This post was written by E. Wolf in response to the overflowing San Francisco 49ers bandwagon. He is not on board. Also, you may remember him from this glorious diatribe on the Seattle Seahags.
Every year the pundits and talking heads gravitate to one or two preseason favorites, confidently declaring one or sometimes two preseason darlings to be the prohibitive favorite, almost as if playing the games were really a mere formality. Outside of the Denver Broncos and perhaps the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers seem to be the trendy preseason favorite to win the Super Bowl this year, before week 1 is even underway.
However, at least one panel seems to favor the Green Bay Packers as the preseason favorite, above even the Broncos (which, given the usual ineptitude of such scribes may not be the best harbinger for our Packers).
Similarly, the Niners are ranked two and three in the CBS and ESPN power rankings, respectively. Sadly, Brian Billick — a bona fide expert who is actually insightful and interesting — ranks them at one.
Concerning this week’s season-opening showdown between that team and our Green Bay Packers, experts and fans alike are acting as if the matter is a foregone conclusion.
ALL of the so-called experts on ESPN are picking the Niners straight up. On cbssports.com, three out of seven human “experts” (eight altogether if you include the comically named “Prediction Machine”) pick the Packers to upset them, although most are picking the Pack against the spread. With exception of Dave Richards, the author is forced to wonder how any of these experts keep their job as the season progresses, with most historically hovering around .500 and some even having losing records, but I digress.
On the radio program “Homer and Thunder,” Steve “Homer” Treu has already declared the outcome of this game on Sunday, guaranteeing a Niners victory. Above and beyond that, he, too, has anointed the 49ers the Super Bowl champions of the 2013 season.
If one were to believe this punditry, as well as online chatter on this site and many others, one might be tempted to believe the Niners to be invincible. Resistance would seem to be futile. As the Great Sun Tzu wrote, all battles are decided before they are fought, so the Packers might as well forego the sweat, tears, anguish and possibly bloodshed and simply forfeit the game. For that matter, so should any team not named the Broncos or Seahawks who stand in the way of the Niners’ bid for a sixth Lombardi Trophy.
History teaches us, however, that usually the preseason darling does not, in fact, win the Super Bowl — which is why this author does not like to see the Packers favored by Sports Illustrated experts!
The last such darling to do so was probably our Packers in 2010, but the injuries, close losses against Washington and Miami, and the debacle in Detroit rendered them a dark-horse in the running, as all these pundits had by then written them off. After all, that valiant, triumphant March on Dallas was predicated on the first Detroit road win in forever (in overtime) and the second coming of the Miracle at Meadowlands, the combined results of which only then gave the Pack control over their own destiny. The Giants in 2007 and 2011 were not preseason favorites, nor were the Ravens the preseason favorite last year. Nor does the author recall the Saints being the favorites in 2008, either.
History also teaches a very obvious but seemingly completely overlooked rule that has stood true for 40 years (and counting). Super Bowl losers do not fare well the year after. Rather, losing the big game has marked the beginning of the end for aspiring would-be world champions for a very long time.
Many of these teams do not even make the playoffs the following year. Those that do usually have less successful seasons overall. For some teams, like the Bengals and Raiders, such a loss is tantamount to a catastrophe, leading to years — nay decades — of mediocrity.
Decline, AND FALL!
Most remarkably, no team — NO TEAM — has lost the Super Bowl and then won it the year after since Don Shula’s Dolphins perfect season in 1973, after losing the big game in 1972. Indeed, since then, only one team has been able to recover from a Super Bowl loss to come back and win it with the same coach and quarterback. That would be Tom Landry’s Cowboys in 1978, who lost it in 1976.
Both of these feats happened a long time ago, in a different era of football. Quite happily, even Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been unable to overcome this.
This trend, or rule, going on for 40 years now does not mean it is impossible to overcome, just as a baseball team known as the Boston Red Sox and believed to be suffering from a near century old curse was eventually able to do something no team had ever done before: lose three before winning four straight in a playoff series. After all, the Packers 20-year winning streak against the Niners (20 years when one factors out the Jerry Rice fumble game that ushered in instant review because of the bad no-call) did not insure the Packers would keep beating the Niners in perpetuity.
And yet 40-year trends — or rather axioms — are instructive; they do point to something. In this case, it means that it is statistically improbable the 49ers will win the Super Bowl on the basis of that Super Bowl loss last year alone.
As abstract as that is, it thus means — despite the insistence of pundits and fans alike — the Niners (read it aloud with me) ARE NOT INVINCIBLE.
