So there I was, toiling away like a good ATL writer, when the following tweet pops up on upper-right corner of my screen:
How incredible is that? If I told you two years ago that Alex Smith would be mentioned in the same breath as Steve Young and Joe Montana for a reason other than their shared laundry, you'd tell me to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. (That would be mean of you, but I can't explain your hypothetical actions.)
Hand it to Jim Harbaugh. He saw something in Smith when few others did. His first order of business after being named Niners coach was to throw his support behind the former No. 1 draft pick. Yes, the 49ers were players in the Peyton Manning Sweepstakes -- despite what Harbaugh says -- but that shouldn't be viewed as an indictment of Smith. It's Peyton Manning, after all.
In 2011, Smith was a consummate "game manager" during the regular season. He showed in the Niners' memorable shootout win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card Game that he could sling it, too. In Week 1, he carved up the Green Bay Packers (20-of-26 passing, 211 yards, 2 TDs) in a performance that hints the success of last season wasn't a fluke.
Montana. Young. Smith. It's not quite the holy trinity of Niners quarterbacks, but Smith's resurgence is worthy of both our acknowledgement and respect.