It was a marvelous weekend for the San Francisco 49ers as they came from behind to emphatically earn the right to play in this year's Super Bowl.
The NFL's championship, already one of the most hyped events on the planet, received a hype infusion Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens also won, setting up the first Super Bowl to pit head coaches who are brothers. We have no doubt that much more will be said about that in the coming days.
While the 49ers possess a rich history in the National Football League, having won the championship five times, the team has experienced a long dry spell. This will be the first time in 18 years that the 49ers have participated in the Super Bowl.
The team's accomplishments have been engineered by Coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff. In the past two years, they have turned a group of players struggling to be a .500 team into one of the league's elite. The transformation of the franchise in such a short time is nothing short of remarkable.
The 49ers' ascendancy is exciting in its own right, but when one considers the bigger picture, it should make the Bay Area downright giddy.
The San Francisco Giants have won baseball's world championship two of the past three seasons after spending 52 seasons in the Bay Area without a single World Series title.
The Oakland A's last season rose from relative obscurity and mediocrity to fashion a truly improbable and dramatic win of the American League's West Division crown.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors have begun to take on the look of a serious player in the National Basketball Association after years of frustrations for the team's loyal fans. And the San Jose Sharks again have the look of a top contending team in the lockout-shortened season in the National Hockey League.
That is quite a turnaround for the local professional sports scene. Before the Giants' 2010 championship, the landscape here had been barren for a while. We don't mind telling you that we enjoy seeing the local fan base energized.
Aside from this Super Bowl being what has already been dubbed the Har-Bowl because the Harbaugh brothers are going up against each other, there are plenty of compelling stories surrounding it. From the emergence of a near-rookie quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, for the 49ers to the anticipated retirement of Ravens megastar Ray Lewis, we are sure that sports writers will have plenty to write about in the two weeks leading to the Super Bowl.
Of course, the writers have always managed to find plenty of stories to fill the two weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Not to mention bombarding us with every statistic known to man about the two teams.
But this year, most of us are likely to pay much closer attention to it all now that the 49ers appear to have regained the luster of bygone years. We know that we will.