Since being selected as the overall number one pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Smith has somehow managed to stay with the same team, despite missing a whole year (2008) and failing to win more than seven games in his first five seasons.
Under the tutelage of Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary Alex Smith managed 19 regular season wins in 54 games – with 0 playoff games.
In a rather bizarre coincidence Smith has managed 19 regular season wins (and a tie) under his current head coach Jim Harbaugh, himself a former NFL quarterback.
These 19 wins have come in just two seasons and have been coupled with a playoff win and an appearance in the 2012 NFC Championship.
Most head coaches would have given up on a quarterback who won 35% of his games, but Harbaugh somehow helped Smith out of his slumber.
Smith led the 49ers to a 13-3 record in 2011 and was looking to make his second consecutive playoff run in 2012. He was sailing along with a starting record 0f 6-2-1, completing over 70% of his passes, when Coach Harbaugh decided that simply wasn’t cutting the mustard.
The decision to drop Smith, and replace him with a raw second year quarterback by the name of Colin Kaepernick, was a move bolder than a 100 foot high brass monkey’s balls.
Turns out it was the right move, as the 49ers are in their first Super Bowl for two decades and despite suiting up for the game Alex Smith is about as likely to throw a pass next Sunday as I am.
Smith, like all former number one picks, will have dreamed of playing in the big game, not just holding a clipboard and hoping he gets a shot if the starter gets injured. I’m not saying Smith wishes any ill of Kaepernick, far from it, but he knows he is one errant Kaepernick scramble from a spot on the field in front of a global audience.
Unfortunately Smith is looking to become the second quarterback in Super Bowl history to both be drafted number one overall, suit up in a Super Bowl and not make a single pass. That honour has already been bestowed upon Drew Bledsoe, the former New England Patriots quarterback who kept the pine warm in Super Bowl XXXVI.
For Smith’s sake I hope he gets to make just one pass attempt in the Super Bowl – unlikely – but that would be a great story.