Ok, maybe we read too much into Mike Nolan's comments yesterday when he was asked whether he still supported a permanent change to the classic unis the team wore when it won its first Super Bowl. Said Nolan rather archly, "We're in the process of looking at our uniform." And then he begged off the subject. "We haven't game-planned our comments yet," he said. Some of my suspicious colleagues and I interpereted his remarks to mean that there was something in the works vis a vis a uniform switcheroo.
After checking around, there is not. At least not yet, anyway. The team will definitely wear their throwbacks for the Arizona Cardinals game on Sept. 10, and they have yet to settle on a second date this year. But they will not wear them beyond those two dates in 2007, and officials at the league offices in New York said there has not been any formal request to return to the team's former duds. That process would take at least a year to be completed.
It's hard to tell how the fans split on this important issue, but I, for one, throw my support behind the old threads. It seems to me that uniforms these days have become too busy (see: Cal, Oregon, Arizona Cardinals) and that any change to the cleaner, simpler jerseys of yesterday would be for the better. I personally like the old fire-engine red more than the current shade and I don't care for the "shadowed" number either - it's sooo USFL. And, of course, the old uniforms hearken back to the team's glory days. They are classics, like the Bears' and Packers' duds, and a team that's been around as long as the 49ers should embrace and celebrate its history. It's a look that stands the test of time.
Will the 49ers improve this season? The oddsmakers seem to think so. According to Bodog.com, the odds of the 49ers winning ... the Super Bowl are 18/1, ... the NFC are 7/1 ... the NFC West are 9/5. Last year, those same odds were a wee bit greater - 150/1 to win the Super Bowl, 70/1 to win the conference and 15/1 to win the division.
Some over/unders that caught my eye:
Alex Smith TD passes - 19.
Frank Gore rushing yards - 1580.
Frank Gore lost fumbles - 3 1/2.
Darrell Jackson receiving yards - 975.
Vernon Davis receiving yards - 625. (Davis told me Tuesday that he was shooting for 1,000).
And now for a more wholesome storyline ... Smith, who is from San Diego, will have some special guests at tomorrow's game - the 10 former foster children his foundation is sending to San Diego State. As some of you may have read in The Bee, foster kids are left to fend for themselves after they turn 18. They get a $400 check (not a typo) from the state, a pat on the fanny and, well, that's about it. Good luck, kiddo ...
The Alex Smith Foundation is trying to change that, and one of the ways is by sending 10 students a year to college. The foundation covers everything - tuition, books, room and board, food, etc. The goal is to eventually sponsor 50 students at a time. Smith met eight of the 10 students at a kickoff dinner in June. He said this will be the first time he meets all 10.
The kickoff dinner two months ago also included a bowling outing. A film crew from the United Way arrived to shoot a commercial about Smith's foundation. As has been the case in recent years, the United Way ad will have a comedic bent - depicting Smith trying to get a strike by throwing a football the length of the bowling lane. Smith said they took several takes, but the best he could do with a pigskin was knock down nine pins. He's hoping that through the magic of television, all ten will fall down when the commercials begin airing.
To read the story about Smith and the guardian scholar program, go to:
-- Matt Barrows