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I am simply asking a question. I am not trying to start an argument. I got quite enough arguments yesterday when pretty much the whole world told me I’m a knucklehead for advocating the Niners sign Peyton Manning. I’d like to have an argument-free day.

Here’s my question. Why is it that Alex Smith is by far the biggest hot-button issue on my blog and I imagine on any sports blog or column in the Bay Area?

If I write about other issues I don’t get nearly the response — positive or negative, but always passionate — I get if I write about Smith.

I write about the A’s vs. Giants feud or bounty hunting or what’s wrong with the Warriors or Buster Posey, you name it. And I get response, sure I do. But if I write anything about Smith — like he has a hang nail — readers go into hyper-response mode. Believe me.

So, I’m asking why. Is it something about Smith himself? Would it be that way for any 49ers QB? Or is it something else? What do you think?

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Comments

29 Comments

  1. Randy

    No. 1 pick, huge signing bonus, 6 or 7 years of poor play, and he plays QB – a position that 49er fans covet; theree are so many reasons why Smith draws such great emotion. He has also been around long enough for people to invest time in their decision about him, whether good or bad. The harsh reality is when you play QB for the 49ers, the bar is set by Montana and Young. If Peyton is healthy, I don’t see why the 49ers are not at least exploring the option (non-publicly of course) while they negotiate with Smith. Again, if Peyton is healthy, he seems like the perfect stopgap and role model for Kaepernick until he is ready.

    March 9th, 2012 11:19 am

  2. Stan

    Your demogaphics from what Cowherd mentioned the other day on ESPN are middle aged white males with money. And Alex,and Jim,and Buster and Cain..I could go on represent what they feel is “One of ours”..and I know that even if I couldnt post I read your blog when it was DeFacedbook…and sure enough,their was that crowd-more or less- tech company employees exceeded “I work at Otis’s sandwiche shop”

    One other thing-the size of the “Tags”, is that based on how many times you wrote about them? Or?

    March 9th, 2012 11:26 am

  3. Mark M

    First and foremost….the Niners are kings. The most successful franchise in the area in the nations most popular sport.

    Secondly, we have a GREAT legacy of QBs with our Niners. Alex doesn’t measure up, despite having a decent season last year. He was picked first and was terrible for many years, albeit with extenuating circumstances. It probably isn’t fair to the man that we held him to such high standards, but it’s the role he signed up for. He failed. For almost his entire career. And got paid big dough while he was doing it. It’s been, and still remains, embarrassing that he is still our QB. I flat have a difficult time fully embracing the whole Harbaugh new world while this guy remains here. I think part of the reason we want Manning so bad is simply to finally start a new era without Alex.

    Thirdly, there are some who seem to empathize and identify with Alex’s tough road with the Niners. I’m not a shrink but I sure read a lot of vehement defenses of him even while he was obviously terrible for many years. I suppose some folks feel that he is a nice guy who has tried his best in less than ideal circumstances, and yet still worked hard and improved. This is true, he clearly is a high character individual. But I still don’t want him as my QB. We’re hamstrung with him back there.

    March 9th, 2012 11:29 am

  4. MJ

    Many factors, not one correct answer, much like the story of Alex Smith.

    There are those who blame everything wrong in the world on Alex Smith, feel he is the reason for the Niners failing, and can’t see it from the other side. Then there are those who see it the exact opposite, who claim he isn’t to blame and that anyone who says otherwise is a “hater”. Both of these groups are quite rude, hysterical, uncivil and should not be taken seriously. And a good percentage of them fall under the category of “troll”, someone who gets enjoyment for being a discussion board anarchist.

    Then there are those of us who see beyond black and white. Who see that Smith hasn’t succeeded like we’d like but that to blame him solely for the teams failures is idiotic, to discount the circumstances is short sighted and to blame everything on him is feeble minded.

    But then again, I also believe that there are a group of people who just love to sit behind the computer screen of anonymity and insult people because they are internet tough.

    March 9th, 2012 11:36 am

  5. htwaits

    Here are a few answers that when put together might explain Alex Smiths blogging power.

    1. The 49ers are always topic number one because they are the bay area’s only original franchise and they play football which is a sport based on irrational passion.

