SAN FRANCISCO -- The excitement has returned to Bay Area, and nobody has sensed that more than a former 49ers standout with local roots."It's been tremendous, to be honest," said former 49ers tight end Brent Jones on Saturday, just hours before the team's divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.
"I probably have a different perspective than a lot of guys because I was born and raised here. So I know what it's been like for eight or nine years, to have the fall not be abuzz with talk about football and the 49ers. My girls were going nuts because I brought them to the Steelers game. Almost from the time they were 8, 10, until now, there has been no excitement around the team. So we've almost missed a whole generation."So to have the 49ers have this magical season has been spectacular. And, literally, you can't go anywhere without people talking about it, being excited about it. It's the store, it's Starbucks, it's the gas station. Everybody is saying, 'Can you believe Alex Smith?' Or, 'Jim Harbaugh!' How remarkable it is that he's turning it around in this one year. Everybody's talking, 'Can (Michael) Crabtree step up?' People are talking about our defense. There's so many components and storylines, it's just made this season a blast." The field at Candlestick Park is damp, but should be completely dry for game time. Saints coach Sean Payton walked out onto the field three hours before kickoff, and was pleased with the conditions. It should be a fast track.