I've given this thread a day's worth of thought, and I'm not altogether comfortable with the upshot of this argument, as I read it. The thread itself is quite good, but I'm uneasy about it because of the recent change in the board's tone which seems to encourage a race to heap (sometimes absurd) platitudes upon the team, coaching staff, and management. Let's get one thing straight: the team hasn't been in this kinda shape for twenty years, and after that long drought it's tempting to say, "Just STFU and enjoy what we've got."
The problem with that is it leads to orthodoxy and a race toward increasingly untenable arguments. A good example of this occurred during Sunday's game thread. After the game someone mentioned that Smith should never again be called a game manager and that he was now an "elite quarterback," whatever that means. A different poster suggested, reasonably, that one game does not make a reputation, and while Smith is strongly trending in that direction, it was still a bit premature to confer that label on Smith--again, for whatever the term is worth. The poor guy was dog-piled by a number of posters that seemed hellbent on forcing him to concede that Smith had now become an "elite quarterback." What really pissed me off about that exchange was the fact that the torch wielding mob wasn't deterred by the poster's enthusiastic praise for Smith. Instead, they were just trying to force him to say "Alex Smith is an elite quarterback." For whatever the reason, it wasn't enough for those posters to "STFU and enjoy what we've got." Instead, they felt driven to shove a debatable argument down a man's throat. It wasn't good enough to say Smith had a great game, he suddenly had to become an elite quarterback.
Likewise, we've seen this happen in the Willis vs. Bowman brawl about nothing. Rather than have a reasonable discussion regarding the merits of two similar, but clearly different players, the sides have staked out their turf and have attempted to shove catch phrases down each other's throats. Now that the tide has changed for the franchise's fortunes, I guess everyone is racing to be the purist possible 49er fan, but when you're pitting Willis against Bowman something has run seriously amok in 49er fandom. It's a loaded term, but I think we're starting to develop a kind of 49er political correctness around here.
I lived through the lousy 70's and (what I hope will soon be called) the First Dynasty, and it was nothing like this. We didn't have this new-found orthodoxy back then, nor the assumption that greatness was bound to happen again. Instead, we vigorously argued about Walsh's and Seifert's infuriating, often counter-productive conservatism in the second half. Where's the discussion about Harbaugh's conservative streak? Nevermind that, he's already been sainted an offensive genius on par with Walsh. We cantankerously brawled about players' merits, many of whom ultimately wound up in the HoF. There was an off season, if you can believe it, where Jerry Rice was in Kendall Hunter-esque hot water because of a colossal playoff screw up that was likely worse than Hunter's concussed failure in judgement. Hunter was concussed and playing with half a deck of cards, Rice was just hot dogging.
All of that happened without the varnish of HoF greatness, the subsequent revolution within the NFL, and, ultimately, the universal recognition (and coining of the term) Dynasty. I suppose what really gets under my skin is the fact that we're already starting to apply that varnish, tag players with "elite"/HoF greatness, and assume there will be a Second Dynasty. As Bills, Browns, Eagles, Oilers--the list goes on--fans know all too well, sometimes everything is set up just right and it simply doesn't happen. You've got to earn it first. Frankly, I see too many people on this forum handing out laurels before they've been won.
Last, I'd like to emphasize that reasonable gentlemen can reasonably disagree. Despite the prevailing winds around here, history has not been written yet, so there is no final word; and believing something emphatically doesn't make you emphatically right. After all, the Redskins beat the Giants twice last year; football has a way of making an ass out of everyone. If you're unable to humble yourself and tell another poster, "I don't agree with you, but you may be right," wait a week. You're liable to get your comeuppance.
Thanks for bearing with me this long, I know it was a lengthy post.