Last year, I fell in love with football because of your passion to drive a near-dead team to the NFC Championship game. It was like you had found an antidote for a team of zombies, recharged their racing hearts and restored their pulses. You were sort of a hero in my book. My husband has wanted me to become a fan of the game for years and watching your revival of the 49ers sparked the football, die-hard junkie in me.
I didn’t know what I was missing, until I watched you coach your team to the NFC Championship game last year. You may not have earned Super Bowl rings, but I felt the team played their hearts out. I felt they did their best, which is what I consider a win. A loss after sheer perseverance, with integrity and humility, is better than any ego win, even if a few mistakes were made.
When they announced you to be Coach of the Year, I was on pins and needles. You deserved it and then some. When you played against your brother’s team, the Ravens, last year on Thanksgiving, I rooted even harder for your team, wondering if there may be any sibling rivalry and hoping you would get the bigger pat on the back from your dad.
You put your faith in Alex Smith and, although he often played it safe, he was a consistent and great quarterback. Then, he got hit. He got hit so hard that he got a concussion, but he still stayed in for another drive that ended in a touchdown. He looked disoriented and finally announced he needed to be checked out by the medical staff. That was the last we saw of him. He lost his job because he got a concussion even with a QB rating of 104.1.
But let’s forget about the ratings here. Isn’t a football team kind of like a family? I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t dump me, if I got sick, especially if I wasn’t filling up my daughter’s sippy cups with wine and verbally abusing him. I’m a pretty great mom and wife, just like Alex Smith is a great quarterback (who helped get you to the NFC Championship game last year). And, in my opinion, you don’t turn your back on your quarterback. You don’t turn your back on your family.
Colin Kaepernick is a fantastic quarterback. He also has a lot of strengths, but my beef isn’t with him. It’s with your choices. It’s with management’s choices. What message are you sending players in the NFL, if they get hurt? No matter how well you’re playing, there’s a chance you could lose your job? Don’t you want them to be motivated by you, not scared you’ll bench them for the year or pull the plug on their contracts if they get injured? Is there no concern that your players won’t give 110% for fear of injury and losing their job?
Fine, you made your decision to go for the franchise quarterback and show no loyalty to Smith (probably no turning back now, with fear that Smith may have lost his confidence), but at least put him in the game from time-to-time. At least request that the networks stop turning their cameras to him after Kaepernick fumbles or gets a touchdown. Don’t you give a damn about the guy at all? You were just bumping chests with him, trying to pump him up, a few weeks ago. Now, Kaepernick is your golden boy and Smith is yesterday’s news? I thought you had heart. In fact, I thought you were the pulse of that football team.
If not letting Alex Smith play is about a bonus and that decision comes from above, then fine. He’s done a great job for the team. At least give him the bonus and then help give him the option to be picked up by another team. Fight for it, if you have to. I thought you cared about your players. You said this about Alex Smith once, “It takes about two years in the system to be a real expert at it from the quarterback position, but he’s cut that in half.” (Inside Bay Area)
Maybe I’m the only one you’ve let down, but I’m a HUGE fan and doesn’t that count for something? Has being named Coach of the Year and building a winning team given you such a big ego that you’ve lost the ability to care about your team members? Convince me I’m wrong about your loss of integrity and at least throw Alex Smith a bone to show him your appreciation.
Revive my faith that you’re the next Bill Walsh or maybe even better. I know he’s your hero. Can you figure out a way to continue to be mine? I want my daughter to watch you coach a few years from now and see what I saw in you last year. A football hero.