Why has Jim Harbaugh been able to turn the 49ers around?
Part of it is lineage. Harbaugh’s father was a coach, and both Jim and his brother, John, are now successful NFL head coaches. The 49ers’ game in Baltimore with the Ravens, coached by John Harbaugh, should be a lulu, which is why the NFL has scheduled it for Thanksgiving Day.
But lineage alone is not enough. Mike Nolan is the son of Dick Nolan, a successful 49ers coach 40 years ago, and all he seems to have gotten from that is his father’s wardrobe.
Here are some reasons for Harbaugh’s success: Read More
After the Raiders were thrashed by Kansas City on Sunday, coach Hue Jackson started his postgame media session, as he always has after a loss, by saying, "This one is on me. The players didn’t lose this game. Coach Jackson did." Read More
In the wake of the death of Al Davis, I was asked by an interviewer why Oakland officials were so eager to persuade the Raiders to move back from Los Angeles. The answer was simple: The Raiders are the only major league franchise to start in Oakland. Read More
The 49ers keep creating milestones. First, it was coming off a 20-point deficit to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Then it was the 45-point slamming of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Candlestick. Finally, it was the 25-19 win over the previously undefeated Lions in Detroit on Sunday. Read More
One of the big changes for the Raiders with Al Davis gone: They can now pursue a shared-stadium option with the 49ers in Santa Clara. Read More
Do you believe in the 49ers now?
Last week, when I wrote that the comeback win over the Philadelphia Eagles was a turning point for the team, some readers chided me, pointing out that the collective record of the three teams the Niners had beaten was below .500.
But I try to look beyond the numbers for significant signs. Winning on the road, which the 49ers had done twice, is one. Coming back from nearly a three-touchdown deficit on the road, which the 49ers did against the Eagles, is even more significant. Read More
When I was picked to cover the Raiders for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1967, I thought I knew football, having watched games since childhood and even covering college football for one year for that paper. But the first time I sat down to talk with Al Davis in training camp, I realized I really knew very little. From that point, whenever Davis was willing to talk with me, I listened and learned. Read More
Andrew Luck has two challenges this year: To win the Heisman Trophy and to become the best Stanford quarterback ever. The second one is more difficult.
I’ve watched Stanford quarterbacks since John Brodie, who was undervalued during both his college and pro career because it wasn’t until the end of his 49ers career that he had both a good coach and a good surrounding cast. Nonetheless, though Brodie was very good, he wasn’t as athletic as Luck. Nobody ever would have thought of having Brodie trying to catch a pass downfield. Read More
It is impossible to overstate the importance of the 49ers’ comeback win in Philadelphia on Sunday. For the first time in years, the Niners beat a good team on the road and, most important, they finished the game when they had the lead.
They couldn’t do that against the Dallas Cowboys in the second game of the season. They had the Cowboys on the ropes with a 10-point lead and just 11 minutes left, but they let the Cowboys wriggle off the hook to tie the game and win in overtime. Read More
The first thing the Giants have to realize as they look forward to 2012 is that they can’t replicate 2010, when they got big contributions from aging veterans. They’re going to have to look more at — gasp — younger players.
One of them, Gary Brown, played at San Jose this last season and had a sensational year, hitting .336 with a .409 on-base percentage, stealing 53 bases and hitting for some power, too, with 34 doubles, 13 triples and 14 home runs, while playing a good defensive center field. Read More
The Tampa Bay Rays have exposed the A’s ownership team of Lew Wolff and John Fisher. So have the Giants.
The A’s official line is that they can’t compete because of a bad stadium which keeps them from attracting top free agents and low attendance which forces them to keep their payroll low. Read More
Firing Tom Cable and promoting Hue Jackson to head coach was the smartest move Al Davis has made since he hired Jon Gruden, and the Raiders are reaping the benefits now.
Cable was a buffoon. At postgame media sessions after losses, he was at a complete loss to explain why the Raiders were still making mistakes, especially with penalties. He’d make promises to change the pattern, but they were meaningless because he had no real plan. Read More
The fact that the Giants didn’t repeat as division winners, let alone as World Series champs, is less surprising than the fact they stayed in the race as long as they did.
They were bucking history in trying to repeat as world champions. In more than a century, only two National League teams have repeated: the Cincinnati Reds (1975-76) and the Chicago Cubs (1907-08). Read More
It’s good news that “Moneyball” is reminding people that the A’s were a record-setting playoff team before being bought by Lew Wolff and John Fisher. But the idea that Billy Beane was blazing a new trail that others have copied is nonsense.
Beane was simply trying to get the most bang for his buck, which is not exactly a new strategy, in baseball or business. But the interesting thing about the 2002 draft class, which was featured in Michael Lewis’ book, was that it was largely a failure. Read More
Jim Harbaugh’s media honeymoon is over. Alex Smith’s never started. But the real lesson from Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys is that this is the kind of game good teams win, and until the 49ers can win these games, they’re going nowhere. Read More