“Who’s Got It Better Than Us?”…

I love hearing Jim Harbaugh exhorting his team in the locker room, “Who’s got it better than us?”  And they yell back.. “Nooo-bodyyyy!”  The new 49ers head coach is driven, intense, competitive… and he’s as tough as nails.  But the genesis of this celebration goes back to his childhood.  I heard Jim tell the story in Andrea Kremer’s excellent piece on HBO’s Real Sports last summer.  It was his dad, the patriarch of the football family and long time college coach Jack Harbaugh who used to ask his young boys, John and Jim…”Who’s got it better than us?”  They would holler from the back seat… “Nooo-bodyyy!”  When Jack Harbaugh, now 72, speaks of how proud he is of his sons, there are tears in his eyes.  And I know he’s now watching these locker room exchanges, which were born in their tiny house a generation ago.   When he hears “Who’s got it better than us?”…  I can only imagine the pride that fills his heart.

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October 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

49ers.. On An Unlikely Roll…

After The Bee’s Vic Contreras pointed out that, for the 49ers, this season feels a little like 1981..  how can you not get excited?  30 years ago, the Niners had come off a 6-10 season… after missing the playoffs for the eighth consecutive time.  This year, the 49ers are coming off a 6-10 season… after missing the playoffs for, uh… the eighth consecutive time.  We all know what happened in 1981.  The Bill Walsh-led Cinderella team went all the way to the Super Bowl… and won it.  I know, it’s way too early to think about anything beyond the next game.  But no one expected Jim Harbaugh’s guys to be 5-1 at this point.  Most of the “experts” picked the Rams to win the West.  And no, we don’t have Joe Montana.  But 1981 was long before Jerry Rice.  Their running back that year was Lenvil Elliott… and the tight end was Charle Young.  They were underdogs to the very end.  That’s the way we like it.  So whatever happens….at least 49er football is fun again.  I know we didn’t say that very much last year.

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October 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Alex Smith.. At Last…

I just want good things to happen to this guy.  No, I didn’t expect him to return to the 49ers this season.  He’s been vilified, spit on, virtually tarred and feathered… and blamed for everything including the Lindbergh kidnapping.  To say his first six seasons were a little rocky is the understatement of the year.  But look what’s happened.  Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter says Alex is “reborn.”  With Jim Harbaugh on board… and with essentially the same roster as last year… the Niners are 5-1.  I thought if Alex Smith was just decent this year, it would be a confidence boost for him.  He’s been better than that.  And this humble kid (who’s the same age as Tim Lincecum), still gives credit to his teammates.  And his guys love him back.  The other day, Frank Gore said “Number 11’s coming!  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”  If Alex keeps this up, he’ll be more than the Comeback Player of the Year… he’ll be Comeback Player of The Decade.  No, Alex Smith is not Joe Montana.  The good news is…. he doesn’t have to be.  In this week’s SI, Peter King suggests that Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers in the NFC title game is not impossible.  Yes, this is the same Peter King who picked the Rams to win the West.

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October 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

The Handshake = The Season…

I know, you’ve heard about the overblown Harbaugh-Schwartz incident a hundred times this week.  But I realized that the Handshake and ensuing melee, which took all of about 12 seconds… is a microcosm of what the 49ers have done to most of their opponents this season.  They get under your skin, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Getting beat by a bunch of no-names is so humiliating that afterward you chase them across the field and yell, “You ruined my day!”  They not only refuse to apologize.. they’re laughing all the way to the locker room.

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October 19, 2011 at 10:54 am | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Dream Team Experiences.. A Nightmare…

Oh the 49ers didn’t do much.  They only came from 20 down midway through the third quarter to upset the Philadelphia Eagles on the road… and are now an unlikely 3-1.  Yeah the Eagles, known as The Dream Team, amassed a staggering 500 yards on offense… and Michael Vick is as dangerous as advertised.  So how in the world did this happen?  That’s what Philly coach Andy Reid is wondering.  His tight-lipped post game comments were priceless… he was STEAMING.  Did the Eagles aid in their embarrassment?  Of course… two field goals missed and a couple of big fumbles.  But the 49ers took advantage… and with every first down, every completed pass, every dive into the end zone…. their confidence grows.  And it looks like DeSean Jackson likes to trash talk before the game’s over.  You know what that makes you?  1-3.  Hilarious.

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October 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Get Ready For 1st Place After Week 3

Written by our resident 49ers Homer, Andy Hawk

 

On a week after a heartbreaking loss where QB Alex Smith had a secret concussion, the starting WR’s are injured and out of the lineup, and Frank Gore looks a step slow and ineffective – is there a reason to be a 49ers HOMER this week?  Sure, mainly because the Niners are playing The Cincinnati Bengals this week.  Hey, the Bengals are young and hungry, but they are still the Bengals.  The Niners, even with their struggles right now, are favored on the road this week to win plus 2 and half.  That’s how little the Bengals are thought of.  San Francisco to start 2-1.  Yeah, I can still be a Homer this week.

