul, ugly mood to do anything but rage a bit.

This was supposed to be the year everything fell into place for Alex Smith, the overall Number One draft pick.  He finally had the same offensive coordinator for two seasons in a row.  He was loaded with weapons on offensive in stud RB Frank Gore, TE Vernon Davis and WR Michael Crabtree.  The Niners drafted two offensive linemen to give Smith time to stay upright while trying to decide which sexy toy he was going to play with next. And it’s all turned to crap because the offensive coordinator is  either senile, can’t figure out what plays to call or can’t call them fast enough before the play clock expires. Take your pick.

When losing become a part of a team’s psyche it permeates every facet of their game.  The Niners look for new ways to lose each week and have been wildly successful in finding them.  Against the Seahawks, they blew opportunities to score early and when Seattle figured it out they strafed the Niners through the air and rolled them as the coaches looked confused and bewildered. Result: Seahawks: 31 49ers: 6

Up next,   the Saints.  The Niners outplayed, out-hit and out-hustled the world champs but still lost.  Like 53 Charlie Browns they looked for ways to screw themselves.   They muffed punts, they fumbled, and saw not one, but two footballs bounce off the fingertips of a receiver and into the waiting arms of a Saint defender.  Even when they came back to score the game and convert a two-point conversion to possibly send the game into overtime, they left too much time on the ground for Drew Brees who found a wide-open Marcus Colston at a critical phase and set up the winning field goal.   Result: Saints: 25 49ers: 22Bolstered by a above-par performance that fell just short, the Niners confused losing narrowly with almost winning. They weren’t shy about talking shit over how they had kicked the Saints’ ass up and down the field, but had shot themselves in the foot with turnovers and penalties.  Vernon Davis felt cocky enough to guarantee a win over the unbeaten Chiefs.

Big mistake.  As it turned out, a HUGE mistake because they got run off the field.The defense collapsed again as beleaguered Chiefs QB Matt Cassell passed for 250 yards and three touchdowns as the running backs rolled up another 207 yards on the ground as the once-proud 49ers defense was shredded.

Meanwhile the 49ers offense didn’t bother showing up as the offensive line was truly offensive as first round pick Anthony Davis was a turnstile personally giving up three of the five sacks to the Chiefs.  Result: Chiefs: 31 49ers: 10   (and all alone in the cellar of the putrid NFC West). How’s that guarantee working out for ya, Vernon?  Next time, have a nice, big cup of shut the fuck up and wait until you’ve actually won the game to start talking shit.   The 49ers have been totally exposed as phonies, posers and pretenders.  Forget about winning the division.  Forget about the playoffs.  That’s all over now. This team is staring at going 0-5 before the Raiders come to town and that’s hardly a gimme anymore. If the 49ers were a television show, they’d be The Biggest Loser.   There’s not a winless team among the five 0-3 teams that has underwhelmed the way the Niners have.

No, you don't work here anymore. Yes, you can keep the hat.

Nobody’s surprised the Bills, Lions, Browns and Panthers are winless.  They’re all either young, rebuilding or both.  The 49ers were the sexy pick to not only win the division and crash the playoffs,  but a  few idiots actually had them as a Super Bowl pick.    How stupid do those dopes feel right about now?  And no, I was not one of those front-running fools.

The Browns and Bills played hard and came up short against superior teams in the Ravens and Patriots respectively.  I don’t believe for one second the Chiefs have more talent than the 49ers.  But talent without heart, guts or brains is useless and right about now the 49ers have no heart, play gutless, pathetically dull ball and may be the dumbest team in the NFL.

The optimists will say the Niners play in the 17-week monument to mediocrity that is the  NFC West so if they can put together a winning streak  9-7 might be enough to win it.   Except when you record is already closer to those seven losses than the nine wins that’s not thinking realistically.   This team is toast.  Samurai Mike Singletary talks a  great game, but more accomplished as a motivational speaker than a NFL head coach.   He doesn’t call plays and he apparently can’t make adjustments on the fly or during halftime to the game plan when things go ass up.   For this team to take that next step they thought they were ready for this season it’s going to take an experienced general manager in the front office and a proven head coach on the field to get the job done.  Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher, Jeb York just put in a “friend” request on Facebook.

Singletary says there will be personnel changes made after this latest skunking.   A scant 24 hours after proclaiming Raye would remain the team’s offensive coordinator, he was toast.  Yahoo! Sports provided  a chart of his career “success” which proves Raye makes teams worse, not better.

