San Francisco 49ers fans were dealt a devastating blow on Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers won their record sixth championship with their dramatic 27-23 defeat of the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. "First to six." Say it. It is no longer a term that represents hope for the future, but a term that mocks the current state of our beloved franchise. In four short seasons, the Steelers have not only caught up to the 49ers, but past them, forcing other teams to now play catch up. For 14 long years, the 49ers were the first to five. Now, that little fact means absolutely nothing. In a world where success is measured in championships, the Pittsburgh Steelers are now the new kings of the Super Bowl era with the 49ers and Cowboys playing second fiddle.

What is really tough to swallow is the fact that the San Francisco organization does not even appear to be near contention yet. While they finished the season strong, instead of going after someone with more experience at offensive coordinator and upgrading, the team replaced Mike Martz with a relative unknown in Jimmy Raye. The state of the team is enough to make some fans wish that the Yorks had sold the franchise years ago.

At least Jed York is a fresh face and his passion for winning appears to be greater than anything his parents, John and Denise, offered. Unlike his parents, who flee from the public spotlight, Jed has made every attempt to be the new face of the franchise. He has been very open to the media and fans, saying all the right things when asked.

However, the 27-year old 49ers front man has a lot to prove in the coming years. So far, his only accomplishment has been sitting on Jennifer Montana's lap during his first NFL game at the age of 3. York jokes, "I'm still searching for a better seat." Even the team's stadium deal, a project that Jed headed, is in limbo at this point. While the prospect of sharing a new stadium with the rival Oakland Raiders may leave a bad taste in the mouths of fans, it may be the only realistic alternative to ensure that such a project sees the light of day. The thought of the team leaving the Bay Area is not an appealing one. Doesn't one of the NFL's most storied franchises deserve an updated home of their own? Apparently not.

The 49ers were once the franchise that everyone envied. How many other franchises can say that they produced the three best players at three different positions (Montana, Rice, and Lott)? Now with each passing year, the team is falling further and further behind and the Steelers' win was just another harsh reminder of that. While there is a glimmer of hope, there are still a number of moves that leave fans scratching their heads. Does this team have a plan? Can they execute that plan? How long will it be until the fans see some results from this plan? The clock is ticking and teams like the Steelers are now looking at us in their rear view mirror.