    2. Alex Smith is a scape goat for many people. John Brodie and Steve Young served the same purpose in their day, but that was before the World Wide Web and sports blogs.

    3. Someone has to be blamed when “my” 49ers don’t win the Superbowl. There are a lot of fans who were drawn to the 49ers during the Montana/Rice/Walsh era who feel a kind of ownership status with all that success. They are “winner” fans, and Smith is the one who has cheated them out of 17 years of glory. I started with the 49ers in 1946 when, from day one, they were playing second fiddle to the Browns. When the Superbowl wins started coming, I probably had a different perspective.

    4. For some, Alex Smith is admired for his human story of struggle against some pretty big odds. For those folks he is seen in prospective against the backdrop of what transpired over his first six years. For the “no excuses” group, that prospective is infuriating.

    5. Alex Smith, as the first choice in the draft and not named Rogers, cheated “my team” out of a vast fortune. Of course, that that’s the same “my team” group that ignores that fact that Smith made a major financial adjustment in his contract two times.

    6. There are some who need someone to hate. If that group didn’t have Alex Smith they would probably focus on Jed York.

    7. There are probably much more profound reasons than the one’s I’ve listed, but here is a last one that I find very interesting given my academic background. What drives the “my team” folks who also have a need to change Alex Smiths gender? Alex doesn’t seem to have much chance to be a super star, but if there is one thing that he is it’s tough beyond anything his detractors or advocates can demonstrate.

    March 9th, 2012 11:38 am

  6. Tiburon Dave

    Because this is a quarterback town and always has been…

    Could you imagine what would have gone in if there had been blogs when the 49ers decided to run Montana out of town?
    Can you imagine the uproar when Walsh traded for young in the first place?
    Any of you guys old enough to remember when Willie Brown called Elvis Grbac a “Disgrace to Humanity”?

    None of this is new…

    BTW Stan…there have to be at least a few colorful people commenting on this blog…as much as I like to read your stuff do you really think you’re a one man band?

    March 9th, 2012 11:52 am

  7. Johnc

    I like Alex Smith as a person but if you ask me he is just an average quarterback. His throwing skills are average and his decision making is slow. Can he take the Niners to the Super Bowl?..I don’t think so. They should take a shot at Manning. If healthy, Manning is an offense super- weapon. 12 teams contacted Manning yesterday. Are they all crazy or are the Niners crazy for not exploring the possibility?
    Hitching your wagon to Smith is a mistake. The only consolation I have is that there will be open competition between Smith and Kaepernick for the starting role.

    March 9th, 2012 11:58 am

  8. Tony

    For one, he was a number 1 pick and was payed as such. Now, he should be already signed under the 49ers because he owes this franchise his football life after giving him a 2nd and 3rd chance.

    I think if Alex Smith is not signed and the 49ers sign Josh Johnson to bring in for a lively 3 quarterback competition for training camp between Johnson, Kaepernick, and Tolzien, the 49ers would be better off in the long run because the job is Colin. K’s to lose.

    March 9th, 2012 12:35 pm

  9. Seth

    It’s because you simply have two equally passionate groups of people that desperately want the 49ers to succeed. One half thinks that Alex got dealt a bad hand and still has a chance to be great. The other half blame Alex for the 49ers failures and want him gone. Also, and this may be a stretch, I think alot of people see themselves in Alex, remember the general populace always tend to root for the underdog and who is a bigger underdog than Alex. The guy got drafted by the 49ers and was essentially expected to be the next great thing of the franchise. Of course we all know what happened afterward. Typically, on most other teams, he would have been cut along time ago but circumstance has kept him here so he’s been here long enough for 49ers fans to have little grar area about how they feel about him.

    March 9th, 2012 12:39 pm

  10. Stan

    I said Dave-more or less. I mean,I also noticed that when Comcast takes in tweet-most seem to be Latino surnames. Demographics are a real science-I dont dent them..but I think its the fool writer or sports hosts who are a slave to them.
    Jeez,in the real world your surrounded by “Demographics” but who ignores sbm 18-21 who’s politely asking them a question? or saf? or 7′ basketball playing Lativians who are filthy rich..your nice to all who are nice to you.
    Like that.

    March 9th, 2012 12:41 pm

  11. Stan

    Deny. jeez.