When you’re as fucked up as the 49ers are sacrifices must be made and scalps must be claimed.  Dumping clueless offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye was sad for him, but good for an offense stifled by his overly cautious and conservative approach.

But blaming Raye’s dull 31st ranked offense as the obvious whipping boy in the touchdown crazed NFL misses the point.  This is a team effort. Raye’s timid play-calling  only put up 38 points in three games, but coordinator Greg Manusky’s defense has given up a whopping 84 points and the special teams have been nothing to get excited about either.

Looks like I picked the wrong season to get Direct TV and the NFL Sunday Ticket.  Nice going 49ers.  Stinking up the joint and sucking elephant balls so far and being both boring and bad in the process.

It’s enough to make a brother switch over to the Bengals or Browns (yes, it has come to that!).

The 49ers boy wonder and brain trust. God save us.

Tough loss, good game, right direction.

It only takes a second to turn victory into defeat.

It only takes a second to turn victory into defeat.

The other day I saw the urologist and he checked my prostate.  Two days later, Brett “Satan” Favre stuck it to my San Francisco 49ers.   Guess which one hurt more?

You  have to handle it to Favre (really, you have to because he’s going to take it anyway) he can flat out stink or just look like an average quarterback for 59 minutes and 59 seconds, and in the last second he’ll find a way to rip out your heart, show it to you, stomp on it and spit in the hole. 

Any coach will tell you there’s no such thing as “a good loss,” but this is going to be a really tough week to get through because ESPN will be sucking off  Favre non-stop.  All things considered when the 49ers lost to the Vikings 27-24 on Favre (lucky? good) last second pass to WR Greg Lewis,  the initial crushing disappointment was swiftly replaced by a sense of accomplishment and the budding of potential.

Winning any game in the NFL is tough (unless the Cleveland Browns are on the schedule) and it’s even tougher to win on the road.   The 49ers lost their best player (running back Frank Gore) on their first play.  After rushing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns the previous week, Gore left on a cart with a high ankle sprain and didn’t return.   He’s out for at least two weeks and possibly more.

The Vikings probably weren’t stupid enough to think it would be easy, but they knew the Niners were missing the biggest weapon in their arsenal.   They probably relaxed just a little bit.   The Niners are a team that pounds the ball on the ground.  Their passing game is more of a rumor than a fact.

Since nobody is going to ease up or feel sorry for you in the NFL because of injuries, there’s no point in feeling sorry for yourself either.   The Niners held Adrian Peterson, only the NFL’s best running back, to 85 yards and no touchdowns.   Vernon Davis scored two touchdowns and finally looks like he might become the great tight end the 49ers thought he was when they drafted him.   The defense sacked Favre twice and intercepted him once.  The special teams gave up a kickoff return, but blocked a field goal and took it back for a score.

Then Favre parted the waters, pulled a rabbit out of his helmet and walked away with a 3-0 record. Now he’ll wait for the Green Bay Packers next Monday night and for  legions of sportswriters to slip on their knee pads and Chap-Stick. 

After the game, 49ers coach Mike Singletary made clear he wasn’t upset with his team’s effort. “I don’t want to see you looking at the floor! You didn’t steal nothing! You didn’t do anything wrong! We will see them again! In the playoffs! Hold your heads up! Don’t you look down at the floor for nobody! You have nothing to be looking down at the floor about! Pick your heads up, put your shoulders back and let’s rock!”

As Jim Mora would say, “Playoffs?”  A 49ers coach is talking playoffs for a team that hasn’t even played .500 ball in seven years or sniffed the post-season? 

Damn right he is.  As a long-suffering fan, I’d be happy just to see the Niners  finish a season with more wins than losses.  Making the playoffs would be like me finding Halle Berry and Monica Bellucci oiled up and glistening up the tree on Xmas morning.   Singletary already knows his team is green as grass, but he  has a nice blend of kids and greybeards to put them in the hunt.

There are  some guys who can make you believe that by the sheer force of their personality and confidence they can take bologna and make  it taste like prime rib.   When Singletary’s coaching days are over he can stroll right into his next career as a motivational speaker.   Like  President Obama, he makes you believe in possibilities when the realities say you shouldn’t.

Favre and Singletary shake hands on a rematch in January.

Favre and Singletary shake hands on a rematch in January.

Will the Niners see the Vikings again in the playoffs?  Yes.  Definitely.   But Singletary left himself some wiggle room.  He never said it would be this season. 

