After a well-played first half of the regular season (6-2 record), Alex Smith sat down with 49erswebzone for a rare and exclusive interview. The interview was coordinated by Visa as a part of the "Make it Epic" campaign used to promote more ways to bring the NFL closer to the fans. I took this opportunity to get the 49er QB's opinion on several issues regarding the progression of the 49ers and the NFL.
As many articles have already reported, Alex Smith was present at the SF Giants World Series parade, where he drove Pitcher Matt Cain through the streets of San Francisco. When asked about the experience, Alex gladly commented, "It was a great experience, I'm so glad that the SF Giant's organization invited me to do this…our two ball clubs have a lot of mutual respect for each other. Earlier in the year, when I was fined for wearing a SF Giants cap, Bruce Bochy sported a 49ers cap in a media conference to show his support."
With limited time, I congratulated Alex on a well-played 1st half of the season and asked him in which game he felt the 49ers played its most complete football game. Alex responded, "The Bills game stands out, beating Green Bay in Lambeau was big, and the Monday night game against Arizona was important." When asked about the league moving to a schedule where division games are back-loaded, Alex keyed in on the importance of playing consistent football throughout the season, but really getting hot near the end, "Division games are so important. When you win a division game, not only do you accumulate a win, but your opponent accrues a loss. You are now also a game ahead in a head-to-head tie-breaker so it's important to win those games and obviously we still have four more divisional games to play so we need to be at our best."
Another way the National Football League has continued to grow is to expand its presence internationally. Similar to the New England Patriots and St.Louis Rams who played in front of football fans in London, the 49ers are scheduled to play the Jacksonville Jaguars across the pond in 2013 (the 49ers' second time in four years). Though we both agree that the growth of the NFL is exciting, we also agree that playing an international game has its disadvantages, "We're there for a whole week and there can be a lot of distractions so you have to remain focus. It rains a lot and depending on the schedule of events that take place in Wembley stadium, the turf can be in poor condition…Home games are so important and two years ago, we had to give up a home game when we played in London. Fortunately, because of that, next year the London game will be an away game for us."
When asked about Visa's Make it Epic campaign, Alex explained that when you sign up you'll get an opportunity to win an interview with Ray Lewis, or be present in the 49ers locker room on game day, as well as see how the Madden game gets made, among other discounts. To learn more about this opportunity you can click on the link www.visa.com/MakeItEpic. When asked if the winner will be allowed by Jim Harbaugh to rally the troops, Alex laughed and responded, "You're going to have to ask coach about that one."