Some people are fans of the San Francisco 49ers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the San Francisco 49ers. This 2012 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read the other Why Your Team Sucks 2012 previews here.
1. Deep down, you know that NFC Title Game Alex Smith is the REAL Alex Smith. Goddamn, the Niners are loaded. The front seven is arguably the best in football, AND they get to play six games against the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks, all of whom ranked in the top 4 of sacks allowed last season (as we noted here before, the NFC West is where offensive line play goes to die). They also upgraded the receiving corps, added touchdown vulture and professional helmet-putter Brandon Jacobs to the backfield, drafted LaMichael James to become Darren Sproles Jr., and they still have freakshow Vernon Davis catching seam routes down the middle of the field. This team could easily make it to the Super Bowl...
EXCEPT that Alex Smith is still hanging around. Smith's vintage performance against the Saints in last season's divisional playoff will end up hurting the Niners in the long term, because it made it that much harder to rid themselves of Smith for good. The real Alex Smith is a skittish backup with tyrannosaurus hands and a penchant for underperforming against competent defenses. There's a certain tragedy in seeing a roster this good become co-dependent with Alex Smith for success. Some teams have the misfortune of seeing peak roster years coincide with off-peak quarterbacking years, and vice versa. You don't want that. You want your years of good quarterbacking to coincide with your years of having a talented roster. Otherwise, your good roster goes to waste on an average QB, and by the time you've corrected your QB problem, the roster is dogshit again. Jim Harbaugh was this close to sacking up and bringing in Peyton Manning, but he just couldn't do it. That'll sting when Smith hangs a 12-26 fartjob in another playoff game.
2. "Randy Moss has never looked better!" You're gonna hear that a lot this month, because that's what Randy Moss does. He shows up to camp, looks real fast running against air, and then promptly spends the regular season buffing his nails on every weakside play. In a perfect world, Moss plays the slot, runs way downfield on every play, and either catches a bomb or clears out enough space for receivers like Davis and Mario Manningham to catch 15-yard passes again and again. That's what his coaches jack off to at night. In reality, Moss ends up spitting on the help and expecting a moving walkway to escort him down the field. He's also old as balls now.
3. The ballad of Kyle Williams. I feel awful for Kyle Williams. Anyone who has ever failed in life surely felt heartbroken for Williams when he committed those two crucial turnovers that handed the Giants a trip to the Super Bowl. You know that Williams thinks about that game every day and every night. You know that he tries to distract himself by thinking of other things, and maybe hanging out with his family. And sure, maybe he can block it out for a moment, and find time for a smile or a laugh. But deep down, Williams must feel as if those smiles are counterfeit, that he'll never truly be right until he can get on the field and MAKE things right. And even if he does make it on the field, there's no guarantee he'll be able to atone for his mistakes. It must crush Williams to know that this could haunt him forever, and that coldhearted fans may never let him forget it. I feel for him. I really do. I hope he succeeds and has a wonderful life.
But seriously though, the Niners should have cut his ass. You can't have Mr. Butterfingers cluttering up your roster.
4. You dormant Niners fans should be ashamed of yourselves. I know you, Niners fan. You gave up on the team after all those years of John York buttbungling one of the NFL's premiere franchises. You lit out the second Dennis Erickson was hired. I don't blame you. Dennis Erickson will do that to a man. But the second this team showed signs of life last season, you came right back into the fold and acted like you'd never left. YOU CAN'T FOOL ME. I know that you spent the past decade ignoring football in favor of patrolling farmer's markets for organic rhubarb for your Vietnamese taco truck and I will not sit here and listen to you BULLSHIT THE WORLD about how you never lost faith. You don't deserve a defense this nasty. You deserve an exquisitely fragile finesse team that can't run the ball and gives up 79 points in any game with playoff implications. Also, Chris Berman still loves your stupid team and I can't abide that.
5. Hear it Niners fans!
Because they blew five chances to beat an inferior team at home in the NFC Championship game. And deep down, every fan knows they won't get that far again this year. Also, Alex Smith. (sigh)
Harbaugh will assumedly be your No. 1 reason for hating the Niners, seeing as how he's a complete jackass and all. Really looking forward to the wheels falling off that team so we can find out exactly what the difference is between him and Singletary, because it might not be much. His rah-rah bullshit and weird desire to go the extra mile in shoving his lies down our throats that we witnessed when he embarrassed himself in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes has been noted nationally.
But what has completely flown under everybody's radar, with an assist from the homer-iffic SF sports media, is that he got a lot of play for giving some locker room speech about the only thing he won't tolerate from his players is the abuse of women. This was referenced often last season to illustrate what a stand-up guy he is, different from the others don't you know! And what happens this off-season? He signs fucking Perrish Cox immediately after he was acquitted of sexual assault, despite the abundant physical evidence and damning testimony from Demaryius Thomas. I mean it was like the day or two after the trial concluded... he probably still had cuff-marks on his wrists.
And if it isn't, reason #2 for hating the Niners should be their fans. They are without a doubt the worst fan base on the West Coast aside from Lakers fans. Their general fair-weather nature is not a secret. SF is a baseball town. Nobody gives a shit about the Niners until it's mid-December and they're winning. It really is like night and day. If they make the playoffs again this year I will stick my head in the oven before I venture to the Financial District.
The bandwagon rolls hard in this town. And while we're generalizing, Niners fans have this weird thing going on where they're sticking to their old guns from the DeBartolo era with the "Winning With Class" mantra, but years of playing second-fiddle in the heart department to Raiders fans has led to them overcompensating for their insecurity and puffing their chests out like a bunch of wine-and-cheese tough guys. There were firearm incidents at each of their first two preseason games last year. But the best example is their rallying cry last season, which was an awful club rap "song" that was just some dude repeating "Tony Montana" over and over again which was played in their shitty broken down stadium every time they kicked off. It made the corny songs Ice Cube has been doing for the Raiders sound like lost tracks from Death Certificate.
I implore you to mention the Perrish Cox signing, as I am a small man.
Justin Smith has an Anheuser-Busch tattoo on his bicep.
Aldon Smith got a DUI, then he got stabbed at his own party. That has to be some sort of accomplishment akin to hitting for the cycle in baseball.
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