Final thoughts on 49ers’ ‘disappointing’ 2013 season


It’s Super Bowl week, and I still can’t believe the 49ers won’t be playing on Sunday.

That alone is enough to make their 2013 feel like a disappointment. Which it certainly was.

This team was good enough to be there. Despite all of the setbacks, be it the offseason injury to Michael Crabtree, the Week 2 loss of Ian Williams and Aldon Smith’s treatment for alcohol abuse, this team should have been there.

The 49ers should be in New Jersey, getting ready to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Instead they’re at home, licking their wounds and probably doing the same thing 49ers fans are doing, wondering how it all went wrong in last Sunday’s 23-17 NFC Championship loss to the Seahawks.

I Tweeted my initial reaction immediately after the game ended, and Richard Sherman was inducted into the “First Take” Hall of Fame:

But really, it should hurt worse for the 49ers faithful. Worse than those both of those NFC Championship losses to the Cowboys in 1992 and 1993 and, to take it to the next level, worse than the Kyle Williams fumble against the Giants in 2010. It’s not as bad as Super Bowl XLVII, but it’s close.

Because unlike each of those games, the 49ers looked like the better team in this one from start to finish, even with Colin Kaepernick’s fourth quarter meltdown (more on that later).

They had the arch rival Seahawks beat after three quarters at CenturyLink Field. All they had to do was not wet the bed.

Even though they did exactly that (see: Kaepernick’s three turnovers and Russell Wilson’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse on a fourth-and-long), the 49ers still had a chance to win it on their final drive.

Then Super Bowl XLVII happened all over again. The 49ers marched downfield, looked like they couldn’t lose, then lost on a Kaepernick throw to Crabtree in the endzone.

(Quick question: Was anyone else thinking “Oh sh*t” as the ball left Kap’s hand?)

Of course the pass was slightly underthrown. Of course Sherman was on the coverage and made a great play even though Crabtree had a step on him. Of course the Seahawks — the hated Seahawks — broke the 49ers’ hearts.

Don’t try and tell me this season wasn’t a disappointment for San Francisco.

The 49ers overcame a cable carload of adversity and gave us some memorable moments from a more pleasant standpoint: the season-opening thrashing of Green Bay, the countless game-winning field goals by Phil Dawson, NaVorro Bowman’s 89-yard pick six to end the final game at Candlestick Park, playoff wins at Lambeau Field and at Carolina (can’t forget the two goal-line stands) and a third straight trip to the NFC Championship in as many seasons under coach Jim Harbaugh.

But in the end, the ultimate goal was not met.

Before we turn to yet another long offseason for San Francisco, here are some of my final thoughts on 2013.

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  • Leo

    Wait, what? There’s a legitimate chance that Harbaugh won’t be on the Niners’ sideline NEXT season? Short of him dying, there is a zero percent chance that he won’t be on the Niners’ sideline each of the next TWO seasons. What coach would up and quit, walking away from a great team and $5 million a year? None. What team would fire one of the top 3 coaches in the NFL, while paying him a below-standard salary? None.

    I don’t get that comment at all.

  • Scott J. Adams

    I meant beyond his current contract, which runs through 2016. Changed that.

  • VG

    This is all what ifs? Many teams had many injuries this year. If Kap falls apart when Crabtree is out of the game then I don’t think he is very good himself. Look at Tom Brady he didn’t fall apart by all the injuries on his team. Alex Smith put up 44 points without Jamal Charles in their wild card game. Believe me Kap isn’t really that special.

  • Jim Enos

    3 years in the league and 3 years in the NFC playoff game… enough said. There are 31 teams out there that would LOVE Harbaugh as a coach…

  • naz51j

    so if the 49ers only lost those two games by two missed passes, does hat mean that he only chokes when the game is down to that one crucial decisive play? looks like it this far…

  • Marty

    The stats are out to prove Harbaugh has regress the 49ers to the Big Ten in the 1960’s & 70’s. In each of the last 3 seasons Gore has become more of the offense. In the mean time the passing offense has become one of the biggest jokes in the NFL.
    Pete now owns Harbaugh. If 49ers stays the coarse they will be playing most of their playoff games on the road.