The 49ers aren’t a very talented team.  They don’t have much of a pass rush.  Their wide receivers are either too young and inexperienced or too old and running on fumes.   The offense line plays okay one game and like dog crap the next.  Their starting quarterback, Shaun Hill, is only a few seasons removed from formerly being the third-stringer for the Vikings.   Without Gore and All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis on defense, the Niners are far from an elite team.

The Niners will lose more games before the season ends especially when they give a grizzled old gunslinger like Favre a last shot.  Still, with the incredibly intense Singletary and his laser-like focus running the show, I never expect them to loaf on the field or give less than maximum effort in every game.   Other teams have far more talent.  Nobody else has an old school coach who despises players who don’t respect their own ability or the game they play.

I do believe.  Not that the 49ers will make it to the playoffs, but that there’s the chance they might.  They finally have the  leadership on the field and sidelines that can take them there  (the less said about the front office, the better).   A chance isn’t much to hang on to, but it’s been a long time since there was even that much.

Which is yet another reason I don’t care if Michael Crabtree ever suits up in those pretty crimson and gold uniforms.

Post Season and Post Mortems.

Drop your trousers in front of your team and whats that worth?  Oh, about $10 million dollars.

Drop your trousers in front of your team and what's that worth? Oh, about $10 million dollars.

This isn’t a blog where sports play a big part, but I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t play any part.

The regular season of the NFL came to a close this weekend, but before the playoffs start, I had a few thoughts on what I’ve learned over the last 17 weeks.

  • The Dallas Cowboys can now officially petition the league to change their nickname to the more appropriate Dallas Choking Dogs.
  • Brett Favre is not God, not the Son of God and not even a starting quarterback in the NFL any more.  He is a old man with a shot arm who teased the idiots in New York into believing he still had something left in the tank.   He sure did.   He threw as many interceptions (22) as he did touchdowns (22).    In what I pray will be the last time he drags his overrated ass on the field, in the game against the Miami Dolphins he tossed one TD pass to a teammate and three interceptions to the guys on the other side.   After a 8-3 start, the Jets flamed out by losing four of their last five and missed the playoffs.   The guy they got rid for Favre, Chad Pennington, returned to send the Jets home for the holidays, possibly cost the head coach his job and put an inglorious end to one arrogantly insufferable prick.   Not bad, Chad.
  • The Dallas Choking Dogs started the season looking like the team to beat in the NFC.   Too bad for them the league makes them play after Thanksgiving because once again they compiled a losing record in December and missed the playoffs.   Which is probably just as well since they haven’t won a playoff game in TWELVE years and lost their final game of the regular season for the NINTH straight year.    This isn’t “America’s Team.”  These are “America’s Bitches.”
  • The Detroit Lions became the first (allegedly) pro football team to lose EVERY ONEof their games.   How completely and totally do you have to suck to not win even one game among the many mediocre to bad teams in the NFL?    No word if they will petition the Obama Administration for a bailout or to be declared a disaster area.   The Lions don’t belong in the NFL.  Maybe FEMA will give them a shot.
  • The Cleveland Browns went six games and 24 quarters without scoring an offensive touchdown and were shut out in their final two games.  The Lions immediately petitioned the NFL to play the Browns 16 games next seasons. 
  • Any season where some of the biggest dicks in the NFL— Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots,  Brett Favre, Chad “Ocho Stinko” Johnson, Al Davis,  Brett “walks on water” Favre,  Jerry Jones’s Choking Dogs including Terrell Owens, Tony Romo, and Pacman Jones—all miss the playoffs, is a damn good season.

My own team, the San Francisco 49ers haven’t played in a Super Bowl since 1994 and haven’t had a winning record since 2000.   That’s a long drought for a franchise that was the first to slip on five Super Bowl victory rings, but for the first time in years there’s reasons to be hopeful that the 2009 season might herald a return to the post season.

The primary reason is in removing the “interim” from coach Mike Singletary, the Niners are recognizing that a strong defense is the best friend to a weak offense.  Singletary will have a chance to get rid of the “happy” guys on the roster–(happy they’re even in the NFL) and bring in some heartbreakers and lifetakers.  

Will it work?  Who knows?  But as the Miami Dolphins proved after going 1-15 the previous season to winning their division the next after hiring Bill Parcells to tear the team apart and build it back up again, the right man with the right plan can make a difference. 

Except  in dead zones like Detroit.   Oh yeah, and Dallas.