My Oh My, the times have changed. Once the NFC West was compiled with teams so lousy that a 9-7 record would almost guarantee a play-off birth. Then came the Harbaalke era and to the unsuspecting eye the Niners seemed poised to easily dominate the division for years to come. What a happy ten years we had guaranteed! But then Seattle started to get better, then they got even better, a year later they are an absolute force.
St. Louis decides to join the party. They pull Jeff Fisher starting a growth pattern that can only be describes as strong and consistent. To add to that growth, a plethora of First round ammunition to compliment their young nucleus (I will say it seems the 49ers lucked out they chose to stick with S. Bradford over taking RG3 and trading Bradford for a first). Not to mention they are Niner killers, a team for some reason the 49ers simply struggle to match up with.
Then there is the lowly Cardinals, like a baby brother trying to catch his fully developed siblings. While they are inferior, they are clearly growing stronger, and they already have a strong defense which is half the battle in the NFL.
Our Get into Playoffs Free Card has been stripped, instead replaced with a guarantee that we will have to fight for our life every inch of the way, every year. Instead of 2 tough division games a year we will have 4-6. And while it seems all the seperation we had has been ripped away from us. I have never been more excited! The easy route while satisfying with its guarantees doesn't fuel the drug that we are hooked on. True, a 10-6 season where we didn't we make the playoffs when we are a 12-4 team talent wise would be devastating to swallow. There is nothing like earning it, having that sick hope feeling in gut that hours before kickoff from week 2-17.
While some will take this turn of division fortune as a tragedy. To those like me who like their football chalked full of adrenaline, it is simply a blessing in disguise.
[ Edited by HarboutTHAT on Jun 9, 2013 at 9:31 PM ]