While last year's disappointment is still fresh in our minds, the 2008 season is already upon us. The 49ers are at a crossroads, and with past glory a fading memory they are in need of a hero to save them from their current despair.

While watching the actors in Dark Knight earn every bit of critical acclaim they have received for their roles in the movie (If Heath Ledger doesn't win an Oscar it's a crime), I wondered which 49er players would be best suited for each role. Could these players save San Francisco and help the team reach its destiny?

*If you haven't seen the movie yet, beware of possible spoilers*

Mike Martz as Bruce Wayne/Batman - A man who already has the money, seeks to avenge past painful memories by saving San Francisco. Fans question his methods and his role as savior, but the fate of the 2008 team ultimately rests in his hands.

Isaac Bruce as Alfred Pennyworth – Trusted advisor who seeks no limelight for his own, he has seen Mike Martz through good times and bad. Bruce's best years are behind him, but his role is one of the most important in shaping Martz's destiny.

Alex Smith as Rachel Dawes – Smith is Martz's last hope at another head coaching job and early in training camp is often in need of rescue by Martz. It is Martz's choice of Smith or Shaun Hill that ultimately shapes his future.

Scott McCloughlan as Lucius Fox – Recently promoted to GM of the 49ers, McCloughlan provides the weapons that allow Martz to save San Francisco. Conflicted as to whether to allow Martz as much power as he has, McCloughlan ultimately aids Martz in his attempts to save San Francisco.

Frank Gore as Lieutenant/Commissioner James Gordon – Gore is incorruptible, virtuous, strong, heroic, but understated. He is one of the most critical cogs in saving the 49ers, but rarely takes the limelight himself. When former first string running back Kevan Barlow is released, Gore takes on the role and leads the crusade against San Francisco's current despair.

Mike Nolan as Harvey Dent/Two-Face – Seen as the "White Knight" brought in to save the 49ers, Nolan quickly takes on more than he can handle. Nolan has a chiseled, American hero quality to him and is not a bad guy, but his tenure as a hero lasted too long and he has seen himself become a villain to some 49er fans.

For the story of the 2008 San Francisco 49ers, John York is the only man appropriate enough to play the Joker to most 49er fans - especially with Hostler gone. But let's have a little fun with this one.

For the rest of the league, only one man could step into the role of the Joker...

Patrick Willis as The Joker – Chaos is what Willis strives for and violence is the medium he chooses to reach it. Not to mention his performance is the one you remember when you leave the show.