The San Francisco 49er annihilation of the New York Jets in New Jersey a couple of weeks ago was revealing.
As disastrous and hasty as the Jets' decline from grace has been over the last year and a bit, there are yet some quality players wearing green - players with some pride, though few victories. The 49ers held the Jets at arm's length that day and slapped them around like little brothers for three-plus hours. As humiliating as it was for the Jets, it was inspiring for the 49ers and their fans, who perceive this season as a series of step by step achievements on their way to the title - a championship unceremoniously denied them last year by the Giants, stadium partners of the 49ers-deposed Jets.
It should be noted that, along the way in this year of reclamation, there will be some moments more special than others for the Bay Area marauders. Today is one of them. The Niners, you know, have been pointing to this rematch with the Giants since they walked off the field in the playoffs last year in misery. The Giants out-49ered San Francisco that day, and it somehow hurts more when the other team plays your game better than you. It had to irk Jet coach Rex Ryan a couple of weeks ago for the same reason. The 49ers have the team Ryan was trying to build and failed. So far, the Giants have the team the 49ers boast - a defense that won't quit, rushes the quarterback when it's interested, and completely stifles opposing offenses. Make no mistake, the Giants' defense will be interested today.
Some things have not changed since last year, and the 49ers will have to swallow hard when they realize it. The Giants' offense is better than theirs - far better. In fact, there is a wider gap in the offenses of these two teams than last year. The 49ers' is more prolific, the Giants' is a lot more prolific.
The sheer volume of energy in San Francisco today might will the 49ers to a victory, might not. It won't change which team is ultimately better.
Glenn Vallach has been a football fan for most of his lifetime, but never played organized pigskin unless you consider the thousands of youth hours running slant routes on city streets. Don Maynard was his idol, an adulation he took seriously, complete with a number 13 stitched to his sweatshirt. He remains a New York Jet fan through so much disappointment and embarrassment over the years. Coach Rex Ryan has rekindled a dormant fire, but sometimes he feels as if he doesn't understand the likely end result of all his efforts. It has been 43 years, after all.
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Jets page
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Giants page
- · Yahoo! Sports San Francisco 49ers page
- · Sean Brennan, New York Daily News, Inside the Matchups