Gil Pound: Pound for Strike gold

Feb. 6—Counting myself as extra fortunate this week.

For most football fans, their favorite pro team is done. Not so here in Pound for Pound-land. I've followed the San Francisco 49ers ever since I could half understand the game of football, which was somewhere in the window of 6 to 8 years old.

I've explained it here before — almost exactly four years to the day — why a guy that's lived in Georgia his entire life is a fan of a California team. Perhaps I've picked up a few readers since then, so here's the short version.

When one's first recollection of his or her home state's pro football team is hearing people say, "Falcons lost again today," he or she is not very likely to hitch themselves to that wagon. Searching elsewhere, I found the greatness that was the Steve Young and Jerry Rice-led 49ers of the mid- to late-90s. My father, the long-suffering Falcons fan, supported my turncoat ways by taking me to see the Niners when they would come to the southeast. We traveled to Carolina, Tampa Bay, and of course Atlanta a few times so I could see my team in person.

As luck would have it, I swore my allegiance just a couple of years after the franchise won its last Super Bowl. We're 0-2 since with a memorable loss to the Ravens in 2013 the night the New Orleans SuperDome lost power followed by the 2020 comeback by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

It feels like this needs to be the year. SF has the most talented offensive skill players of any team in the league and a quarterbackwhose performance seems to be divisive to anyone without any sense. I can't for the life of me figure out why 'how good is Brock Purdy?' is a topic on seemingly every sports talk show. The man wins football games. He's obviously valuable enough to where the 49ers had no shot without him in last year's NFC Championship loss to the Eagles.

Does Purdy benefit by having the aforementioned incredible stable of skill guys? Absolutely. Has he come up big at the end of the last two games? Yep. I'm happy to have him as my quarterback, win or lose this Sunday.

Defense matters too in games like the one upcoming. Despite being almost equally as talented on that side of the ball, San Francisco has underperformed there this year. Not a great feeling going into this weekend's matchup against Mahomes the magician.

My team will also be doing battle against a nation of Swifties brought on board by the popstar's relationship with Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce. It may be a 'Love Story,' but I'm saying no to a storybook ending for the world's most rabid fanbase.

SF ends the franchise's Super Bowl drought with a 30-21 victory. Bang Bang Niner Gang.