Many of us 49ers fans have high expectations for the team. It comes with the rich legacy the team has had, not to mention the last few years where the 49ers were in the NFC Championship game and a Super Bowl. No, the Lombardi trophy was not brought back to the Bay Area in 2012 (first loss in a Super Bowl), but still, there is an expectation among 49ers fans that the team is usually in the playoff hunt.
Of course, that ignores the fact that a lot of the playoff activity was in the 1980s and 1990s. The 2000s, quite frankly, were terrible. I wasn’t football aware in the 1970s, and wasn’t alive before that, so I can’t comment much on that.
This year, 2014, the team is not doing so well. Not by most teams standards, of course, who would probably be really happy with a 7-5 record, but by 49ers standards, it’s not so great. The offense is absolutely anemic this year. The 7 wins this year has occurred because the defense has been nothing short of outstanding, despite all the talent currently on injured reserve (Bowman, Willis, etc). Special teams is also not that special right now.
Among 49er fans, there is a lot of finger pointing about who is to blame. The most vocal bunch are ones who are clamoring for the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Some are starting to blame head coach Jim Harbaugh. There’s also folks calling for the replacement of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
I’m in none of those camps, at least not yet. Unlike a lot of fans, I remember that, even during the dynasty years, the 49ers played some really bad football games. Yes, five Superbowls were won, but 13 playoff games were lost between the years of 1981 and 2002. A few of those losses were ugly, too.
And then there was the 1991 season where, despite a 10-6 record, the 49ers didn’t make the playoffs at all. I don’t recall anyone demanding that then head coach George Siefert or then offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren be fired, but of course this was before the Internet Outrage Machine existed. Beyond the newspapers and the conversations you had with your friends, this kind of rhetoric was simply hard to come by. That said, Mike Holgrem went onto coach the Green Bay Packers the following year.
I know we are all passionate about this team, we want them to win, and we all think we know the best way to make that happen. The fact is, the 49ers will not necessary hear, or do, anything we say. The team at all levels is very aware of their situation with respect to making the playoffs. They understand what is at stake and they understand they must execute at the highest level from here on out to have a shot at a Lombardi.
And if they don’t win? Changes will surely be made for next year in order to improve the 49ers chances for a Lombardi. Even if they do win, changes will be made next year because of the draft, injuries, free agency, or whatever. Either way, things will change next year. Arguing over the minutia of what those changes should be? Not my thing, personally.
Meanwhile, I’m not worried about the “crisis.” I’m looking forward to the next game.