Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco 49ers’

The most underrated starting players in the Super Bowl

The most underrated starting players in the Super Bowl

The argument is that the quarterback position is the toughest in all of professional football.

You have to know an offense inside out, have to read a defense quicker than a bionic word scanner and spend time avoiding gentlemen bigger, faster (and no disrespect) uglier than you for sixty minutes a game.

Big deal – you get to front the Pepsi adverts, go home every night to a beautiful model and a pile of money higher than a busted meth cook house.

The real men have no necks, no fear and no chance of much glory, but without them their teams are simply not the same.

Ladies and gentlemen introducing Bruce Miller and Terzell Vonta Leach, the two starting fullbacks in Super Bowl XLVII.

In the combined 161 regular season games played by Miller and Leach they have ran the ball 33 times for 96 yards – an average of just under three yards a carry.

No exactly prime time production, but their primary objective is not to partake in the noble art of carrying the pigskin, they are there to clear a path, like a snow-plow lumbering through a 20ft drift.

Let’s look at the stats for the lead tailbacks production with Leach and Miller as the fullback on the field:

Leach

2004 (as a Packer) Ahman Green 1,163 rushing yards 7 touchdowns and a trip the Pro Bowl

2005 (as a Packer) Samkon Gado 582 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns

2006 (as a Packer and Texan) Ron Dayne 612 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns

2007 (as a Texan) Ron Dayne 773 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns

2008  (as a Texan) Steve Slaton 1,282 yards rushing 9 touchdowns

2009 (as a Texan) Steve Slaton 437 yards rushing (no Texan back played all 16 games)

2010 (as a Texan) Arian Foster 1,161 yards rushing 16 tds and a trip to the Pro Bowl and voted an All Pro

2011 (as a Raven) Ray Rice 1,364 yards rushing 12 tds and a trip to the Pro Bowl

2012 (as a Raven) Ray Rice 1.134 yards rushing 9 tds and a trip to the Pro Bowl

Miller

2011 (as a 49er) Frank Gore  1.211 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns and a trip to the Pro Bowl

2012 (as a 49er) Frank Gore  1.214 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns and a trip to the Pro Bowl

That’s 11 seasons sacrificing their bodies for colleagues to go to the Pro Bowl six times. Now Leach has been recognised for the outstanding man-beast that he is, with three consecutive Pro Bowl and All Pro (the real mark of talent) call-ups in the last three seasons.

Miller on the other hand has helped Frank Gore to the Pro Bowl last season and this season, but has not been given any individual recognition by voters.

When you sit down next Sunday to the biggest show on earth (on turf) pay a thought to Miller and Leach. They may not touch the ball once between them, but they will likely lay a hit that will win one of their teams the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Gronk wont be playing in the Super Bowl regardless if the Pats win on Sunday

Gronk wont be playing in the Super Bowl regardless if the Pats win on Sunday

Five Super Bowl performances in the last eleven seasons is pretty remarkable, all led by the same quarterback and head coach combination is mind-bending.

Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots franchise stand on the verge of a sixth Super Bowl berth in the last dozen seasons, which if they do succeed means they have represented their conference in 50% of Super Bowls since 2002.

They face a Baltimore Ravens team this weekend in  a rematch of last years AFC Championship, a game the Patriots triumphed 23-20.

The Ravens are now in their third conference championship in five years, hoping that it’s third time lucky.

There are many many storylines and matchups to look out for:

– Can Ray Lewis fire up his team enough or will his final NFL game be a heartbreaking defeat?

– Can the Patriots live without the man-beast Rob Gronkowski?

– Can the Ravens pull-off a third playoff win in a row against a fresher team who will have a huge home field advantage?

– Can the Patriots secondary live with the speed of Torrey Smith – will it be Aqib Talib marking Smith to leave Anquan Boldin to have a big game?

– Will there be a Ravens player do a ‘Lee Evans’ and drop a game winning touchdown?

I have to say I love the way the Pats have taken the two tight-end set into a different stratosphere, which is why it’s such a shame that Rob Gronkowski re-broke his arm last weekend and will next suit up in anger in about six-months. I do expect a big game from the ‘other’ tight-end Aaron Hernandez.

Regardless of Hernandez’s stat-line, or the lack of the Gronk, the Patriots are 60 minutes away from their eighth Super Bowl, and for me a seventh time watching those silver helmets take on an NFC opponent.

When you are a supporter of such a dominant team then you are hoping the Super Bowl performances are never-ending, but when you are a fan of one of the other 31 NFL teams you just hope that there are some new teams losing their Super Bowl virginity.

As a neutral it has been a lot of fun seeing the likes of the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals reach (and in the first two cases win) a Super Bowl.

