49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

February 4, 2008
Super Tuesday look at Super Sunday

Four quick pointers for the next two guys who coach in the Super Bowl:

* Stick around for the end of the game.
* Remember to enunciate during your post-game interview.
* Fourth and 13 is a low-percentage play.
* Stick with a muted color, such as gray or navy.

Ah, but if Bill Belichick aptly demostrated what to avoid on Super Sunday, the Giants provided a nice lesson on what it takes to reach – and win – the big game. Attention, 49ers:

1. Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. When former Texans GM Charley Casserly chose Mario Williams over Reggie Bush in 2006, everyone thought he was nuts. Casserly’s reasoning at the time was that this has become such a pass-happy league that his team needed a formidable pass rush to be competitive. Sunday’s game proved that theory. Even the greatest quarterbacks look pedestrian when they’re on their backs a dozen times a game. The Giants had three great pass rushers Sunday: Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck. The 49ers have zero.

2. From hot seat to catbird's seat. Following the 2006 season, the Giants’ Tom Coughlin had to present a case for why he should return. Sound familiar? No, I’m not saying Mike Nolan will be accepting a phone call from President O next February, but there is something to be said for patience.

3. Give the kid some time. Speaking of patience, it wasn’t too long ago that Giants fans were ready to cut Eli Manning like a nice gabagool. Now they’re redecorating their apartments with his Fat Heads. Will Alex Smith be next year’s Super Bowl MVP? Not likely, but Manning’s metamorphosis earns guys like Smith more time.

4. Every team needs a No. 1. Was it any coincidence that the last two touchdowns of the game were scored by Randy Moss and Plaxico Burress? As soon as their respective quarterbacks saw their top targets in single coverage, there was no doubt where they were going with the ball. The result: two easy touchdowns. The 49ers have no one who even comes close.

5. Second chances sometimes pay off. Moss and Burress both came to their current teams with bad reputations. They were childish, me-first players whose talents had been overshadowed by tantrums. Burress played hurt all season while Moss was a model citizen in New England. It’s something the 49ers should consider if they were, oh, I don’t know, contemplating giving someone like Antonio Bryant another chance.

6. Look to the rookie. What do Aaron Ross, Steve Smith, Kevin Boss and Ahmad Bradshaw have in common aside from standing out in the Super Bowl? They were all part of the Giants’ 2007 rookie class. The 49ers should take note.

7. The meek shall inherit the turf. Moss and Burress came down with the two big touchdowns, but the little receivers stole the show. New England’s Wes Welker – all 5-9, 185 pounds of him – set a Super Bowl record with 11 catches while New York’s 6-foot David Tyree had a TD catch to go along with one of the greatest snags in Super Bowl history. This year’s draft class is teeming with mighty mites, a class of receiver the 49ers have avoided in the past.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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