    March 9th, 2012 12:41 pm

  12. Neal

    Their are many Alex Smith lovers, they are almost like a cult, drinking the Kool Aid, they are actually Smither fans more then Niner fans. A very sensitive group.

    March 9th, 2012 12:43 pm

  13. Fred G

    Here are my reasons. I think the A’s attempting to move to San Jose is business in nature and it is not a very exciting topic. It’s a wait and see kind of thing and I suspect we will be waiting awhile- before we “see”. Buster Posey is in the same kind of situation. I sure hope he comes back strong, but its all speculation at this point. I don’t care anymore about the Warriors (they are very boring unless you are a hard core basketball fan).

    Bounty hunting is wrong, PERIOD. What else needs to be said? I see that some people want to talk about the inherit violent nature of the game and I agree with them. However, I don’t think we need to take it to a level where we attempt to seriously hurt others for extra money. I would also say that it takes humans to the level of dog fighting. I don’t see much difference between the Saints brass and Vick.

    Regarding Alex Smith, I have complained many times over the years about his lack of composure under pressure. I agree with everything other readers have said. I am also annoyed STILL we passed on Aaron Rodgers. That isn’t fair to Alex Smith. He had no say in who the 49ers picked. Yet looking at how Rodgers has developed, adds to my discontentment with Smith.

    When I respond I try to add something to the discussion. Many of the topics speak for themselves and I don’t want this blog to turn into sports talk radio where people call in just to hear themselves talk.
    I like when you blog on books, movies and life. I think you get your most interesting responses when you choose those types of topics.

    March 9th, 2012 1:37 pm

  14. Rowdy

    Alex will never be forgiven for not being Joe Montana.

    March 9th, 2012 1:59 pm

  15. jason

    >
    > Alex will never be forgiven for not being Joe Montana.
    >

    Has Steve Young been pardoned for not being Joe Montana?

    March 9th, 2012 3:24 pm

  16. Dennis

    Great question Lowell. I was wondering the same thing because I noticed on Grants blog anytime he want to jack up the posts past 300 he mentions Alex Smith and off they go. I am not an Alex Smith lover or hater; I just want the 49ers to make good decisions along the way and it looks like they are doing that. My conclusion about why Smith brings out so much discussion is because he is an average quarterback. He isn’t great, but perhaps can be – he has the arm, the feet, the intelligence and the athletic ability to play the position. He isn’t bad, but can be – he doesn’t have the confidence or attitude, the intangibles to play the position. Those who hate him see the later and those who love him see the former. I see him as a serviceable quarterback who is a very good option until someone better comes along that will not mortgage the future or ruin the locker room. Alex may be that someone, but then again may not –thus the heated discussion.

    Can you imagine what is going on in Denver? They have got to be having this same discussion, perhaps even more so.

    March 9th, 2012 4:22 pm

  17. htwaits

    >
    > Alex will never be forgiven for not being Joe Montana.
    >

    >> Has Steve Young been pardoned for not being Joe Montana?

    Not by the “my niners” crowed.

    March 9th, 2012 4:31 pm

  18. Sid

    Why is Alex Smith so polarizing?

    1. He was drafted number 1 because he was willing to do what Mike Nolan told him despite being a gimmick QB thus passing over Aaron Rodgers who was local and wanted to play for the 49ers

    2. Alex is a nice guy but a mediocre QB. He has small hands, an average arm, he doesn’t handle pressure well, has never converted 3rd downs, doesn’t have leadership skills, is slow with his reads.

    3. Alex Smith does not play like John Brodie, Joe Montana, Steve Young or Aaron Rodgers and he never will.

    4. Alex Smith couldn’t make it to the superbowl with the best defense in the NFL.

    5. Alex Smith is a nice guy but doesn’t have the “IT” factor. Football is a passionate sport and he lacks passion. He should have been a golfer.

    6. Alex Smith has screwed us out of glory for the past 7 years.

    7. We are sick and tire of all the Alecuses.

    March 9th, 2012 5:49 pm

  19. Rich, San Ramon

    I’ve always viewed Smith as a try-hard kid who did things the right way. He made plenty of mistakes, but the media gave a lot of free passes to his WR’s and TE’s and never seemed to give a dard that Smith tried to play 3 or 4 games with a destroyed shoulder. He was neither good, nor a jerk, sand the media just crucified him as if he drafted himself.

