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Byline: Gary Peterson
IN THE FIRST half-hour of Steve Mariucci's first real day on the job with the 49ers, Jerry Rice blew up his knee and Steve Young was knocked into the Land of "How Many Fingers?"
Mariucci has been on scholarship ever since.
We offer this not as an indictment of Mariucci's reign as 49ers coach. In four seasons he has won 35 of 64 regular-season games. Only George Seifert won more of his first 64 with the team.
Nor is this intended as an unduly apologetic appraisal of Mariucci's tenure. He hasn't turned sludge into wine, as Bill Walsh did 20 years ago. Nor has he shown the aptitude for autopilot that Seifert did in the eight years post-Walsh.
What Mariucci has done is produce numbers strikingly similar to those of …