Need more proof that the 49ers-Saints thriller from last year’s playoffs was an all-time classic? After the contest earned the fans’ vote as the Game of the Year at the ESPYs, NFL.com recently called the memorable matchup the top contest from the 2011 season. In all, the 49ers took part in four tilts included in NFL.com’s Top 20 NFL Games of 2011 series.
NFL.com analyst Elliot Harrison broke down the 49ers-Saints matchup and wrote, “This was the game everyone remembers most. Of the 50 or so people I talked to about games from last season, this was the contest that always came up. Much like our No. 1 game of 2010, this one was easily discernible from the rest.”
Find out which other games made the Top-20 cut and see who Alex Smith and Jerry Rice are teeing off with in today’s first round of the American Century Golf Classic. Those stories and more after the jump.
NFL.com also ranked the heartbreaking NFC Championship game as the No. 3 game of the year in 2011, while the 49ers-Cowboys Week 2 matchup checked in at No. 9 and the 49ers-Giants Week 10 regular season contest ranked at No. 18.
Smith was reunited with his college coach Urban Meyer on the golf course today along with Packers LB A.J. Hawk for the first round of the American Century Golf Classic. Rice, meanwhile, was paired with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Cowboys QB Tony Romo. Click here to view the full pairings for Friday’s first round. NFL.com also put together a photo gallery of NFL stars on the golf course.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offered his analysis of the 49ers roster heading into training camp. Maiocco: “Defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs and receiver Joe Hastings are examples of players who arrived at 49ers training camp a year ago with little or no fanfare and eventually earned roster spots. Rookies are scheduled to report to training camp in Santa Clara on Saturday, and each will have a chance to climb the depth chart to stick with the team this season in some form.”
Craig Massei of Scout.com discussed the quarterbacks for each team in the NFC West. Massei: “After finishing ninth among NFL quarterbacks last year with a career-best 90.7 passer rating, Smith enters training camp this year as the clear starter, particularly after standing out amongst his competition during a strong spring during which Harbaugh continually praised Smith’s progress.”
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LaMichael James and the rest of the 49ers rookie class are set to report to team headquarters on Saturday.
Tags: Alex Smith, Jerry Rice
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