Niners’ York throws down the gauntlet UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on October 11, 2010 – 9:12 am

I’m not going to call it a guarantee, since technically, the word wasn’t used in Jed York’s text message to someone at ESPN — I am guessing Adam Schefter, since Adam wrote the story — but the 49ers owner/president made it clear what he believes today when he wrote out the words “We’re going to win the division.”

And if it walks like a guarantee and talks like a guarantee …

For such a short sentence, it’s a big concept for a team that stands 0-5, may be benching its quarterback and is reeling after all kinds of predictions of greatness before the season.

Look, it’s impossible to write the 49ers off. They are only three games back of the NFC West-leading Cards with 11 games left, and San Francisco still gets to play the Cards twice. History, however, says otherwise. Since the current playoff system was implemented, no team has come back to make the playoffs after an 0-5 start (and, as Football Outsiders’ Bill Barnwell noted last night, no team has done it after a 1-5 start either). Schefter rightly notes the 49ers don’t exactly have a killer schedule on paper the rest of the way, but you can make the same argument for the Cardinals (Hey, they have the 0-5 49ers left twice, right?).

More importantly, why fan flames that don’t need to be fanned? If you are the 49ers, the best place to have the Cardinals is fat and happy, thinking they are in control. That’s when they get dinged. There is already plenty of, let’s say, irritation for the 49ers downstairs in that locker room. To throw this out there, now, only riles up a team that already felt disrespected in the face of all those glowing Niner reports in the offseason.

UPDATE: Coach Ken Whisenhunt’s quote on the matter: “You know what, I’m really not worried too much what the 49ers are doing right now. When we face them in a couple of weeks I will be, but I am more interested in trying to improve with our football team.”

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