The 49ers improved to 6-2 on Sunday with an absolutely dominant 42-10 win in London's Wembley Stadium over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. And if not for the well-dressed circus act that is the St. Louis Rams, the Niners would now be tied for first in the NFC West.
Instead, the Seattle Seahawks stumbled and taunted their way to a 14-9 win in the most boring Monday Night football game of all time, naturally celebrating afterwards as if they'd won the Super Bowl (they have zero in franchise history, but hey…stay classy, Seattle).
Anyway, I could complain again about wasted timeouts and challenges in the 49ers game—clearly Coach Harbaugh didn't read last week's piece, as he displayed worse time management than The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. But that kind of stuff doesn’t really matter against the Jags.
This time around, my beef is with the 49er front office. In case you didn't hear, the 49ers took a preseason flier on Lawrence Okoye, a 21-year-old British discus champion. Though he had never played American football (only rugby. Basically the same, right?), he is monstrously big (6’6”, 304 lbs) and athletic enough to make the transition. Alas, Okoye didn’t improve enough over the summer to make the 49ers’ talented final roster.
But, the front office and coaching staff knew they were playing in London months ago. Everyone with electricity knew the Jaguars would be terrible. So why not sign Okoye for this one game and let him take a few snaps in the fourth quarter?
It would have instantly made the 49ers brand the most popular one in England. I may be no P.R. master, but that sounds like a smart business move to me. And it would have been a nice story to boot: England's young hero back on the pitch field for a match game. Or whatever they say over there.
Maybe this is a reach, but I can't help but think it’s what Alex Smith would have done were he a 49er. Or as a Chief, if the NFL would let Kansas City play in London. I don't blame them for hogging Smith, though. He is 8-0 after all.