Monday, January 16, 2012

They’re back. No doubt about it.

I became a fan of the San Francisco 49ers before I committed my allegiance to any other team, college or pro. Family born and/or raised in the Bay area (South Bay, to be exact) might’ve fueled my passion from before adolescence – the Age of Montana didn’t hurt, either – but I’ve remained loyal through all the highs and lows, and will remain so for life.

The Niners earned a spot in their conference title game on Sunday for the first time in 14 years. One more win puts the Scarlet & Gold in Super Bowl XLVI for a chance to win the franchise's sixth championship. So today I commemorate their victory over the ’09 champs that applaud both their recent and impending triumph.

Indeed, the smart money says the 49ers will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on February 5. Don’t even doubt it.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
49ers quarterback Alex Smith celebrates after running for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of their NFC Divisional playoff game against New Orleans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The 49ers won in heart-stopping fashion, 36-32.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Devery Henderson of the New Orleans Saints congratulates Alex Smith after the game went final. It seems the oft-maligned former #1 overall draft pick has finally arrived.

c/o Associated Press
Defensive Tackle Justin Smith, a Godsend from Cincinnati three years ago, celebrates after sacking New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. His leadership on defense will be crucial if the 49ers hope to go all the way.

c/o Associated Press
Safety and special teams contributor Colin Jones celebrates after recovering a fumble by Saints running back Darren Sproles on a punt return as Roman Harper (#41) looks on dejectedly.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Frank Gore (#21), the 49ers second all-time leading rusher, carries the ball as teammate Bruce Miller defends. Gore, by the way, scored a 6 on the Wonderlic test prior to being drafted, which proves that you don’t have to be particularly smart to make a positive impact in the world.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
49er fans en force. They’ve waited a long time for this. Only a win over the dastardly Cowboys would have made it sweeter.

No comments: