I guess this is the sign of a team on the rise when I don’t have any huge breathless things to report about to what I though before the season started as a big intradivision game against AZ. As it is, this game is a warm-up for the bro against bro Thanksgiving football bonanza overkill deathmatch game. Does the NFL have to really try this hard to generate extra meaning for games?
Anyhow, I was just thinking what a crazy string of events came to pass to get us where we are right now. 8-1 and very near the pinnacle of football excellence. Yes, it’s only 9/16th of a complete season, but what a ride so far. Every once in a while, I give myself the heebie jeebies by wondering what if? What if Nate Clements holds on to the ball in Atl? Do the Niners win? If so, do they then reach the playoffs? The Niners were one game out, and had all the tiebreakers. If they had picked up a game somewhere, they would have made the playoffs. THEY would have gone to NO and been the NFC West representatives. Could they have somehow knocked off NO in the Wild Card round? If so, where would we be now?
With Aluminum Mike screaming at the walls, and otherwise blaming everything on everyone else, it’s hard to figure out how different the NFL landscape would be. Jim Harbaugh would have likely gone to Michigan rather than go to the front office nightmare that Miami is. I don’t think he was really interested in any other NFL job but this one. You’d have to think that Philly, Detroit, New York, and Cincinati at the least win their games against us. So, the Niners are 4-5? Seeing as we haven’t even played our division very much, the scary thing is, the Niners would still be in 1st place had Singletary stuck around. Granted it would only be a one game lead, but still and all, what a horrible thing to consider. Smith’s improvment would be still incremental rather than exponential. Gore would be injured (well, more injured). AF, Spikes and Clements would have been retained, to the overall declination of the defense. And the team would be once again struggling to find a real identity other than the 1970s offense they were running last year. They would likely drag themselves into the playoffs again instead of the huge improvement they’ve made.
All for one play.
Would Michigan be 10-0 and fighting for a national championship? Who’s to say not? They are 8-2 as it is, and how much could he have improved them?
Crazy . . .