    March 9th, 2012 5:53 pm

  20. Phil, Reno

    Lowell, I honestly agree with you. I do give Alex plenty of credit for his play last year, but I just don’t believe he will take us to the promised land. Time for everyone to move on if you ask me.

    With Manning we instantly become Super Bowl favorites. And, we still have Colin Kaepernick waiting in the wings. Believe me, some of Peyton will rub off on him.

    Who knows, maybe the stars will align themselves and this will happen. Stranger things have happened.

    March 9th, 2012 6:42 pm

  21. bryan

    Two words Nolan ,Singletry. (offence Killers ) Alex The Great will prove you all wrong and Aaron Rodgers. In Harbaug we Trust

    March 9th, 2012 6:54 pm

  22. TD

    You said the truth Sid ! Now the haters (the Smithers) will come out and rip you to shreds for telling it like it is. But you did the right thing.
    I feel sorry for Alex,he is a backup quality QB that was drafted #1 and failed to live up to being good enough in the NFL. He tried his best but isn’t talented enough.It would really be a sad story if he wasn’t a mulit- millionaire several times over.So I can’t be too sad for Alex,just sad for the true fans who have had to live through the poor play for 7 years. Hurry and get ready CK,we need you desperately.

    March 9th, 2012 6:55 pm

  23. Loneraider78

    “The 49ers are always topic number one because they are the bay area’s only original franchise”

    Did he really say that?

    Sure, the 49ers are CA’s oldest team but where does this guy think the Raiders originated?

    Milwaukee?

    The Raiders are a Bay Area original, make no mistake about that. The Raiders were the first Bay Area football team to hoist that trophy. Especially for us here in the North Bay, the Raiders should be revered even more. It was them who called–and continue to call the North Bay home in the preseason. The Niners were way out in Rocklin for awhile, and now reside in the South Bay.

    It’s a shame that Al Davis took his focus away from football and instead engaged in petty legal battles and moved the team away from it’s roots. The Raiders owned this area–and rightfully so. When they left, it basically paved the way for the Niner bandwagon to take over once they finally started winning after forty years of nothing.

    March 9th, 2012 9:16 pm

  24. jason

    >
    > Sure, the 49ers are CA’s oldest team but where does this guy think the Raiders originated?
    >
    .
    Minneapolis !!
    .
    . “January 30 (1960)—Oakland group awarded former Minneapolis franchise. ”
    .

    March 9th, 2012 10:58 pm

  25. htwaits

    Those who’s blogs are fed by the Alex Smith name calling contest will have more years of fun and games. Smith will probably sign a four or five year contract Monday or very soon after.

    Enjoy the ride. It better than a political satirist job during the Nixon administration.

    March 9th, 2012 11:58 pm

  26. Loneraider78

    ^^
    Oakland group took spot that was vacated by Minneapolis group, when they joined NFL as Vikings.

    Not really the same thing as the Browns becoming the Ravens.

    Oakland was awarded a franchise. It started here friend.

    March 10th, 2012 12:22 am

  27. One Puzzle Piece Short

    Just look on the front page of the PD>com site. Any story about the Niners will always be in the mix for the “Most Read” tab there in the upper right. That’s just what readers in this area care about. Smith is the highest drafted player in the highest profile position. The defense is good, so what is ther to talk about? How many ways can you describe PWill’s awesomeness?

    The Giants are a close second in interest, but they’re history until about 2000 is not as illustrious as the Niners. That still matters, a little.

    The Warriors have become a standing joke, as have the A’s. Their true haydays were decades ago.

    March 10th, 2012 4:43 pm

  28. KauaiRobert

    It’s Football.
    .
    .
    .
    -ALOHA-

    March 10th, 2012 7:23 pm

  29. Streetglide

    Because he is… Alex Smith. This next year could be very interesting. Unfortunately we are all going to die December 21st. I expect Alex to do a pretty good job right up until then.

    But NEWS FLASH!!!

    They won’t sign Alex. It’s not going to happen. He will end up on a team like the Panthers as a backup…

    March 10th, 2012 7:49 pm

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