Alex Smith Could've Been Better Than Aikman?

Alex Smith Could've Been Better Than Aikman?

In their second NFL seasons, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith had more yards, touchdowns and a higher quarterback rating than did Hall of Famer Troy Aikman.

After their second year in the league, however, circumstances changed dramatically for Smith and Aikman. And their divergent paths involved the same assistant coach.

In Aikman's case, the Cowboys hired Norv Turner as their offensive coordinator in 1991, and the struggling QB began a three-year run with Turner that included three Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl titles. For Smith, who prospered under Turner's guidance in 2006, his career began a steep descent after his offensive coordinator left San Francisco to become the Chargers' head coach.

Five years, three head coaches and five offensive coordinators later, Smith is on the doorstep of the Super Bowl and Aikman, a Fox analyst, will be in the broadcast booth Sunday when the Niners host the Giants in the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park.

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