San Francisco 49ers president Jed York famously guaranteed a playoff appearance for his team last season.
That one did not work out so well. York was back at it Monday.
"We're going to win the division," York told ESPN's Adam Schefter one day after the 49ers fell to 0-5.
Good for York, but why stop there? Let's go ahead and anoint Alex Smith as Super Bowl MVP and Mike Singeltary as coach of the year. Let's rank Jimmy Raye ahead of Jon Gruden as the hottest head-coaching candidate for 2011. Oh, and don't forget about York himself. He's the clear favorite for NFL executive of the year.
Back to reality.
Every other team in the NFC West has at least two victories. Let's assume one of the other three finishes at least 7-9 (Arizona can get there by going 4-7 the rest of the way). The 49ers would have to go 7-4 from this point forward and win a tiebreaker to claim the division title. It will not be easy. A trip to London and a home game against an Oakland team that will not have to travel leaves San Francisco with only six games featuring a full-blown home-field advantage. The 49ers are already 0-2 in those games. They'll need to win every home game against division opponents and start getting some breaks, too.
York might be trying to take the spotlight away from his team. He probably wouldn't say such a thing lightly. And why not say it? The 49ers have nothing to lose at this point, although I'm sure the other NFC West coaches appreciate the bulletin-board material.
With the NFC West in some disarray despite Arizona's 3-2 record, York could wind up being right. Tennessee went from 0-6 to 8-8 last season. At a certain point, however, most teams become what their record says they are, not what isolated stats or sequences define as a team's potential. The 49ers are getting closer to that point.