During the disappointing 2010 season, San Francisco 49ers fans had a cross to bear in the form of erratic head coach Mike Singletary, known for sporting his own wooden cross, prominently dangled around his neck. Countless flubs wrecked the Niners' once-promising prospects for a berth in the playoffs, but the buck stopped with Singletary, who — despite his deserved renown for his years as a Chicago Bears linebacker — couldn't seem to set the team on a winning course. Candlestick Park patrons now have reason for optimism. In a coup, the 49ers have managed to snag wildly successful Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh to take the helm. Cold-eyed realists might observe that Harbaugh's success will hinge to some extent on his players' talent — and particularly the team's apparent lack of a competent quarterback — but hey, the preseason is all about great expectations (that is, if there isn't a strike).
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