SANTA CLARA — The 49ers have “it,” strictly lower case.
“It” has indefinable, intangible qualities that matter greatly to a football team. When Steve Young was a player, he always used to say the 49ers had uppercase “IT,” which helped them win five Super Bowls. For Young, “IT” had something to do with the highest standards of play and conduct and self belief. It was the stuff of champions. Young’s 49ers had “IT” with capital letters. They may even have had it in neon lights.
The current 49ers, to their credit, have lower case “it.” They are working toward the big “I” and the big “T.”
“I think we have ‘it’ so far,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday. “Any team that finds a way to win consistently, no matter how or what type of win it is, usually people start to say that (team has “it”). But that has nothing to do with this week and going forward.”
The 49ers still must prove they have big-time “IT,” even though they’re 9-1. Because “IT” doesn’t come from winning games in September and October. “IT” comes from winning big games down the stretch and in the playoffs. And the 49ers have many important games left to play. Their next three opponents — the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints — each are 8-2.
Those teams have “it,” too.
Here are five reasons the 49ers should feel confident heading into the toughest stretch of their season, as they strive for uppercase “IT.”
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