So the San Francisco 49ers are headed back to the Super Bowl!

Myself, I was really born an Oakland Raiders fan, but when the team abandoned the city of Oakland in the early 1980s, I switched allegiances for a while. It was a good time to be a 49er fan – the team had a promising new head coach, a hot young quarterback out of Notre Dame named Joe Montana, and a wide receiver named Jerry Rice who looked like he was really going to tear things up if he could just manage to hold on to the football.

The Niners’ dynasty was in its infancy. They would go on to dominate the NFC West division for the better part of a decade, and come away with five Super Bowl victories over the course of fourteen years.

Of course the team’s owners leveraged the future to pay for that dynasty, and the franchise eventually fell into complete disarray during the early part of the 21st century. Short on cash and low on talent, the team struggled mightily. But you know, a nice thing about the NFL is that they have a system that keeps teams competitive.

The worst finishing teams get the highest draft picks. They can use these draft picks to acquire fresh talent coming out of the college system, or they can trade the draft picks to get proven veteran players they need for key positions. Nearly a decade of miserable play has lead to the Niners being on top once again.

Predictions and Fantasies

Although the Ravens look tough and seem to be rolling, I’m excited. Here’s to hoping Baltimore’s strong safety, aka the human battering ram, Bernard Pollard, comes down with food poisoning the night before the game. My prediction: plagued Niner place kicker, David Akers, wins it as the remaining seconds tick off, then rides off into the sunset with his newly cast Super Bowl ring glistening. 31-28 Niners.

I am also one of those people who feel like maligned quarterback Alex Smith has gotten a bum rap in San Francisco.

I entertain a secret fantasy that second-year upstart Colin Kaepernick goes out early with a non-threatening injury, and Alex Smith comes in to save the day and bask in the glory.

Then, during the award presentation, Smith bashes second-year head coach Jim Harbaugh over the head with the famous Vince Lombardi trophy.

Only in my world…

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Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.