The San Francisco 49ers were just one play away from the Superbowl. While we can’t change what happened, we can only be left with what if? Forget about the big game, forget about the possible 6th ring, and forget about one of the greatest turn-arounds in league history. Look at how the NFC Championship will change this team moving forward.
The inept on the Wide receivers will cause change in personnel moving into next season. While we know both depth and talent is needed, it will be interesting to see who is actually staying that is on the current roster. I don’t think the Niners will resign WR Ted Ginn Jr. before free agency and will look for a talented deep threat that can impact a game. Josh Morgan I believe is in the same boat as Ginn, his contract is up and there doesn’t seem to be reason for the team to award a player that disappears at times. There are rumors that WR Michael Crabtree could be traded, but after those miserable playoff performances he has little value in the market. As for Kyle Williams, I think he stays on the team, and is given a chance to redeem himself. 49er fans need to forgive, but not forget what happened. This is a young kid that football is his whole life. It may have hurt you that the Niners lost, but how bad do you think it hurt him knowing he blew it.
Receivers are always tied to another position, the quarterback. If the 49ers had found a way to beat the Giants, there is no doubt QB Alex Smith is behind center next year. Yet there is a growing debate about if the 49ers are the front runners in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. I vote no, not because Peyton wasn’t great, but rather because I think he’s done. He’s 36 and coming off 3 neck surgeries in the last 2 years. The nerve in his neck still has yet to regenerate and the man didn’t take one snap this last year.
I would feel differently about Peyton if we had gone 8-8 or 9-7 with an early exit but with all other pieces in place. Quarterback wasn’t the reason we lost in the playoffs; 495 yards, 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a 101 QB rating. That is what Alex what able to do in 2 games. Peyton Manning in the playoffs isn’t the greatest. In fact the year he won his lone Superbowl, he played in 4 postseason games and had 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
If Peyton Manning plays in the 2012 season, it shouldn’t be for us. He will likely end up with a team in a weak division or on a team with a desperate coach that needs to win in order to keep his job. No new coach should take a chance on him, and he won’t go anywhere that can’t compete. This narrows the list to only a few teams. I see Arizona, Washington, Baltimore and the Jets as the likely candidates. Wouldn’t Rex Ryan and Peyton Manning be an interesting combination?
While the organization might take a glance at Manning, I think Coach Harbaugh wants desperately to resign Alex Smith. Alex Smith earned a contract extension this season. I wouldn’t go crazy, but a 3 year contract around 8-9 million a year would be acceptable.
While the Championship game outcome might shake-up personnel on the offensive side of the ball, I think it actually can keep this defense together. Had the Niners won and gone on to the Superbowl and found a way to upset the Patriots, guys like CB Carlos Rogers and FS Dashon Goldson might have considered taking more money to go somewhere else. These 2 will be hungry and Rogers has already stated he would consider taking a discount to stay a Niner. As for Aldon Smith, he is young and dumb, an arrest in Florida is a minor set-back so let’s hope he does all the right things this offseason and avoids any kind of suspension for next year.
While we won’t be seeing our favorite team taking the field on Sunday it should still be a great game. For the sake of Niner fans I really hope Brady and the Patriots take it and convincingly that way the “what if” factor can be taken out of the equation. I know we have a poll up on the site thanks to Eric Melendez asking what the fans want to see or if they even care. I personally would feel more pain if the Giants won. Knowing we were just a play away would hurt worse than losing to a team that got beat in the big game.
Either way here’s hoping to a great game, full of excitement, great plays, and most of all no what ifs.