CBS 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “GameDay” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX CBS 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — They said the 49ers weren’t a good come-from-behind team. They said the 49ers couldn’t win three in a row. What are they saying now?
San Francisco set an NFC Championship record with a 17-point comeback win by shutting out a Falcons team that put up 24 first half points. What it tells me is that this 49er team can win even when it’s not playing its best football. It can win when the defense looks completely overmatched. It can win despite giving up 400 yards of offense. It can win when Colin Kaepernick is held to one yard of passing in the first quarter.
Folks, this isn’t the best 49er team going to a Super Bowl. But its going and that should be enough for a franchise that hit rock bottom before Jim Harbaugh ripped the R.I.P. inscription off it’s gravestone. And how fitting was it for Eddie DeBartolo to accept the NFC Championship trophy with nephew Jed and brother-in-law Dr. John York in the background? Classy move by the youngster who’s time will come to hoist his Lombardi trophy, perhaps as soon as two weeks.
I thought of Alex Smith, whose roller coaster career now finds him holding a clipboard. But at least it’s a Super Bowl clipboard. I thought of Vernon Davis who’s career was nearly derailed by a selfish, “Just give me the damn ball” attitude before Mike Singletary set him straight. And how about Singletary? Or Mike Nolan, whose Atlanta defense was shot down by the six-shooter pistol offense? Surely these two men deserve credit for what the 49ers have become.
Of course, it’s Jim Harbaugh who has earned the lion’s share of the credit. He’ll never accept it, I know. Heck, he wouldn’t even do a post-game interview with FOX. And while he inherited great talent, he instilled a refuse-to-lose attitude by making his team truly believe that nobody has it better than them. I’ve seen him foam at the mouth. I saw him endure a complete meltdown following a failed challenge in Sunday’s game. He switched quarterbacks in mid-season and ridiculed his critics. One player told me that, initially, there were two camps in the locker room: Alex’s and Colin’s. But he added that time and victories have made believers out of everyone.
Isn’t that true with the rest of the country too?
I’ll see you on TV.
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