Programming note: Off to San Francisco

We're just about there. Only one more day until San Francisco 49ers fans find out whether their team is headed for the Super Bowl against Baltimore or New England.

I'll be traveling from the icy Northwest to the rainy San Francisco Bay Area a bit later Saturday.

Those looking for some day-before-game reading might want to check out Jeff Chadiha's piece on 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.

The way Chadiha sees things, finding the right environment for a quarterback can be tougher than finding the right quarterback. I recall Steve Young voicing a similar opinion in 2007 when asked to rate the prospects for various young quarterbacks.

Back then, the personnel people I polled thought Jay Cutler was headed for stardom, in part because they envisioned him developing under Mike Shanahan for years to come. They weren't convinced on Eli Manning. The 49ers' Smith wasn't even on their radar.

Times change.