The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Nolan Nearly Delirious For Mere 'Exhibition' Win

Lowell Cohn, Press Democrat

This is what I know. The 49ers were losing before the Bucs declared the game an exhibition.After Jeff Garcia threw a touchdown pass late in the second quarter, putting Tampa Bay ahead 13-7, Jon Gruden removed Garcia from the game. It had something to do with the correct priorities -- Gruden needs Garcia for the playoffs. He doesn't need Garcia against the Niners, who currently don't matter in the National Football League.After Garcia came out, the Bucs bagged the game and the Niners won. That's how the game played out and if you see it differently, if you take hope from the 49er win, you are kidding yourself.Niner coach Mike Nolan helps you kid yourself -- he is a kidder and a fooler and a purveyor of fantasies and a trickster. The 49ers now have won two in a row and, even if they lose next week in Cleveland, Nolan can tell his bosses he won two of his final three. That sounds good. Last year, he won two of his last three and he probably bragged about that, too.But if you look closely, you'll notice he lost four of six to finish things out in 2006. With Nolan, things always require scrutiny. He offers false promise and his team does not come together. I am sorry to sound critical, but I can't praise Nolan for winning a mere exhibition game.Nolan was happy, verging on delirious, after beating the semi-interested Bucs. Of course, he was."We shot ourselves in the foot early in the season," he said by way of justifying himself. It was an interesting statement and it makes you question the word "early." Before the current two-game, umm, winning streak, the Niners had lost two of three and, get this, 10 of 11. So they didn't only shoot themselves in the foot early. They shot themselves in the foot most of the time.

Basically, they are foot shooters.Among other limitations, Nolan has a short and highly selective memory and he wants to convince people his interpretation of reality is better than theirs. At his postgame news conference, he declared open competition at quarterback next season between Alex Smith and Shaun Hill. That's assuming Nolan himself has a job next season."To be a good football team, you need competition," the coach lectured. Well, wait a minute. Hill has been a pleasant surprise, has performed well in a desperate situation. But he is not Joe Montana and he's not Steve Young and he's almost certainly not Smith.I mean, let's be real about this. We have not exactly entered the Shaun Hill Era. You can badmouth Alex Smith all you want -- he's been a disappointment -- but he is a better athlete than Hill and he has a better arm and a more promising future.Hill has superior instincts than Smith. Give him that. But he will be a career backup. Nolan will try to make you think differently, but it's another of Nolan's illusions. He deals in daydreams.When Nolan, the myth maker, left the interview room, congratulating himself on the splendid progress of his team, Bryant Young came to address the media. He was saying goodbye to the home fans and to his exemplary career and to the Niners as they are now and as they used to be. He represents an end, not a beginning. Keep that in mind. He is the last Niner to win a Super Bowl -- it seems so long ago.So we praise Young, but we wonder about the 49ers, about who they are and where they're headed. I asked what he hopes for his team as he prepares to walk away."I hope they establish themselves back on top," Young said. "In time, it will happen."He didn't say how much time. Nolan has had three years and made no progress. Young might be talking decades or centuries.Young considered quitting after last season, he said. Oh, this is the saddest part. He came back because he believed in Nolan -- as we all did at the time.

In 2006, the 49ers won seven games and Young, in his loyal, earnest heart, felt he couldn't abandon his teammates on the verge of greatness. He was getting old and his body hurt, but he had come this far and he carried the standard of former Super Bowls and his teammates needed him. So he returned. It was his duty.He had swallowed Nolan's illusion, wanted to believe the best about his coach. Who can blame him?"I felt we would win 10 games or more and be right in position to go to the playoffs," he said of this miserable season. "It is what it is. When you make those types of commitments, nothing's ever promised."Well, things definitely were promised, but the promises never materialized.

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