It’s not so much fun watching the same teams keep going back. The irony is not lost that we have the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Championship as I grew up watching Joe Montana and Steve Young win three Super Bowls over a seven year stretch.

I do have very clear memories of the Ravens winning their only previous Super Bowl appearance, and likewise the Falcons somewhat flat performance against the John Elway led Denver Broncos in 1999.

As long as the Patriots are held out of this Super Bowl I really don’t mind who wins out of the 49ers and the Falcons. You have to love the dynamism of Colin Kaepernick and then the emotional high that would be experienced if Tony Gonzales the future Hall of Fame tight-end would get if he could somehow play his last game in the Super Bowl.

Just don’t think I can stomach another two-weeks of hype led by Tom Brady’s face and the grey face of Bill ‘the Emperor’ Belichick.

Come on Ray & Ray you wouldn’t want to let down your international admirers would you?

 

Alex Smith now has a big offseason advantage

 

I have heard of some NFL teams buying themselves success, I should know all about it as a lifelong Redskins fan.

Spending ridiculous amounts on veterans who are past their prime used to be the way owners would try to move from 2-14 to 14-2 in a year.

It seems though that things have drastically changed, and one NFL team has decided that they would acquire some help from above.

The San Francisco 49ers, fresh from removing former Super Bowl winning linebacker turned coach, Mike Singletary, have hired none other than Chryst the Lord.

Yes the five times world champions have gone and scooped the signature of Geep Chryst, as their new quarterbacks coach.

According to the 49ers news release Chryst enters is 19th season in the NFL, having recently served as the tight ends/offensive quality control coach with the Carolina Panthers. That’s the 2-14 Panthers, the only team in the NFL to finish the 2010 regular season having scored UNDER 200 points in 16 games (196).

It doesn’t end there.

I couldn’t make the next fact about Chryst up if I drunk a gallon of Vodka and Red Bull and was asked to write something truly bizarre.  In 1992 Chryst, a former Princetown linebacker,  who hadn’t played a down of football for eight years, made one of the bizarrest cameos in sports history, serving as the long snapper for the former World League of American Football’s Orlando Thunder franchise.

Through Chryst’s  divine intervention (lasting a full 15 days) in 1992 the Thunder reached World Bowl (World Bowl II) that season, losing out to the Sacramento Surge 21-17.

Chryst then retired and was reborn as a coach, and seven years later (in 1999) he was working for the San Diego Chargers, coaching a quarterback by the name of Jim Harbaugh.

Yes that’s the SAME Jim Harbaugh that is now the head coach of the 49ers.

Man it’s a small world – and now Chryst is here to teach QB Alex Smith to walk on water. Let’s hope he does a better job than he did in Carolina, or the fans will dead unhappy and be very cross.

 

The fashion police finally granted Mike Singletary (bottom right) day release to come back to England

 

The last time San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary was at Wembley Stadium was back in the 80s, as Da Bearz faced the the Dallas Cowboys in the American Bowl ’86.

Back then it was cool to rap in full uniform (minus pads and helmets) whilst simultaneously trying to pull off an impression of News at Ten legend Trevor McDonald.

Speaking today after touching down in London, the former middle linebacker and now head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Mike Singletary said all the right things.

Asked about why he jetted the team to England one day after a tough loss to the Carolina Panthers, Coach Singletary said: ““I always believe that we want to give the guys a chance to get acclimated. If you’re going to come for just a couple of days – we know it’s a business trip and we know that we’re coming here to win a football game, but at the same time, we have a younger football team. I wanted our guys to be able to come and get a taste of the culture, and at the same time, get a feel for the environment. The weather and the whole nine yards, and just be settled by the time the game starts. I think it was a great decision.”

Asked about what this means to the Bears bank balance the steely eyed coach said: “I’m not sure, in terms of the financial gain one way or the other. I think more than anything, it’s the exposure. I think the NFL is a tremendous game. I think having a game here really gives the NFL a lot of exposure. I think it gives the people here – it’s a two-way street, the fans here have a chance to see the game. In what you call ‘futbol,’ I think there are some similarities. The fans could get very excited about it and want more of it. We’re hoping that is the case.”

Asked the inevitable question about the possibility of an NFL franchise permanently moving to London, England, the Super Bowl XX winner said: “It would depend on the team. That would be really interesting. It could be a good thing. It could be dependent on if the team is young. It depends on if it’s a mature team, if it’s a young team. I think if you had a mature team here, it could possibly work, and work to their advantage. I’m not trying to sell you on it, but I do believe it would have to be a veteran team, it couldn’t be a young team.”

So has Coach Mike been told something that everyone else is thinking? Moving an existing franchise from North America to Europe. I find it very interesting Coach Mike talks about a ‘mature team’ moving would be the only way it could work. That kind of says no to the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars doing a Midnight Mayflower.

