BY Art Thiel 12:25PM 06/16/2014

49ers’ TE Davis: NFC title game was the best

Vernon Davis, 49ers’ premier tight end, writes in MMQB why he plans to hold out, why NFC Championship game was best ever, and why Russell Wilson is best QB.

Signing autographs at 49ers camp, TE Vernon Davis thinks Russell Wilson is the best opposing QB he’s seen. / Wiki Commons

Making headlines for a potential holdout this week, 49ers TE Vernon Davis also shared his thoughts about two Seahawks-related topics. The drama-pickled NFC Championship, even though the Niners lost, was the best game he’s played in, and his No. 1 opponent quarterback is Seattle’s Russell Wilson.

Writing in for vacationing Sports Illustrated writer Peter King, Davis, a two-time Pro Bowler who had a career-high 16.3 yards per catch last season, said of his impending holdout — as with Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, Davis has a valid, once-premier contract that now seems ordinary relative to the market — that he wants and deserves more money.

“It’s all about getting paid what you deserve,” he wrote. “It’s not that complicated. I want the 49ers to win the Super Bowl, and I want to be on the field this summer working toward that goal, but I have to worry about my future first.

“Most of my teammates and many players in the NFL understand that. A few don’t. Behind closed doors, they’ll say they’re all about the team and would run through a brick wall for the organization. But when you look closer, they’re doing things to contradict themselves.”

Those comments also contradict what Davis told other media sources, in which he claimed he would show up Tuesday the the start of the Niners’ three-day mini-camp. We’ll find out shortly how accurate a writer he is.

Meanwhile, under the headline, “Best Game I Ever Played In” Davis, at 30 an eight year vet, concurred with many in Seattle who thought the Jan. 19 epic at the Clink, won by Seattle 23-17, was a cut above the best football:

As athletes, we like to say we’ve moved on entirely from losses, pouring focus into next season. Often, that’s not true. Every once in a while, while I’ve been traveling this summer or working out or spending time with my family, I think about that NFC Championship Game against Seattle—the one Richard Sherman correctly described as the real Super Bowl.

A few things I remember:

  • I’ve never sweated so much in a football game.
  • I’ve never heard so much trash talk in a football game.
  • I’ve never been more optimistic that we were going to get the job done as I was on that last drive.

You know what happened, of course; Sherman tipped Colin Kaepernick’s end zone attempt to Michael Crabtree, turning it into a game-winning interception. Kudos to the Seahawks, who won a Super Bowl with a defense that isn’t as simple as the players like to boast. I don’t know how they went about trying to stop the rest of their opponents, but they spent a lot of effort mixing up coverages against us.

But that’s not what stands out to me about that game. I think about the final play, and all the talk that followed it. Did Kaepernick make a bad throw, or a bad decision? Is Sherman lucky or good? My answers: Sherman is good. And Kaepernick made the right call, no matter the outcome. He took a shot. He put his trust in his No. 1 receiver. Sometimes they make the plays, sometimes they don’t. But in those moments you have to have faith that your guy is going to pull it down.

It was, and remains, a devastating finish. But I think it made Crabtree and Kaepernick stronger. Anytime you fall into a situation where stuff doesn’t go the way you expected, where you know you should’ve made a play but you didn’t, it makes you go correct it. With experience comes growth.

It’s exhausting to make it two years in a row and not finish. I hope my younger teammates realize that you can’t take the opportunity for granted. Whenever you get to play in a Super Bowl or a championship game, you have to win because you might not ever get it again. The window of opportunity is as small as a pea. Teams start to break up, players get old. You just have to seize the moment.

Davis also said Wilson vaults ahead of more experienced and heralded quarterbacks as the best QB in the NFL right now — other than his guy, Colin Kaepernick. The high praise from a foe:

I think among the 31 NFL quarterbacks who don’t throw me passes, Russell Wilson is the best. He’s got all the tools; he has the ability to keep the play alive, and he’s very accurate with a strong arm. He exemplifies what it takes to be a winning QB in the NFL. If you asked me to choose based on record and experience, I’d take Tom Brady or Peyton Manning—but in terms of right now, my pick is Wilson.



  • jafabian

    I’ve enjoyed Davis’ comments on his opponents, especially regarding the Hawks. His POV has always been fair and unbiased as well as well thought out. He has a career as an analyst or maybe even a columnist ahead of him. That being said, I’d love for the Hawks to go after him. He’s a great player and to take away a division rival’s better players would be a coup. Plus he’s a solid citizen. I expect him to eventually re-sign with the 49ers though.

    • art thiel

      Like Lynch, he’s not going anywhere. I don’t blame him for trying to leverage his position, but holdouts have no leverage under the latest CBA — except to retire.

  • tedsfrozenhead

    He will resign with the 49ers soon enough but he would look great in a Seattle uniform. A bit to expensive for us but it’s a nice daydream. He is one of the best in the game and I enjoyed reading his MMQB piece

    • art thiel

      Smart guy a wonderful player.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Always thought that V.Davis was a class act…and thus did not fit the whole being a 49er mold. My goodness …I am sure he will get wheelbarrows full of grief from the Kaepernick crowd. Colin is twice the QB Wilson is blah blah blah. Both QBs have been to the Superbowl but there is only one winner and Davis speaks truth. Good for him to have the guts to say exactly whats on his mind even though most of the world was aware of this little tidbit from the 49 er tight end. I wish our crowded TE position did have room for him.He is still quite a ballplayer. Maybe in the twilight of his career he will do like Kevin Williams just did. Sign up to be on board the Seahawk train. I think this ballclub will be right there for the next 6~7 years with Wilson calling the signals. It boggles the mind what Russ has accomplished in a mere 2 years in the league with it almost a given that he will become BETTER.This Sea~49er rivalry will also give much entertainment. Look for more classics to come like last years NFC championship match~up. Its good to be a Hawk fan.

    • art thiel

      He exempted Kaep by prefacing his remarks by saying he was the best. Wilson tops the other 31 starters. Davis is too smart to commit career suicide.