With five Super Bowl wins, and some of the best players to ever play the game, the San Francisco 49ers have one of the richest histories in the NFL. But despite this past season’s loss in Super Bowl XLVII, the 49ers have shown the world they are a brute, nearly unstoppable force.
And if history repeats itself, a loss to the Baltimore Ravens only means a bright future for Super Bowls to come.
As a NY Giants fan, I am fully aware of the dangers of the 49ers. In the 80’s and 90’s, the 49ers were the Giants kryptonite. I will never forget the Giants loss in the 02-03 season, in which the 49ers beat us in overtime. That, along with the history of their victories over us, solidified my hatred of them.
But that hatred is also grounded in a bit of jealousy. The 49ers are the epitome of what a football team should be.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh is a hard-ass, old school coach in every way possible. Just one look and you instinctively know you don’t want to be on his bad side. It’s that attitude that makes the 49ers play the way the game is meant to be played.
Smash-mouth, hard-nose football. It was the way teams won before all these restrictions and fines for hard hits. It was the way the 49ers won their Super Bowls in the past. And it is the way they will continue to be one of the best teams.
Their offense, lead by QB Colin Kaepernick and HB Frank Gore, is a double-edged sword. Just as opposing teams learn to contain Gore (if they’re able to at all), Kaepernick as a strong, accurate arm that can hit receivers in perfect stride all over the field. And not only is his arm better than Alex Smith’s was, he can run as well as any other QB in the league. He had 264 yards averaging 10.6 a carry, and three touchdowns in the postseason alone.
Gore helped wear down opposing defenses, as well as give his team’s defense well rested. Between Gore and Kaepernick, the 49ers had the fourth highest rush percentages in the league.
Receivers Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis also helped keep this offense explosive. Along with the help of former Giants receiver Mario Manningham, and all-time great Randy Moss, Kaepernick had the tools to find the end zone in any stadium he played.
Their defense, lead by LB Patrick Willis, was an army more feared than Genghis Khan’s. With DE Aldon Smith manning the line and Willis not far behind, opposing QB’s had every right to be afraid. Smith was second in the league in sacks (19.5), one behind the league leader. And LB Navorro Bowman was second in the league with tackles.
Their defense had the reputation any team would love: being one of the most physical and brutal defenses in the league. With the help of a strong offense and special teams, the defense was given all the help they needed to be a bane in offenses all over.
To kill a snake, you must chop off its head. The 49ers team is a three-headed snake. The coaching staff, the offense and the defense. This monster appears to have no weakness, and will be one of the strongest teams for years to come.