There are other more concrete reasons suggesting the Niners are far more vulnerable than would seem to be the case at initial glance, both in terms of their Super Bowl aspirations and in this season-opening showdown against our Packers.
Colin Kaepernick — Again, if one believed some of the punditry one would think the Niners — and not the Packers — had the best quarterback in the League. He is not. In this conference alone, he has not yet proven equal to Rodgers, or for that matter Drew Brees or Matt Ryan. Even Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford could be regarded as better quarterbacks, or at least have the potential to be on any given Sunday.
This seldom uttered truth is exacerbated by the very real propensity for first-year quarterbacks to regress in their second year (and later). Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, Vince Young all come to mind. There are doubtless others.
The much-feared read option will be reduced to a gimmick and fad — Dom Capers and staff are reported to have spent a considerable portion of the offseason booking up on this offense. All the attention surrounding Robert Griffin III, along with last year’s painful season-ending playoff loss ensure defensive minds throughout the league will develop innovative ways to counter this novelty. Of course the nation — including, among others, Clay Matthews, as revealed in some of his recent commentary on the Mike and Mike show — saw how the Ravens addressed this. By hitting the quarterback every single time. Ironic is it not that ESPN and others foolishly anoint Robert Griffin (and by extension Colin Kaepernick) as the wave of the future when it is precisely this style of play that has compromised Griffin with significant injury? Silly rabbits.
Injuries to receiving corp (and others) — Michael Crabtree is out, as is Mario Manningham. As Monty pointed out recently, this second tier quarterback has a second-rate group of receivers. Despite assertions to the contrary, this is still a pass-dominated league. A second-rate receiving corp combined with a less-than-elite quarterback are a significant limitation that defies all the hype and pandemonium.
So what does it all mean? Aside from demonstrating that a lot of these experts and pundits might know far less than they would have us believe?
The 49ers will in all likelihood not win the Super Bowl. They will in all likelihood regress from last year.
More importantly for those of us who view the world through a decidedly green and gold tint — the Packers DO have a great shot of winning this Sunday, as well as prevailing against this team in any playoff rematch.
Aside from their vulnerabilities listed above, the Packers have the best quarterback in the league, a great, balanced corps of receivers, all of whom have explosive playmaking ability.
On defense, the Packers have a respectable young secondary that creates turnovers. As Clay Matthews leads the linebackers, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, as well as some of Ted Thompson’s other youngens on defense are at least showing some promise to rise to the challenge and play up to and above expectations, coached up like it is 2010 all over again. Most miraculously, the Packers starting tackle goes down, and somehow two young upstarts are showing, at least so far, that they can rise to the occasion.
Few teams can say this, but by good fortune the Packers can.
It must be stressed I am not saying our Packers will win this Sunday — just that they are more than capable of doing so precisely because the punditry lauding over the 49ers perceived invincibility is flawed, short-sighted, and shameless.
One last consideration — remember that 2010 game against the Patriots, in which so many thought Mike McCarthy and the Pack had no chance?
They almost won, with Matt Flynn. Of far greater importance, McCarthy was illuminated with rage and determination, bellowing in anger and defiance that “I don’t care what you think. We are nobody’s underdog.”
That passionate demonstration ignited something beautiful in our team, culminating in an ecstatic Super Bowl victory achieved entirely on the road, exacting some measure of revenge against the Eagles, Falcons, and most deliciously the Chicago Bears on Soldier Field.
So, even if our Packers do lose, it might just set off a chain reaction intensifying the will to win in this year’s quest for another Super Bowl Championship!
BELIEVE IN THE G! GO—PACK—GO!
DAMN STRAIGHT !!!!!!
“Every battle is won before it is fought.” -it’s a reference to planning. In this case, coaching, which I think we are out matched, unfortunately. Unless of course we were sandbagging by holding our entire #1 offense in the preseason. and they were secretly practicing their timing at midnight in the dark on Ashwaubenon’s High School field. That would be some Art of War shit right there.
Fuck yes. Headed to the game in head to toe green and gold tomorrow. My goal is to win the game and not get stabbed.
Mike: extra tickets? I could drive in from Sac over the new Bay Bridge!
Aristo> sorry, no go. I bought two nosebleed seats off of stubhub for $440 6 weeks ago. The wife gets the second ticket. Craigslist prices for this game were insanely priced.
Well written article, Wolf. I must say that I have spent the week trying to lower my overall expectations so that I don’t have the same suicide inducing reactions as the last time we played the Niners. Now you have raised them and for that I thank you. Or loathe you, but that will be determined Sunday.
Excellent article. All good points. I can’t stand all the idiots that jump on the 49ers bandwagon (everyone on ESPN) just because it looks like they ‘destroyed’ us last year.
