After the San Francisco 49ers made it to the NFC championship game in 2011 and were possibly a play or two away from appearing in Super Bowl XLVI, the focus for this upcoming NFL season in 2012 will be to build on that success. Prior to the 49ers reaching the NFC title game in 2011, the team hadn't even been to the playoffs since the 2002 season and hadn't competed in an NFC title game since the 1997 NFL season. For the 49ers to have made it that far in 2011 was really an accomplishment in and of itself.
However, like most professional athletes, the players wanted more. They were within reach of the Super Bowl and fell just short. According to Donte Whitner, 49ers' starting safety, the team is willing to improve on the little things in order to achieve that goal and the team truly expects to be competing for a Super Bowl next season. Improving on the previous season's success seems like a sure thing for a 49ers team that is stacked with talent, but it may not be that easy.
I, like many others, have noticed the difficulty level of their schedule has increased significantly. They will face teams like the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots and will face them on the road. It also appears as if the team will play five nationally televised games, which is a testament to their performance in 2011, but also means the entire nation will be watching as the 49ers take on other nationally recognized opponents - such as the Detroit Lions.
This is not me taking a negative approach to Donte Whitner's optimism. I would hope that he and the rest of his team have an undeniable fervor to compete and work towards the opportunity to play in Super Bowl XLVII. I would hope that the team is going to work on the little things and make sure there aren't any fumbled punts, that our third down completion percentage is much higher than it was the year before and that the team completes more than just one pass to a wide receiver when it is needed the most. All of these things and more are what held the 49ers back in 2011, but the team has addressed some of that by bringing in new personnel to bolster what strengths they possess and to help address weaknesses as well.
In short, Whitner's absolutely right when he says that 49ers are going to compete for a Super Bowl in 2012. They have the coaching staff, they have the defense, and they have the right state of mind. All let's left to do is to see just how hungry the 49ers are and if they can execute what we already expect to be a monster year for the team.
Food for thought: Are the San Francisco 49ers the automatic favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, or will the road to the NFC championship game (and beyond) be a little harder to traverse this time around?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
CSNBayArea.com. Donte Whitner Interview. NFL 2012.
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