To get back to the Super Bowl and win it this time, here are some points for the 49ers to consider:
- Coach Jim Harbaugh needs to stop transferring his uptight attitude to his players in big games.
The 49ers know from their own history that the team with the uptight coach is at a distinct disadvantage in the Super Bowl. Bill Walsh, in Detroit early in January 1982, because he’d been in the east to get a coaching award, dressed up as a bellman to take the players’ bags as they got off the bus, setting the tone for a relatively relaxed week for the 49ers. Meanwhile, Cincinnati coach Forrest Gregg, burdened with an unreasonable owner, Paul Brown, was tight as a drum. The 49ers brought their A game, ignored distractions like a bus delay in traffic going to the game and controlled the tempo in their first Super Bowl win.
By contrast, in the most recent Super Bowl, it was the 49ers’ coach who was uptight. The older Harbaugh was much more relaxed. As a result, the Ravens came out on an emotional high, while the 49ers were tight and unfocused for the first half, just as they had been for the NFC Championship Game. I understand that Jim Harbaugh is ubercompetitive, but no more so than his brother — or Walsh in the ’80s. He’s never going to win the biggest game if he keeps transmitting his uptight personality to his team.
- Make the best possible trade for Alex Smith. The hottest Internet rumor in the last week had the New York Jets trading cornerback Darrelle Revis to the 49ers for Smith. That’s not going to happen. The Jets certainly need a good quarterback, but they have serious salary cap issues. It’s more reasonable that they’ll try to clear the dead wood off their roster, including Tim Tebow, so they can rebuild.
There are two more likely teams: The Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. The Chiefs have the very first pick in the draft, which they won’t give up, but their second-round pick would be virtually a first rounder. The Browns have hired Norv Turner as their offensive coordinator and Turner is a big admirer of Smith’s, after having been the Niners’ offensive coordinator in Alex’s third season. They need a quarterback desperately and might be willing to give up their first-round pick because this draft has no sure-thing QBs.
- Get rid of Randy Moss. This decision has probably already been made, after Moss’ me-first attitude surfaced again during the week before the game. They may allow him to make an announcement that he’s either retiring or moving on, but he’s worn out his welcome.
- Look for a cornerback with size as well as speed in the draft. This may be asking too much because that’s the goal of every team now, but it’s the one thing the defense has lacked.
These points have been listed in order of importance. The 49ers are built for success, but they won’t reach the ultimate goal until their coach checks his attitude at the door.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.