 

We can say for sure the 49er run defense looks great.  That’s not a problem.  SF should figure out their issues with the secondary this week against a rookie QB and batch of very young receivers.  While the Bengals have shown promise, there won’t be Pro Bowlers like Witten and Austin on the field this week.  Last week may have been some good medicine the Niners secondary had to take preparing them for better for the rest of the year.

 

With limited weapons Harbuagh is certainly going to earn his money with a creative game plan this week.  I’m predicting a 24-16 win on the road this week, and will be listening early on Sunday morning on ESPN 1320.

September 23, 2011 at 9:59 am | Brian Lopez's Blog | No comment

Niners-Cowboys.. Let’s Get Real…

Of course the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys have a long history… and plenty of pundits can’t stop bringing that up.  Oh, the “Rivalry”… Oh, it’s “The Catch”… Oh, it’s Bill Walsh and Tom Landry…I know every blogger, tweeter and self-described expert has to fill up time and space.  What does it all mean for Sunday?  It doesn’t mean squat.  This is about 2011, and I’ll go out on the limb and say Jim Harbaugh is living in the moment.  He doesn’t care what Michael Irvin or Troy Aikman thinks.  He’s game planning for Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and holy smokes… what are we gonna do about DeMarcus Ware?    Yes, this is an important game for Mr. Harbaugh and the Niners, who started last year 0-5.  So all the blowhard talk can be distilled into one sentence:  “If the underdog 49ers can find a way to eke out an unlikely win over the Cowboys, they’ll be 2-0 with momentum on their side.”  What’s your deal?

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September 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

Harbaugh.. The Phil Ivey Of The NFL…

The thing that drives the media horde crazy about 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is what I love the most.  He just doesn’t answer their questions with much… well, with much substance.  He’s vague, elusive, snarky and not very forthcoming.  And the dumber the questions get, the less he says.  Hilarious.   I guess people expect him to explain his thought process about the offense, defense, special teams… play calling and what he’ll have for dinner.  His attitude seems to be “I’ll just keep that to myself, thank you.”  Jim Harbaugh reminds me of the best poker players I’ve seen… like Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey. They say nothing, show nothing,  reveal even less.… then stack you off.  Will this be a fun season?  I’ll just keep that to myself…

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September 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

The Hug…

Alex Smith.. a resurrection?  Too early to tell.  But this was huge for him… seven years of underachieving, and now he wins?  Sure he was only 15 for 20, but what was more significant was what DIDN’T happen:  He didn’t fumble, throw an interception, get sacked…. or run out of time getting a play call in.   It’s only one game, but The Jim Harbaugh Era has begun.. and this means way more than just beating the Seahawks.  Things have changed, and here’s how I know…  It was The Hug. When Alex came to the bench following his touchdown plunge, the coach hugged his quarterback as if he’d just won Dancing With The Stars.  I thought he was gonna French Kiss him.  That moment told me this team has moved on… from the darkness of Singletary-Nolan-Erickson to something resembling hope.  Yeah, Dallas is coming in and we could lose to the Cowboys 45-3… so what?  For the moment, the 49ers are tied for first place.  And after what we’ve seen the last few years, isn’t that worth a hug?

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September 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Tom Nakashima's Blog | No comment

The Niners in 2011 = Surprise

The following is the latest entry from our resident “49ers Homer,” Andy Hawk.

 

Can you say this years Tampa Bay Bucs?  I think we can.  SURPRISE!  The element of surprise will work this year for the Niners.  Everyone looked at a very talented Niner roster last year and said 9-7, maybe 10-6 if all goes well.  Subtract some bad luck with bad bounces of the ball and the Niners are 8-8 easy last year.  Plus, anyone in the NFL will tell us that the Niners were the worst coached team in league last year. 

 

Now with a stronger roster and a much better system for Alex Smith and the young offensive line, everyone in the national media is predicting our favorite team from the Bay to be terrible.  SURPRISE!  Talent wise with the West Coast offense, solid running game, and improved defense, 10-6 is realistic.  San Francisco is this year’s Tampa Bay. SURPRISE to all not paying attention.   You heard it here first.

 

I mean you believe a team led by Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, and Vernon Davis can’t win the division, why did you think so last year?  So, now that we feel confident about the coaching and system is everything I just said really a fantasy?  Nope.  While the NFL is overlooking the 49ers, we will see some surprising rookie performances from Aldon Smith and Kendall Hunter, along with breakout seasons from Navorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks leading the way to a 3-1 start filled with 27-17 victories.  SURPRISE SF to be NFC West Champs.

 

I’m Andy Hawk your 49er homer and I will be listening to the first Niner win this Sunday on ESPN 1320.

September 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Brian Lopez's Blog | No comment

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