I remember back during the 1994 season when in Week 2 of the season, my beloved San Francisco 49ers traveled to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. What made this game so intriguing and exciting was the man playing quarterback for the Chiefs as Joe Montana was the man under center for the Chiefs while Steve Young had not yet cast aside the shadow of ‘Joe Cool’ at the time of the game.
The game would end with Joe Montana leading the Chiefs to a 24-17 win over the Steve Young led 49ers team that would go on to win the fifth Super Bowl in franchise history. Fast forward things to now and the 2013 49ers travel to Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs in Week 2 of their preseason schedule where once again they will take on a former 49ers quarterback, this time in the form of Alex Smith. While some may make quite a bit of this game in terms of creating some storyline, for me, the game means nothing more than just it being another preseason game.
Frankly, the fact the 49ers happen to be playing a Chiefs team that is not quarterbacked by Alex Smith means nothing to me since Alex Smith is no longer a 49ers starting quarterback and therefore, how well he does and how he looks means nothing to me given that it’s preseason. Now that doesn’t mean I am not appreciative of the efforts and professionalism showed by Smith during his time as a 49ers player and last season when he was beaten out by Colin Kaepernick for the starting quarterback position.
When Joe Montana faced off against the 49ers as the Chiefs starting quarterback, I remember the emotions I had before, during, and after that game. I remember being saddened by the fact that the greatest quarterback I have ever seen in my lifetime was playing for a team not named the San Francisco 49ers. I remember being sad that Steve Young, the guy who succeeded Montana as starter, was not going to win and as a result be unfairly criticized and burdened because he had not reached half of Joe Montana’s career feats.
But with Alex Smith, it’s safe to say that I have nowhere near any emotions in seeing him quarterback the Chiefs as I did with Montana. Actually, I just shrug my shoulders while wishing him well in his newest adventures. The fact of the matter is, I am glad that Jim Harbaugh was bold enough and did not subscribe to this you don’t lose your job to injury talk when he opted to ride with Kaepernick as they made it to the Super Bowl. While there was still some thought in my mind and many other 49ers fans’ minds that Montana could still lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl, no such thoughts exist with Alex Smith.
With Alex Smith, the 49ers had reached its limit with a quarterback who had reached his ceiling as a player and as a result, was not a game changer. Anyone who thinks still that the 49ers could have made the Super Bowl, much less win it, or would have come close to completing the comeback after a forgettable first half and start to a second half is delusional. All you need to do is look at the Week 6 home loss to the New York Giants to know the run to the Super Bowl would never have happened with a limited Alex Smith at the helm.
All preseason games for me serve to give your starters some game time action, give those fighting for a roster spot and backup roles a chance to earn their spots and roles, and hope no one of importance gets seriously hurt for the team I root for. With that in mind, facing a team quarterbacked by Alex Smith means nothing to me as a 49ers fan in Week 2 of the preseason.