People are forgetting that that last game was pretty close. If not for some costly mistakes on our part, we would have won. We would have won without even stopping the read-option. And now we know we can.
Let’s also not forget that the game was tied in the 3rd and we had plenty of opportunity to score in the 4th. If everyone did their part, including Rodgers, we could have still won despite Kaeperdick’s insane rushing numbers.
Last I checked the game is 60 minutes. What last year revealed is a SIMPLE FACT. They have better roster than we do. We have the better QB, no doubt. But they have the better roster.
We need to beat their roster with a total team effort next go round. Or simply fire Ted, hire me and win, win and win.
Uh, actually the niners have better lines than we do, and a better running game. In maybe every other area, we are equal to or superior to the Niners.
Colin out played Aaron last year though, when it counted. What did that say about our defense as a whole as well? Better roster or equal in certain areas? You must be smoking something. I would take their front 7 over ours any day of the week, or Seattle’s front 7 or….you get the idea.
Hope the PACK prove me wrong yesterday. It’s gonna be exciting!!!
Tomorrow, not yesterday….grr.
Agreed – I was just thinking the same thing. Their strengths are: OL, DL, ILBs, and Gore. Our strengths are QB (Kap isn’t bad, but he is NOT AR), WRs (vastly superior), secondary. I think that OLBs and TEs might be a push. As far as I am concerned, the “joker” in this equation is Lacy, and possibly our OL. If Lacy can get some yards for us on the ground, that will change the way that they have to play Defense, and it will really open up the passing game. Also, we are going to have to see whether or not our young Ts can give AR the time he needs to let the passing plays develop. A lot of weight here is on the shoulders of Bak & Bar! GO PACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Teddy is the MAN and this packers fan supports him 110%. !
Holy shit…….Since the link was posted, i started reading E Wolfs post about the Seahawks game last year, and Lance Easley. I made it half way through, until I couldn’t stomach Wolf’s incessant whining any longer…J C Batman….Get over it….As far this latest novel of his, i’ll see if I get bored enough to read it.
c’mon man. save the nastiness for the other teams trolls who try to invade our site. We’re all Packers fans, and that is the only thing we need to agree on.
I read a few lines…lol…Listen up Wolfie…..You can downgrade Kaepernick and the 49ers all you want, but the bottom line is, they didn’t just beat us, they beat us BAD…..So until we beat them, Why not just chill out, because your novel is going to look pretty stupid if they beat us again, don’t you think?….So the lesson is….Talk smack after we beat them, not before. That’s how Bear fans talk….All tough and loud, BEFORE they actually beat anyone. As a Packer fan, I’d love to see a win Sunday, but knowledgable fans know the odds are against us. It’s just 1 game, if the Packers fought them tooth and nail until the end, win or lose, i’d look at it like a win. In hindsight of last years embarrassment.
I never asked you–so kindly fuck off.
Good retort…Good luck passing your GED exams.
Drink my piss, PFAIL. I have at least demonstrated the ability to read and write at a college level, whereas you caterwaul, ironically in an attempt to insult me, because I wrote something of substance written at about a high school level.
Go back to reading to Reading Elmo says or perphaps Elmo’s Potty Time Play a Song Book. I suspect not all Sesame Street fare could be recommended for you. You are not good enough to read Oscar the Grouch, who I hold as a visionary and figurehead in his rigtheous contempt and disdain for humanity, doubtlessly because of people–NO MISTAKES–like you.
“Drink my piss”…..Yea, that’s college level…Keep up the good work.
Don’t be too tough on Wolfina – she got sand in her vagina a few weeks ago and every since, has been a real bitch.
Couldn’t finish,, waiting for the movie to come out.
We will see, I will believe it when I see it. Talk is cheap and lately our team has been doing a lot of talking…so again, we will see. This may be a passing league but making key physical plays in game situations is still what makes the difference as well as limiting mistakes. So, again…we will see. I’m thinking 49ers, Seahawks and Broncos are simply better than Green Bay from a roster perspective, but you never know. Any given Sunday, right?
Personally, I’d feel more comfortable if our QB had a top 5 defense with at least one ALL PRO at each level of the defense. That could happen if a certain someone on the D line steps up this year.
As I wrote, I am not saying definitively the Packers will win, (if P4F*AI*L actually bothered to read this, he’d know I am not trash talking in this, among many other things). I simply maintain that we have a far better chance than folks seem to acknowledge.
Here is another moment to consider–that game in Houston. The Texans were a prohibitive favorite, everyone was panicking (including yours truly to some extent). We kicked the shit out of them.
