The San Francisco 49ers: The Most Overrated Team in the NFL

Brennan Miller, Coulmnist

Amongst all the hubbub and rigmarole, the hustle and bustle, over every Faithful and bandwagon fan there should be a cloud. Not a huge, dark, ominous cloud looming over every day and ruining the Palo Alto high school party scene (that would be the cops or the parents, you can choose), but more of an overcast, wishy-washy gray that is eerily reminiscent of a winter day in San Francisco.

The 49ers are the most overrated team in the National Football League.

Shocking, I know.

Well guess what folks, it is true and in my opinion, very obvious. Despite the applause and accolades the Niners have been getting a weekly dose of on NFL Live or whatever show you choose to get your important news from (ESPN > CNN), they are not as good as they seem. I’ll let you in on the dirty little secret.

Most of the screaming and shouting is over the San Francisco defense. They are rightfully deserving of about three quarters of this. The 49ers rank first against the run, first in points allowed and first in touchdowns allowed. They are also ranked fourth in yards per game. There is no doubt, the defense is good. They make running backs shake in their boots and offensive lineman tremble.

Opposing quarterbacks however, are not trembling. What the man in the pocket sees is a team ranked 16th against the pass and 13th in sacks. Even more astounding, the red and gold are ranked 21st in passes over 40 yards. Quarterbacks are not losing sleep over the Niners, they are standing strong in the pocket and delivering passes deep down the field to wide open receivers.

I would even bet that Alex Smith and Jim Harbaugh want to pass against the 49ers. It would certainly pad their statistics. The San Francisco offense, put politely, needs work. The 49ers rank 24th in total offense. They are 29th in passing and 22nd in touchdowns. The only reason the 49ers are 10th in scoring is because they rank first in field goals. If there was ever an offensive statistic that a team didn’t want to rank first in, it would be field goals. And in case you were wondering, that isn’t field goal percentage, it’s total field goals attempted. In fact, they’re only tenth in field goal percentage, at eighty six percent. The offense is so bad, that we have attempted the second most field goals over fifty yards. Now granted, David Akers made all of them and will probably make the Pro Bowl, but I just can’t get excited over the fact that my team is next to Cleveland Browns in any category.

The NFC playoff picture is starting to shape up and with the Niners’ 26-0 shutout of the Rams, they clinched a spot. But every other team in the playoffs has more total offense than them. In fact, there are eight more teams, not including the five that are currently slotted to play in January, who gain more yards than the 49ers.

I know what they say: “defense wins championships.” I know that it’s hard to throw in five degree weather so the pass defense won’t matter as much, but I just can’t see Aaron Rodgers scoring less than 25 points in a playoff game at Lambeau Field. Unfortunately, I also can’t see Alex Smith scoring more than 10. If the Packers do play the 49ers in what would be the NFC championship game, I don’t think it would be all that close. I hope I’m proven wrong.