SANTA CLARA — A former NFL coach named Bill Parcells once said: “You are what your record says you are.” Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 49ers, does not necessarily agree. Or disagree.
“It's pretty catchy,” Harbaugh said Monday about Parcell's bromide, but deferred comment when asked if the 49ers deserve their 8-4 record, saying: “I don't think it's that relevant. What's relevant is, our fate is in our hands. It's good for all of us to keep that in mind at all times.”
Truthfully, both statements are good to keep in mind, at any time. Because both are relevant.
Parcells' statement is correct because the 49ers have an 8-4 record that they have earned, good and bad. Winning any NFL game is an achievement. But with an offense best described as sporadically intermittent, the 49ers have defeated just one team that currently owns a winning record — Arizona. That's worth second place in the NFC West standings, behind Seattle.
“Not where you'd like to be,” Harbaugh admitted.
He is correct, however, about the 49ers' fate being in their hands regarding the playoffs. They own the second wild card spot and can win out to clinch the postseason.
But in terms of what the 49ers really are — and whether they are going to be relevant in the Super Bowl conversation — we'll discover that definitively on Sunday when they play the Seahawks at Candlestick Park.
Win or lose, the 49ers are not likely to finish as division champions. Seattle can retain the NFC West lead even with a defeat at Candlestick. And the Seahawks have a cake schedule the rest of the way (at New York Giants, home against Arizona and St. Louis).
But if the 49ers do win Sunday, it will be a marker and a statement and a big fat Facebook post on the “Friends Of Vince Lombardi Trophy” page.