As my mind goes in all different directions I just want to say to all the San Francisco 49ers players, coaches and support staff – WELCOME TO ENGLAND. Few tips – stay away from the drink we call bitter, Jellied eels are NOT the English version of gummy bears and make sure if you do have some Fish and Chips you make sure you get cod and not that rubbish pollack.

 

 

Because you're 'Gore'geous - the tickets arrived today !

Phew! They have arrived in our house, two pieces of thin card that bring a huge smile to my chubby face.

Yes my two tickets for the San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos are here and on my coffee table.

Despite both teams travelling to a different continent to play their week 8 game, it is billed as a 49ers home game.

With that in mind I was delighted to see 49ers workhorse running-back Frank Gore as the ticket star.

I had a bad feeling that 49ers quarterback, and the man that will cost Mike Singletary his job, Alex Smith would be on the tickets.

Gore is one of the hardest working running backs in the NFL, a player who plays with passion, guts and a nose for the endzone.

The former Miami Hurricane has only managed one season without injury since he was drafted in 2005, but despite that he has amassed 6,032 rushing yards (at an impressive 4.7 yards per run) and 2,115 receiving yards, resulting in 42 touchdowns.

In six games so far this season Gore has only managed three total touchdowns. This is not Frank’s fault, it is Alex ‘millstone’ Smith who has crippled the 49ers offensive production.

With under two weeks until I get to see Gore in the flesh, I only hope the man handing him the ball is not a former #1 pick in the NFL draft (and yes that includes you David Carr!).

 

Its the 49ers v Broncos at Wembley in 2010 - Not exactly my dream matchup

In 2007 we had the New York Giants team that went on to lift the Superbowl, In 2008 we had offensive fireworks as the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints trading touchdowns like they were right hooks in a ring, and in 2009 we were treated to future Hall of Fame bust owners Tom Brady, Randy Moss and coach Bill Belichick.

In 2010 we have Kyle Orton and Alex Smith and two teams that have combined for JUST 2 playoff wins combined in the last 10 full NFL seasons (a 49ers Wild Card win in 2002 and a Broncos Divisional round win in 2005).

Yes the 49ers have a stud running back in Frank Gore, and a WR with big ‘potential’ in the shape of 2009 1st round draft pick WR Michael Crabtree, but their defense is pretty grotty aside from Patrick Willis.

As for the Broncos they have a Bears reject at quarterback, a Pro Bowl WR who seems to be a petulant liability (Brandon Marshall), a defense that ranked 26th in the league in rush defense.

Bottom line this is my least favourite matchup of teams that will make the pilgrimage to London, England.

When I say least favourite I mean in a 2010 exciting and meaningful game context.

I do appreciate the history of both teams, having grown up watching Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Tom Rathman, Roger Craig, John Elway, Steve Atwater, et al.

I just have to say I am not exactly blown away by a Kyle Orton short passing game versus a similar activity delivered on the sacred Wembley turf.

I have to admit I will pay extra attention to the free agency moves of the Mile High crew and the Goldrush fanatics, and their subsequent draft picks.

I just have a feeling that unless both teams do some significant off-season roster pimping then we could be in for a rather dull 16-10 sort of game where it becomes a festival of field goals.

Using an analogy from the wrong sport I do wonder if the NFL has scored an own goal with these two definitions of mediocrity.

I wonder if you think like me and would have rather seen someone like the Indianapolis Colts up against the Green Bay Packers? This from a Redskins fan!

The NFL Tailgate party at Wembley yesterday included some incredible prize draws to win a plethora of 2009 NFL gear, from signed shirts and signed helmets to signed balls.

Here is a selection of some of the signed helmets that you could have won. You just wrote your name, email address and phone number on a scrap of paper and put it in a post box below each piece of merchandise. Most NFL teams donated a signed object, and I have to admit I did enter about 10 different draws. Fingers crossed I get one of these…

Former #1 overall pick Carson Palmer the Bengals QB signed this helmet

Former #1 overall pick Carson Palmer the Bengals QB signed this helmet

 

The entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers team signed this helmet

The entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers team signed this helmet

 

5,000 yard passer Drew Brees from the New Orleans Saints signed this one

5,000 yard passer Drew Brees from the New Orleans Saints signed this one

 

This signed Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers helmet looked particularly impressive

This signed Frank Gore San Francisco 49ers helmet looked particularly impressive

 

Not sure who signed this Carolina Panthers helmet

Not sure who signed this Carolina Panthers helmet

 

The lone bright spot on the St Louis Rams roster RB Steven Jackson signed this mini-helmet

The lone bright spot on the St Louis Rams roster RB Steven Jackson signed this mini-helmet