Maybe it is the mid-season quarterback change that has fans all fired up over the Niners, but Colin Kaepernick has proven to be cool under pressure. He began his postseason career by bouncing back from an early pick six against the Green Bay Packers, and then followed it up by leading his team on a 28-7 run against the Atlanta Falcons, erasing a 17 point road deficit in the progress.
Maybe it is the dominant history the organization is remembered for that bugs people. They did win five Super Bowls during an era when they boasted two of the best quarterbacks of all time. It seemed hardly fair when Steve Young stepped into the shoes of a legend with such ease, showing the people they were in good hands despite the absence of Joe Montana.
People forget the 49ers fell into obscurity following Young’s retirement. They forget that the team went through 10 losing seasons, going from perennial Super Bowl team to running joke in just the blink of an eye. The team went through the growing pains that come with a rebuilding organization. They paid their dues.
Maybe it is the cocky attitude of the 49ers head coach that rubs people the wrong way. Jim Harbaugh comes off as full of himself and his ability, but given his track record, the guy has every right to be confident in himself and his team. This is just Harbaugh’s second year in the NFL, and he now has two NFC Championships on his resume, and will be coaching his team in the Super Bowl in two short weeks. Succeed like that at the highest level of the game, and you can be as cocky as you want.
Whatever the reason is for the Niners hate, the respect needs to be just as abundant. This team has turned itself around in just two seasons, and has been brave enough to make the tough adjustments necessary to become Super Bowl contenders. They have suffered heartbreaks, and have been thoroughly thumped, but they keep coming on. They don’t stop coming.
On Sunday, they found themselves down 17 points in front of an animated Atlanta crowd, but the 49ers did what they do best and just kept on coming. That type of determination deserves respect, and having the talent to match that ability makes them Super Bowl worthy.
Respect them or hate them, it doesn’t matter; the San Francisco 49ers deserve a chance to be called the best in the league.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.