What, you thought the Jock Blog would not live to see daylight in 2020?
You thought wrong, sports fans.
Like the 49ers, the 2020s may very well be the Jock Blog’s finest years.
That’s what we’re here to discuss in the year’s opening JB: the 49ers, and what very well may be the dawning of a new era of glory, wins and Januaries.
That’s right. Let’s look at this year’s 13-win burst of glory as more than a one-year thing. Between the first-class play calling of Kyle (Flat Brim) Shanahan, the increasingly shrewd personnel moves of John (Let Me Suit Up Just Once, Kyle) Lynch and the arrival of Jimmy (Feels Great, Baby) Garoppolo as the franchise QB of the next several years, all the pieces are in place for the 49ers to be annual contenders.
I’m thinking along the lines of what we’ve seen from Drew Brees’ Saints, Aaron Rodgers’ Packers, Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers and, yes, Tom Brady’s Patriots.
Now, this is a dangerous game, predicting long-term NFL success. You may be calling the medics to come get me, accusing the Jock Blog of irrational New Year exuberance. The NFL landscape is littered with teams that make a run one year and get forgotten the next, as I was just saying to my good friends on Ron Rivera’s Panthers, Dan Quinn’s Falcons and Sean McVay’s Rams.
Heck, of the eight teams left in the playoffs, only one — Pat Mahomes’ Chiefs — is a repeat quarterfinalist from last year. Seven teams from last year’s divisional round — the Pats, Chargers, Colts, Saints, Rams, Eagles and Cowboys — did not even make it back this year.
Deep January runs on an annual basis are the province of one franchise and one franchise only in the last 20 years. Hint: The coach wears a hoodie.
So I’m not saying to book your Super Bowl plans for the next five consecutive years. That doesn’t happen, going to five straight finals of any kind. Unless you are run by Joe Lacob. And even at that, there is a price to pay from the sporting gods. If you don’t know what I mean, check the latest NBA standings.
(By the way, if you do want to book your Super Bowl plans for the next five years, start looking for hotels in Miami, Los Angeles, the greater Phoenix area and New Orleans. We’re looking so far ahead, the NFL hasn’t even selected its site after the 2024 season.)
What I am saying is, the 49ers are in a great place, notwithstanding what happens on Saturday against those dastardly invaders from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The common denominator of success for the great 49ers years was consistency at coach, front office and QB — even if it meant switching from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick midstream. The Shanahan-Lynch-Garoppolo trio appears to have signs of long-term stability.
In retrospect, the Harbaugh-Baalke-Kap trio had cracks all over it. Harbaugh was difficult. Baalke was a cipher. And Kap was about to piss off half the nation.
It pains the Faithful to admit it, but a 2010s Seattle Seahawk-like run would be a great model to aspire to in the coming years. Sure, we can point and laugh that the Seahawks “only” have one Super Bowl. But that’s “only” one more than the 49ers have won since the time AOL was a viable email option.
So enjoy the sights (red end zones with saloon font!) and the sounds (any George Kittle sound bite) of Saturday, and don’t stop there, kids. Think big. Think long term. Think that this 49ers team could be saying goodbye to the darkness, and hello to the Roaring ’20s.