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The foundation of a standard of performance is attention to detail.
 

—  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, by David Harris
 

[“Attention to detail, private!” was another of those sayings my old Drill Sergeant used to beat me over the head with…  Who knew he might have been a great coach!  —  KMAB]
 

 

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The object is to play so well so consistently that your opponent caves in.
 

—  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, by David Harris
 

[Happy Birthday Bro,
 

The same can be said about squeezing every drop of living out of life…
 

Love ya,
Kev
—  KMAB]

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You have to develop an ethic so that on every down you play as well as you can play.  From week to week, it is your personal, internalized standard of play that makes the difference.
 

—  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, by David Harris
 
 

 

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What matters most is what you expect from yourself.  The players who do the best are those who expect the most.  They play every down matched against their own expectations.  That’s how you win games and sustain a season.
 

—  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, by David Harris
 

[Happy Birthday, Sarah! 

The quote above is also about how you live your life without regrets… 

 Love, Dad  —  KMAB]

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Players must execute.  They can’t depend on emotion to win.  It doesn’t matter how much you want to win the game.  Everyone in the NFL is intense.  It’s foolish to think we can out intensity them.  The bottom line is: Can we execute a series of plays almost flawlessly?  Only through repetition and experience with those plays can each player complete the necessary assignments.  If you want something too badly, you can throw yourself out of sync trying to make a play that isn’t really achievable.  It’s not the attitude or the personnel that does it.  It’s how well you do things.  Don’t count on heroics.  Count on execution, on the things we have practiced and are good at.
   —  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, written by David Harris
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The critical factor whenever people work together, is that they expect something of each other.  It’s not just that the coach expects a lot of the players —  it’s the fact that the players expect a lot of each other.  We establish a standard of performance here where each man is an extension of his teammates.  We prepare for every contingency and through all of this there is a single thrust — sacrifice for your team because you infinitely care.  You are truly a Forty Niner when you aid and assist each other, when you believe in each other.
 

—  Bill Walsh
Former 49er Head Coach
As quoted in “The Genius“, by David Harris
 
 

 

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For the last two years, about this time, I make my Super Bowl predictions.  I try to pick the winner, predict the score and explain why.  So far, I’m zero(0) for two(2) on my picks.  However, I’m not so easily deterred that I won’t try again.
 

Now, in the interest of full disclosure I will have to admit that I am a lifetime San Francisco Forty Niners fan.  This means my “normal” sense of objective reasoning will have to be set aside for this posting.
 

I believe the 49ers will easily win the Super Bowl to the tune of something like 34 to 13.  That’s correct!  We will score four touchdowns and two field goals and they will score one touchdown and two field goals.
 

The 49ers met the Baltimore Ravens last season on Thanksgiving night and they defeated us 16 to 6.  They scored one touchdown and three field goals to our (only) two field goals.  The difference in the game was nine(9!) sacks of our quarterback (Alex Smith).  This was very much a defensive battle and Ray Lewis, the Ravens middle linebacker did not play due to injury.  This year, neither team has as good a defense as they had last year.  I personally think the age (and related slowness) of the Ravens linebackers will prove to be their downfall.  The Ravens other great linebacker (Suggs) has been slowed by injury this year and is not his pass rushing best any more.  Not to take too much credit from the Ravens that night, the fact is the game was played on a short week (for both teams) but we had to spend a day travelling to Baltimore.  I honestly feel it they had had to come to us OR if the game was on a normal Sunday, we would have prevailed.
 

On the other side, our new quarterback (Kaepernick) is much more athletic than our quarterback from last year (Smith).  Kaepernick is also a much better deep thrower than Smith.  I believe Kaepernick will open with runs to draw the Raven linebackers close, then throw to Vernon Davis (our tight end) in mid-range, and then go over the top (and center) to Randy Moss.  With the Ravens thinking center and deep, Kaepernick will switch to shorter routes (in and outside) to Michael Crabtree.  With the Ravens dropping back to protect the pass, the 49ers will interweave the ground pounding of Frank Gore.
 

The Ravens offense is a mirror of the 49ers, but not as good.  Flacco is a good deep thrower, but we have a better pass rush than they’ve seen in a while.  Pitta is a large target as a tight end, but he is not as fast as V. Davis and our linebackers are better pass defenders than the Raven’s are.  Reed is their best pass defender, but he has lost a step.
 

So, this will be a VERY physical game, but the 49ers should win handily…
 

Book Review:
About a month ago, I picked up: “The Genius” by David Harris (2008©).  The sub-title is: “How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL Dynasty“. 
 

To be honest, I was expecting another “puff-piece” about how great and good Bill Walsh was.  (Walsh passed away 30 July 2007.)  The reality is (was) that he was not a particularly nice man – even if he was a great head coach.  Walsh is made to seem almost bi-polar and manically depressive in this book.  I don’t question this impression.  I just wonder that twenty years after the fact, so much of this is “new” to me.  I bought this book expecting to “re-live” some of the good-old days.  The book is a very fast read (which I didn’t expect) and was perfect to squeeze in in-between our winning the NFC Conference Championship and going on to the Super Bowl.
 

If you are looking for a book to advise you how to build a winning football (or sports) program, this one won’t be of much use.  If you’re looking for an in-depth explanation of the “West Coast Offense”, sorry, still no joy here.  If you’re looking for how to evaluate college players for drafting to create a winning team, nope.  How to create a game plan or manage an actual game, nope and nope again.
 

So why is this book “good”?  (I highly recommend it!)
 

Because it reminds of what must be sacrificed in order to reach the top (of any profession) and stay there.  It is a cautionary tale of an intelligent, forward looking and forward thinking man who could not separate sports losses from personal failures and suffered terribly / emotionally for it.
 

Although I enjoyed every Walsh (49er) victory, I also found his personnel actions disloyal and sometimes despicable.  This was true “back in the day” (when they were happening) and more so as I read this book.  That’s not to say Walsh wasn’t doing these things for the good of the team.  It’s just I found them morally objectionable.
 

It seems, for the last chapters, that Walsh, after his own retirement, made a concerted effort to try to befriend the players he treated so badly during their careers.  I’m happy he was able to convince them there was nothing personal in his intent while he was coaching.  It is stated that many former players came to have great affection for him, even a sense of love.  I think this a “common” response among people who feel someone tried to get the very best out of them – even more than the person themself felt they had to offer.
 

It’s a shame that a “truer” genius could not have found a way to be both a great coach and a better person at the same time.
 

In conclusion – Go Niners!!  Beat the Ravens!!

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