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Speaking of not highly publicized, league commissioners from North America’s four major sports have been giving testimony over the last month or so, in an attempt to prohibit the state of New Jersey from allowing sports betting. Some of it is mind boggling. When MLB commissioner Bud Selig was asked if baseball fans bet on baseball games or not, he responded with, “I don’t know whether they do or they don’t.” Selig was then asked if people bet on baseball legally in Las Vegas. His response: “That would surprise me greatly.” A senior lawyer for the NFL, Lawrence Ferazani Jr., claimed that he was not aware that some fans play fantasy football for money. Selig echoed the same sentiment about fantasy baseball. Are these guys liars or have they just been living under a rock? NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also gave testimony recently and proclaimed that, “gambling is the most pernicious scourge out there because it can create a perception of fixed games.” Really Gary? Last time we checked, NHL games are offered by provincially run lotteries in all the provinces but we don't hear you squawking about that.
Steelers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games on fieldturf.
Steelers are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 games following a S.U. loss.
Steelers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Steelers are 3-1-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Steelers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
Steelers are 8-3-2 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game.
Steelers are 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games following a ATS loss.
Steelers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games.
Smith hurt, Kaepernick in, Kaepernick explodes vs. the Bears on Monday Night Football, Harbaugh gives the job to Kaepernick. You can look at it and quite logically judge that this all happened sort of randomly. (Even if we can figure that Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke were planning for Kaepnerick to take the job in 2013.)
Except… I think the timing also set up perfectly for Harbaugh to make a quicker call on Kaepernick.
I think if Smith had suffered the concussion a week or two later there might not have been enough time to fully immerse Kaepernick into the position before tonight’s playoff pre-cursor vs. the Patriots.
But Smith got hurt when he did and I think Harbaugh saw immediately last month: There’s enough time, let’s do it.
At the moment of Smith’s injury, Harbaugh looked at the upcoming schedule and saw…
Immediately after the landmark Chicago game, the 49ers had back-to-back road games against New Orleans and St. Louis (good tests for Kaepernick vs. crowd noise in domes) and then a home game vs. Miami (see what he’s like back on comfortable turf).
Then the big two, starting tonight in Foxboro: At New England (needs to go score for score with Tom Brady, in cold weather), then at Seattle (in the toughest crowd conditions the 49ers face, also probably in weather, against the 49ers’ bitterest division rivals).
Basically, I think Harbaugh saw a chance to give Kaepernick a solid four-game run-up to this point (2 at home, 2 on the road), just enough for Harbaugh and Greg Roman to feel comfortable that they’re not recklessly throwing Kaepernick out there without seasoning.
Tonight, Kaepernick will have to counter Bill Belichick’s defensive schemes. Great test, obviously. As true a pre-playoff challenge as you can get.