Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why The San Francisco 49ers Won't Win The Super Bowl

The San Francisco 49ers have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.  They sit atop their division by 3 games and have the 2nd best record in the NFC.  In two seasons coach Jim Harbaugh has completely changed the culture of the organization with his winning attitude and his competitive spirit.

The 49ers have a dominant running game, a stingy defense, and a pro bowl kicker to bail them out when their offense sputters.  On paper this seems like the perfect blueprint for success, but there is a fatal flaw that will ultimately lead to the team's demise.  They have a full blown QB controversy that won't go away.

A few weeks ago Alex Smith was nearly perfect against the Arizona Cardinals completing 18 out of 19 passes for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns.  His starting job was not in jeopardy and the team looked impressive.  A few weeks later Smith suffered a concussion and was forced to miss a game vs. Chicago.

Back up Colin Kaepernick got the nod and made the most of his opportunity going 16 for 22 with 3 touchdowns as the Niners cruised to victory.  When Alex Smith was finally cleared to play coach Harbaugh decided to stay with the "hot hand" and Kaepernick remained the starter.

It's never a good idea to play musical chairs with your starting quarterback.  It divides the locker room and manipulates the emotions of the players in question.  Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick will stop trusting their teammates, the coaching staff, and each other the longer this controversy persists.  in addition, it's hard for the team to find a rhythm.  As soon as they get used to one style of play calling and formations the offense changes to accommodate a different quarterback.  Getting reps with the 1st team is an essential part of preparation during the week.

If this was September the benching of Alex Smith wouldn't be as significant, but in late November it's a distraction that undermines the team's ultimate goal.  At this time of the year a team needs a definitive answer at the most important position on the field.  If there is uncertainty or doubt the players won't know who to follow.  By sticking with the "hot hand" coach Harbaugh has opened up a can of worms that he can't close and the 49ers will pay the price by missing the Super Bowl.

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