Kris answered my questions yesterday so it's time for me to answer his questions today regarding the Super Bowl.
Q. Is the Bay Area becoming the new Boston in terms of teams making championship runs? Who right now is more popular-the Niners or the Giants?
A. That means the Warriors and Sharks would have to win a championship for the Bay Area to become the new "Boston". And I seriously doubt that either team wins a championship this year although you're never sure about a lockout shortened year in the NHL.
I will say this the Giants have definitely become the "new Red Sox" not in terms of going on a spending spree in free agency but by the non-stop marketing they do for that team. The pink hats have been replaced with Panda and Giraffe hats. 'Sweet Caroline' has been replaced by Journey's 'Lights'. It's quite disgusting really.
As far as who is most popular, the Giants or the 49ers? I would still have to go with the 49ers. Even when the Niners were bad they still sold out Candlestick. The Giants meanwhile either have to be good or have Barry Bonds chase a record to draw fans. I remember when after Bonds broke the career home run record which happened in early August, that ballpark became emptied. I mean they barely had 20,000 fans in that park after the record was broken because the team was so bad. There was hardly a moment when Candlestick wasn't at least close to being sold out when the Niners were bad. So the Niners will always hold the people's attention over the Giants.
Q. Is Jim Harbaugh the new Bill Belichick?
A. It's still too early to tell. With Belichick you get the impression he has his hands on everything except offensive play-calling. Belichick picks the players and comes up with the defensive schemes. While Harbaugh has gotten to chose a few players for the team (Randy Moss as an example) I don't get the feeling he's making the final choice on all the personnel decisions. Also I'm not really sure how much of the offensive scheme he's come up with? I'm not sure if the Pistol was his idea or Roman's? So I can't call him the new Belichick until I can confirm he makes the personnel decisions and creates the offensive schemes.
Q. Which 49ers player makes you cringe everytime you see him on the field?
A. This has become a running joke at the Cantina but it's Delanie Walker. Walker is one of those guys who can't help but cringe when the ball is thrown to him because he's catches about 50 percent of the balls thrown to him. There wasn't one game in the playoffs this year or a game all year where Walker was thrown to and he flat dropped the ball. Even grosser he's been targeted more than Davis when Kaepernick became the starter.
Q. After that awkward trophy presentation in Atlanta, who is Eddie DeBartolo rooting for?
A. He's rooting for death for his sister and brother-in-law. Seriously though I he's rooting for the Niners. He loves the Niners and loves his nephew Jed Clampett.
Q. One of the turning points of the NFL season happened when Jim Harbaugh decided to go with Colin Kaepernick as his QB. Did he wait too long to make the switch? Would the Niners still be playing in New Orleans if Alex Smith had been reinstated as QB after his injury?
A. I don't believe Harbaugh waited to long to make the switch. Smith was playing well and the Niners were looking good. On the switch side though it would have been nice to see Kaepernick start sooner and get out his bad games like the one's he had against St. Louis and Seattle sooner.
As for Smith leading the Niners to the Super Bowl? I say no way in hell. He certainly wouldn't have lead the Niners past Atlanta when the Niners were down 17-0. Smith is great when the team has the lead, but if they're down I don't have confidence in him at all to lead a comeback. People point to last year when Smith almost lead the Niners to the Super Bowl and also point to Kyle Williams fumbling two punts. What they never point to is the fact the Niners went something like 1-for-12 on third downs. That's on Smith.
The biggest difference between Smith and Kaepernick is the kind of throws they both can make. Kaepernick can throw deep and he has enough touch to throw a little screen pass to Gore in the flat. Smith can't do neither. I don't know how many times over the years Smith would try to throw to Gore in the flat only to throw the ball at Gore's feet. Kaepernick makes those throws.
Q. How has the pistol formation/zone read scheme changed things for the 49ers offense?
A. It's opened up the offense to confuse defenses. Against Green Bay the Niners thrashed the Packers on the ground. The Falcons expected the Niners to run the ball so the Niners threw and beat them that way. The Pistol has made the offense unpredictable.
Q. What happened to Vernon Davis (Terps!) this season? How big a role do you think he plays in this game?
A. I think Davis disappeared when Kaepernick took over because Kaep was feeling out his receivers. He fell in love with Crabtree and to some degree with Mario Manningham. Thankfully Kaepernick remembered Davis in the conference championship. The Niners don't win that game without Kaepernick throwing to Davis.
As far as his role in the Super Bowl, it has to be huge. Whether he's catching passes or blocking. The Niners need his contribution if they're going to win.
Q. The 49ers defense went from allowing only 294 yards a game in the regular season, to giving up 415 yards per game in the playoffs. What in your opinion is the reason for their postseason struggles?
A. They only thing I can point to is Justin Smith's injury. When he was healthy and able to distract two offensive lineman to allow Aldon Smith to rush the passer while the Niners held teams to 294 yards. Smith got hurt and became less affective and teams have been able to pass all day long on them. This scares me the most about the Niners in the Super Bowl. If they can't get a pass rush, Flacco will probably destroy the Niners secondary. The entire Niners defense centers around Justin Smith.
Q. Who is the better linebacker-Patrick Willis or Navarro Bowman?
A. I actually do think it's Bowman. While Willis can run sideline-to-sideline to tackle guys, he's not exactly great at covering tight ends or receivers in the middle of the field. Bowman can. While Willis is very good and one of my favorite players, Bowman is a little more well rounded.
Q. Which off the radar guy has to play well in order for San Francisco to win?
A. Since Smith and Davis aren't "off the radar guys" I have to go with the Niners return team of Ted Ginn and LaMichael James. While Kaepernick is fine driving the offense down the field, it would still be nice if they could have good field position to start a drive. Also the Niners need James to be their change-of-pace back he's been lately to give Gore a breather.
Q. Three seconds to go, and the Niners need a 45 yard field goal to win the Super Bowl. How confident are you in David Akers to make that kick?
A. I have zero confidence in Akers at this point if he has to kick from 30-yards out and beyond. The thing I don't get about Akers is that he has plenty of distance on his kicks. He's just plain old shanking the kicks like a golfer shanking drives. I keep telling myself Akers will improve, but he hasn't. If he's being relied upon to win the Super Bowl then I would like to congratulate you and the Ravens right now.
Q.How do 49ers fans perceive the Ravens and their franchise?
A. I love the Giants and 49ers but I absolutely despise the fans of these teams. Their arrogance and cockiness towards any area of this country besides San Francisco and the Bay Area is maddening.
The best example I can give you is this guy from the bay area that called into the Jim Rome Show. The guy started the call sounding stoned and saying "Not busy Rome. Not busy." and then blasted Baltimore about "crime", "poverty", and "unemployment". Now here you have this guy who sounds like all he does is sit around his studio apartment smoking weed, having his parents pay for everything and he's blasting Baltimore because of "unemployment". That guy is everything I hate about the Bay Area. They seriously think the world revolves around the San Francisco. A part of me wants to see the Niners lose just to see people like this say, "you know I don't even care about sports". Shut up you dumb fuck, put down the bong, find a job, and stop crushing other others of this country besides San Francisco.
Q. Have you heard that the opposing head coaches in this game are brothers?
A. I have not heard anything about this yet? How interesting!