49ers' Joe Staley on win over Giants: 'Just as good' as winning NFC championship
After nine straight weeks of losing, the 49ers finally have reason to celebrate
One team's soul-crushing defeat is another team's uplifting moment. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the New York Giants to improve to ... 1-9 on the season. But it isn't just any win for 49ers tackle Joe Staley, one of only three players remaining on the 49ers roster from the 2012 team that made it to the Super Bowl.
"I've been part of a lot of wins with this franchise over the 11 years I've been here," Staley said via the Mercury News. "This win felt just as good as winning the NFC championship.
"I mean, it was unbelievable," he said. "Because I know how close this team is. On the outside looking in, we're 0-9 and a young team. Not everybody sees what we see in the locker room. They don't understand how close we are. No one has ever wavered. No one has ever pointed fingers. We've all just buckled down. That's a tribute to Kyle [Shanahan] and the leadership group that he brought in."
Kyle Shanahan's first year as head coach has hardly gone according to plan, but Rome wasn't built in a day. The 49ers are yet to play Jimmy Garoppolo, whom they acquired at the trade deadline, and the team is steeped in youth. Staley didn't play against the Cardinals the week before this game, after having fractured his orbital bone in Week 8. The Giants never sacked quarterback C.J. Beathard, who was sacked five times against the Cardinals.
The 49ers might not be going anywhere this year, but their veteran leadership has bought in to their head coach's vision. With that in mind, young players will follow. Heading into 2018, the 49ers have have a first-round pick that will be near the top of the draft, two second-round picks and two third-round picks in the NFL Draft. And they don't even have to worry about selecting a quarterback. Although the past two years have been, to be frank, catastrophic for the 49ers, there is definitely some cause for hope in San Francisco.
Even though it might seem sad that an 11-year tackle is comparing going 1-9 to going to the Super Bowl, at least the team still cares. It sounds silly, because it is, but losing is a hard culture to shake. And it's even harder when you've dealt with the turnover in coaching that the 49ers have since Jim Harbaugh went to Michigan. Shanahan may be the guy that turns the ship around, but only time will tell.
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