BTW Plato…Steve “The Homer” True…Is a lifelong Packer fan.
I went to buffalo wild wings last night in Downey, CA. There was a beastly looking fat bitch wearing # 7’s jersey, the game isn’t showing til Sunday and already bandwagons representing their gay area Nor Cal team. I find it very amusing that a super bowl loser’s jersey is the one selling the most, before the 2011 season you’d NEVER see any pussies wearing red jerseys at ANY sports bar and now all of a sudden they’re everywhere. I hope A-Rod has a game like Manning had against Baltimore, GO PACK GO!!!!!!!
Yep, turds all across LA with #7 hanging out at El Pollo Loco’s, planning super bowl parties.
The last time the Packers had a top 5 defense, they won a Super Bowl. if they had, lets say a top 12 defense in 2011, I think they might have won back to back.
When did this board become infested with arrogant fucking pricks?
Food for thought…If I was Harbaugh (Glad i’m not) Based on how much the Packers prepared for the read option, If I was him, i wouldn’t even use it. But he’s not as smart as I am :).
Check this out…………..NEW ORLEANS—In a stunning revelation, doctors announced at a press conference Thursday that mandatory Super Bowl blood testing proved that head coaches Jim and John Harbaugh do not share the same father. “The Paternity Index from our DNA profiling analysis shows conclusive evidence that Jack Harbaugh is John’s father, but Jim is in fact the product of a relationship between his mother and another man,” said Dr. Gabriel Hosea,
Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!!!
It seems like we all need one more painful reminder!
@ BZ in BA re his last post. The Wolfman approves.
The 49ers offense can be stopped. The Rams defense held them to 13 points. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t they have only 3 wins in their own division last year? That tells me with a bit more familiarity with them, the Packers won’t be embarrassed again.
The RAMS run a base 4-3….we do not. Teams that run a BASE 4-3 usually are focusing more on stopping or limiting the run. Which is why as we have changed to a more passing league, the change to the 3-4 BASES and more zone calls/play has become en vogue. Teams are playing less man coverages and instead opting to disguise both coverages and blitzes hoping to create turnovers and more opportunities for the offense.
I would feel better if we learned both BASE 43 and 34 alignments and we used them on a case by case or week to week basis depending on matchup. For the first two weeks, I’d prefer 43, especially since we do have talented corners to cover.
Your specious premise that 4-3 defenses are better at thwarting the Read-Option is predicated on unfounded, quasidelusional inferences, not fact.
What is fact is that the defenses that were successful vs. the Read-Option teams (49ers, Seahawks, Redskins) had highly-talented front 7s, regardless of weather they ran the 3-4 or the 4-3.
If you don’t or won’t believe that the Packers can win this Sunday (or any Sunday) then why are you even a fan? You have no control over the outcome of the game. Just enjoy it for what it is and be proud to be a fan of the greatest franchise in all of sports. That is something no one can take away from you.
Mr. Wolf, You say that “All” of the ESPN experts are picking the niners to win. Not true. Please read the following analysis written by ESPNs Vince Verhei
Week 1 Upset Watch
“The NFL remains a quarterback driven league, and the Packers probably have the best quarterback in the sport. Over the past three seasons, Aaron Rodgers has finished third, first, and fourth in QBR. He has averaged a league-best 8.4 yards per pass, nearly a half-yard better than anyone else. He has also thrown 112 touchdowns, better than anyone except Drew Brees, and Rodgers has been much better than Brees at protecting the football, throwing less than half as many interceptions as the Saints’ quarterback. With a healthy defense on one side of the ball and the NFL’s top passer on the other, the Packers have a great chance of winning on the road this weekend.”
I was only referring to the expert picks comparison chart. WHat you refer to is not part of that. …
umm, this is what you said…”ALL of the so-called experts on ESPN are picking the Niners straight up.”
You never said anything about the expert picks chart. Did you?
Well written article. Nuff said
Monty-thanks for the great article. Feeling a small degree of hope over the last few days!!!
well said wolfman – I expect a good game and agree, the pack has a legitimate shot.
Pete Prisco from CBS Sports says that “This will be close, but somehow Colin Kaepernick will find a way to pull it out in the end.”
Yes, Kaepernick is the one, the difference maker, to decide it all in a close one. Who the fuck is Aaron Rodgers?
Hail Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback legend! Nobody will EVER figure out how to stop him, especially now that he has a Hall of Fame receiving corps at his disposal.
In all seriousness, fuck the 49ers and their stupid Miami Dolphins loving quarterback. Go Pack!
Did your writing professors teach you to throw brevity out the window?