I enjoy reading/listening to the talking heads but take only a couple seriously...and even then only at times. They generally are group thinkers reinforcing each other with a gem of their own thrown in from time to time.
Why they don't respect the niners (but are wrong):
1) Harbaugh--seen as a good short term motivator with a gimmicky offense (trick plays feed into this). This is nonsense as he is a consummate football thinker.
2) No offense--QB is a bust. Most talking heads are invested in this notion and can't change their minds without admitting they were wrong...how often does that happen? Very few pundits understand how clever JH was in fashioning the offense...not because the QB couldn't learn the playbook, but because no one could learn the new scheme in less than a training camp or two. The offense should be more prolific this year, but will still emphasize limiting mistakes.
3) D can't possibly be as good. Pundits are always wary of a one-year trend for a team. Pitt and Balt earned their reps over time. The niners return all their players and add Cox and Aldon gets more minutes. I see the D being better than last year, barring serious injuries.
4) ST can't possibly be as good. This is one of those areas where I think coaching is under-rated. Pundits seldom take this area seriously. Boy are they wrong!
5) Lack of respect for the 9ers assistant coaches, who are one of the best groups in the NFL. They all came back and will continue teaching fundamentals, while expanding on the fine points.
6) Schedule--this is a joke to me because folks were talking about how tough the schedule was before last year and then teams showed up to play. Some lost and went down in the ratings while some went up...the way it happens every year. One reason teams went down in the ratings is because they played the 9ers. Losing to the niners showed just how bad some teams were...according to some pundits.
7) Bias (east coast or ?) this is real and I believe it comes from pundits not seeing all the west coast games and the close proximity of teams in the east. You can drive from NY to Balt to Pitt to NE in an easy day.
8) Former coach bias--many pundits are former coaches and show bias toward old nemesis. My favorite former coach pundits are Mariucci and Parcells. The fist because he likes everyone and tries hard not to be biased, the latter because he doesn't give a flip and says what he thinks. Sad when he went back to management, I loved his take no prisoners
[ Edited by dtg_9er on Aug 25, 2012 at 8:51 AM ]