The first two seasons I watched the 49ers they went 2-14. BOTH SEASONS. I would cheer for first downs because they were so rare. I liked Alex Smith from the beginning because he was drafted just before I started following the team and I always wanted him to succeed and believed he could, but it was looking pretty bleak the past few years and I was pretty sure he was gone.
I watched the team draft Vernon Davis and saw him cry because it meant he could support all of his brothers and sisters. And Patrick Willis who became the best player on the team and is so humble and soft-spoken in interviews but so intense and fiery and determined in the pregame huddle.
To see the team have this much success this season is surreal. Now it's not like they just steamrolled everyone, in fact most of their wins have been pretty close, especially the 4th quarter come-from-behind wins but these were the games in the past where the 49ers would make that push and then fall short. Or they'd have the lead only to lose it at the end. I'm more impressed with them maintaining leads than coming from behind because that's the kind of thing winning teams need to do. The red zone defense is so good it makes me want to cry.
But most of all, I"m happy for Alex. That he's a leader now. That he doesn't care about all the criticism and what the media thinks of him. That he's stopped trying to please everyone. That he has a coach who believes in him and supports him. That he's making sound decisions, not panicking, and has been great with ball security. He isn't Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees but I don't care.
They will probably end up playing the Saints in the uhh... divisional round? Whatever it's called. And they probably won't win. :P But even if they don't, this has been an amazing team and season and unbelievably rewarding and I've enjoyed it the whole way. :D
(Obviously I would like them to pull a 2010 SF Giants and go on to win the Superbowl. Hey, it's possible at least. This is the first time I've been able to say that since I started watching football.)