The San Francisco 49ers fell an overtime field goal shy of making Super Bowl XLVI. They tied for the second best record of the regular season at 13-3. They have an exciting coach, one of the best RB's in the game in Frank Gore, arguably the league's best TE in Vernon Davis, the league's best punter and kicker, and by far the league's best and most feared defense, one running backs have nightmares about. Even with no roster changes, they'd be a Super Bowl favorite for the upcoming season. But the Niners aren't content with just being one of several favorites. They apparently wish to be the undisputed favorite.
The only question marks on their roster were at QB and WR, where their lackluster talent was overshadowed by the skill of the rest of the team. San Fran seems intent of answering those two questions in a big way.
As I've said several times before, if the 49ers seriously pursue prized free agent QB Peyton Manning, they'd be the clear frontrunners. The star gunslinger has been upfront about wanting a second Super Bowl ring to match younger brother Eli. The Niners present the best chance to reach that goal right away. What better situation could there be for an aging star seeking one last shot at glory than stepping into a ready-made Super Bowl favorite? In San Francisco, he'd have Vernon Davis to throw to, Frank Gore to hand off to, and a defense and special teams that will always set him up with great field position. They also face no real challenge within their division. As the Saints and Packers proved, the other top tier NFC teams are vulnerable in the playoffs. And Niners fans are used to adoring Hall of Fame caliber QB's, and would surely embrace Payton Manning. Had the 49ers made no other moves, they'd be the clear favorite. But they didn't just sit still and await Peyton's decision, they upped the ante.
Gone is the question of who would Manning throw to when Vernon Davis is covered. The Niners upgraded their receiving squad by signing former All Pro Randy Moss, who would instantly return to at least a glimmer of his former glory with Peyton Manning throwing to him, and Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham, who would be starting on any team that doesn't have surprising star Victor Cruz. They're also courting free agent Brandon Lloyd. They still have WR Michael Crabtree, who'll thrive as a #2 or #3, and who'd be instantly improved by the addition of Manning. If the 49ers were trying to sweeten the deal for Manning, they succeeded abundantly.
So I ask you, if you were a star QB looking for one more shot at winning a second Super Bowl as soon as possible, where would you go? I'd go to the team that now excels in every area except QB. I'd go to the place where I'd be the last piece of the puzzle of becoming the definitive favorite team to go all the way.
Sure, Peyton could go re-live his college glory in Tennessee, but he's looking for NFL glory. The Titans aren't good enough to make the superbowl, or even win their division, not even with Manning under canter. It's still a possibility, and I'm sure that's where his heart is, and his family's first choice, but Manning wants to win now.
He could go to Denver and play for a team with good young receivers, a good offensive line, and a good defense, but Denver isn't as Super Bowl-ready as San Francisco.
Miami and Arizona have basically been ruled out.
If Peyton Manning follows his heart, he'll end up in a Titans uniform. If he follows logic and his drive to win, he'll sign with the San Francisco 49ers, making them the odds on favorite to win Super Bowl XLVII.
©2012 Denim McDemus