Just a few weeks ago, I was hoping my San Francisco 49ers would lose all their games, draft Andrew Luck and then turn the franchise around. After all, Alex Smith was never going to be any good, so why not lose them all, win the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes and then start winning Super Bowls….
A month later, the 49ers sit at 4-1 after a 48-3 thrashing of the Bucs, lead the NFC West and look to be a serious contender….
Forget “Suck for Luck,” let’s talk Super Bowl….
If not for a Week 2 giveaway against the Cowboys, San Francisco would be 5-0 and on their way to a dream season….
At 4-1, however, it’s still an incredible start and exceeded all my expectatons….
As for Smith, Jim Harbaugh has done a magnificent job; trusting him a little more each week to throw the ball downfield and make good decisions….
Evidently it was Mike Singletary’s fault that Smith played so poorly and all he needed was a better system and a coach who believed in him. Harbaugh announced Alex was his starter right after he was named the head coach and obviously knew what he was doing….
On Sunday, Smith went 11/19 for 170 yards, with three TD’s and no interceptions. On the season, Alex is among the leaders in QB rating and thrown for seven TD’s and only one INT….
I never thought I’d say this, but Alex Smith is on the way to becoming a good NFL quarterback….
Typical of the Harbaugh philosophy, the 49ers dominated the line of scrimmage; rushing for 213 yards while allowing only 86….
The 49ers have taken on the personality of their coach; tough, hard nosed, intense and a winner….
Going into the season, I wrote the 49ers had a Super Bowl-caliber defense and special teams; but lacked the QB and offense necessary to advance in the playoffs….
But now that Smith is playing with confidence and the offensive line is dominating opponents, I might have change my mind about the team not be good enough to get to the Super Bowl….
I still can’t imagine the 49ers winning a playoff game on at Green Bay in December, but who knows? Looking at the NFC, who is better than the Niners?….
I’ll give you the Packers, but other than them San Francisco seems capable of beating anyone; at home or on the road….
And if the 49ers get home field throughout the playoffs, which is a possibility considering their weak division, who knows?….
Okay, I have to stop; I’m getting too far ahead of myself….
But a guy can dream, can’t he?….
Yes, I was very critical of Al Davis over the years and took joy in the Raiders demise to the worst franchise in all of professional sports….
He was certainly an easy target; because he could be petty, vindictive, pig headed and cruel….
But he could also be generous and warm, as evidenced by all the old Raiders he kept on the payroll. I’ve read many stories about Davis hearing about a former player going through hard times and sending him a monthly check to get by….
Yes, the game had passed him by and the Raiders had become the laughingstock of the NFL; but in his prime there was not a better football man who ever lived….
I’d describe him as the Red Auerbach of the NFL; because of his background as a successful coach, talent evaluator, General Manager, Commissioner and owner….
There has never been an owner with his knowledge of football and there will never will be again….
In the 1960′s, ’70′s and ’80′s, he almost never missed on a draft pick, free agent signing or trade. Being a lifelong anti-Raider, it infuriated me that Davis always made good decisions and always had a great team….
Over the years his stubborness and pig headedness got the best of him and the once great Raiders sunk into the abyss. His inexplicable handling of the Marcus Allen situation ruined a team which was close to winning a championship; all because Al had some vendetta against Marcus….
Now that he’s gone, maybe Allen will finally write that tell-all book he’s been talking about for 15 years….
It always killed me to say this, but I’ve always admitted Al Davis, at his best, was the best football mind in NFL history. Guys he picked up off the scrap heap; like Jim Plunkett, Ted Hendricks, George Blanda, Lyle Alzado, Rod Martin, Daryl Lamonica, John Matuszak and countless others,became All-Pros and Super Bowl champions….
He had an uncanny knack of knowing who would be a great fit for the Raiders and watched the waiver wire like a hawk. He had a scout’s knowledge of every player in the NFL and as soon as a player he liked was released, he pounced and turned the guy into an All-Pro….
Being a 49ers fan I hated it, but always held a grudging respect for Davis and his organization….
When he got older and slowed down, his decisions were terrible and his refusal to hire a GM was suicidal for the franchise….
He’d become incapable of running the franchise once his health deteriorated and his team went from best to worst….
But again, when he was healthy and his mind was right, there was no one better….
Now that’s he’s gone, it’s going to difficult to despise the Raiders and revel in their defeats. My whole reason for disliking them was Davis and the criminal thugs known as Raider Nation….
If they sell to a new owner, hire a GM and become like everyone else, what’s to dislike?….
You know something, I’m going to miss him….
Even though I don’t like the Raiders, I couldn’t help but cheer for them yesterday in their emotional win against the Texans. With the face of the franchise gone, the team played hard, fought from behind and held on for a 25-20 win….
I was driving back from Chinook Winds Casino, listening to the game and enjoying the commentary of Greg Papa and Tom Flores. With the Texans inside the 10 and threatening to win in the final seconds, the Raiders intercepted Matt Schaub and won the game….
Moments later, as Papa and Flores described coach Hue Jackson dropping to his knees and crying, Papa got emotional and began to cry as he described the scene. When it was Flores’ turn, he too wept….
Without question, it was the most emotional, real and raw broadcast I’ve ever heard….
I’m not a Raiders fan, but felt a tear in my as well as I heard the broadcast….
R.I.P. Al Davis….