Matt & Mindi: 49ers stick with run game, earn trip to Super Bowl
Because the 49ers waived Billy Cundiff last Friday, he is not eligible to return for the Super Bowl. (AP)
ATLANTA -- The 49ers signed Billy Cundiff on Jan. 1 to compete with struggling kicker David Akers for the right to kick in the playoffs.
But after the team waived Cundiff on Friday, he is no longer an option for the Super Bowl, a league source confirmed.
The reason is because the 49ers are not allowed to recall Cundiff. It's the same reason that once the 49ers waived running back Brandon Jacobs after the regular season, he was ineligible to play for any team in the playoffs. Once the regular season ends, waiver claims are not filled until after the Super Bowl.
Cundiff was signed after Akers missed two field-goal attempts in the regular-season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Akers missed 13 of his 42 field-goal attempts during the season.
On Sunday, Akers hit the left upright on a 38-yard attempt with 5:44 remaining in the third quarter. The 49ers trailed 24-21 at the time. They went on to a 28-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC Championship Game and move on to the Super Bowl.
"It's a game of inches, one way or the other," Akers told the Bay Area News Group. "I struck the ball well, and it clangs on top of the goal post. If you figure that one out, let me know."
When asked if he expects to kick for the 49ers in the Super Bowl, Akers answered, "I'm here until they tell me otherwise."
Akers has one season remaining on the three-year contract he signed in August 2011. He is scheduled in 2013 to make $3 million, a figure that seems too high for the 49ers to pay.
The top available kicker is probably Neil Rackers, a 13-year veteran who was among those who tried out for the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago. The Seahawks signed Ryan Longwell to replace injured kicker Steven Hauschka. The 49ers awarded Cundiff a contract after he tried out, along with free-agent kicker Justin Medlock.
From Belfast, Ireland: What's the deal with Jenkins? Chad Hall gets his number called before A.J.? (@Redsmally)
There's one reason, and one reason only.
The coaches believe Chad Hall, promoted from the practice squad on Saturday, is a better receiver right now than Jenkins, the team's first-round draft pick. That does not paint a positive picture for Jenkins' development in his first NFL season.
Jenkins, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 30 overall pick, did not catch a pass in his entire rookie season. He played in just four games. When the season opened, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, Randy Moss and Ted Ginn each ranked ahead of Jenkins on the depth chart.
And, now, Hall has moved ahead of Jenkins, who suited up for Sunday's NFC Championship Game but did not play.
Jenkins has been with the 49ers for the entire offseason program and training camp. Hall (5-foot-8, 187 pounds) was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 27, and he has already surpassed Jenkins. Hall had one pass thrown his way, but Falcons safety William Moore deflected it and Hall could not hold on.
Are the 49ers wearing red or white in the Super Bowl? (@mastersafara)
It's the NFC champion's turn to be the home team and, therefore, have its choice of wearing its colored or white jersey, according to the NFL.
And the 49ers always wear their red uniforms at home, so the 49ers will be decked out in red in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, Feb. 3, at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Each member of the winning team will earn $88,000, while the losing team members will get paid $44,000 apiece.