Giants 20 49ers 17 (OT) | NFC Championship
In the modern game of football, you can still make a good living with a suffocating defense. But there has to be a semblance of an offense when it is needed. Such as on third downs to keep drives alive. The New York Giants were 7-for-21 in third-down situations. The San Francisco 49ers were 1-for-13, allowing the Giants to have more of their share of possession.
And when you can’t make first downs, these things tend to happen:
In 1998, first round draft pick Peyton Manning became the new quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Team owner Jim Irsay opened that door for the former Vol great by first firing the general manager Bill Tobin, then coach Lindy Infante, and finally quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Fastforward to the present, 14 years later.
This month, Irsay started the deja vu train by firing vice-chairman Bill Polian and his son, Chris Polian, the general manager. Yesterday, head coach Jim Caldwell was fired. Big questions are obvious. Will Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck be the first pick in the NFL draft, currently held (unless part of a trade) by Indianapolis? And what of Peyton Manning, 36 years old, having recently had his third neck surgery since March 2010?
San Francisco 36 New Orleans 32
Alex Smith flourished in Urban Meyer’s up-tempo spread offense at Utah. In 2004, Smith was a finalist for the Heisman. It all went downhill from there. Until 2011 and new coach Jim Harbaugh.
The San Francisco 49ers, with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft chose Smith. The once-proud organization had been in free-fall. Things had been unravelling since owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. pled guilty to a felony charge. Control was given to DeBartolo’s sister and her husband. The degradation of the front office filtered down to the field. Losing 11 of the last 12 games in 1999 was the ultimate implosion. They made a brief playoff appearance in 2002 (which included a comeback from a 24-point deficit to defeat the Giants by a point), but had to wait 10 more years to make it back to NFL relevance.
Mortimer called Teddy last night. Mort was still on cloud nine after his Cardinal put a massive whuppin’ on Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. “In 2006, Stanford wallowed in the bottom with a 1-11 record. Then we hired Jim Harbaugh. 4-8, 5-7, 8-5, 12-1. Those are the Stanford season W-L records for the last four years. Quite a progression of improvement, don’t you think?”
After this season’s 31-7 pounding at the hands of in-state wretch Florida State, Florida head coach Urban Meyer had this to say:
“I can assure you we are going to rebuild this thing and build it up the right way and do it right. Obviously we are down a little bit. I didn’t believe we’d be that far down, but we are. How do you build a program up? You build it up with tough players, tough coaches and you have got to play better.”
And, apparently, you build it up with a new head coach.