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Hall of Fame semifinalist Bryant Young loves watching 49ers this season

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AP

Hall of Fame semifinalist Bryant Young loves watching 49ers this season

Bryant Young left a lasting impact on the 49ers as one of the best players to ever wear the uniform.

There has never been an individual who earned more respect from his teammates, as exemplified by the eight times he was chosen as the winner of the 49ers’ top honor, the Len Eshmont Award for courageous and inspirational play.

Young last week was announced as a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time, making it to the final 25 modern-era candidates for the Class of 2020.

Upon his retirement and being carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates at the conclusion of the 2007 season, Young’s uniform No. 97 was not worn by another 49ers player for a decade.

Now, No. 97 is back making an impact, and Young is excited to see rookie defensive end Nick Bosa wearing the number with distinction.

“It’s kind of weird seeing it flash across the screen,” Young said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “But I tell you what, he’s representing that number really well and doing a good job in his first year. I’m proud of the job he’s doing with that number.”

Young is the 49ers' all-time sacks leader with 89.5. Bosa has eight sacks in his first NFL season with four games remaining on the regular-season schedule.

But Young was never about numbers, and that perspective is part of what made him special -- on and off the field.

“It’s not the number that makes the person, it’s the person that makes the number,” Young said. “To be able to wear that number for so many years, I hope people remember the person more than they remember the number, and the person and what he did in the community. The person, in terms of how he treated people in the organization and the community.

"And, then, the person as a player.”

Young coached for several seasons after his retirement as a player. He stepped away from his position as defensive line coach of the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason to spend more time with family in Charlotte, N.C.

He still follows the only NFL organization for which he played. And, of course, he pays particularly close attention to the play of the 49ers’ defensive line.

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“You see things, the chemistry that they have, they understand situational football, and guys are competing from snap to whistle, and that’s really fun to see,” Young said.

“From a fan perspective, it’s really fun to see the Niners are doing a really good job and everybody’s engaged, and it’s fun. And you feel that excitement in the air. They’re fun to watch. You understand from a coach’s standpoint, they have a good group of guys that have been assimilated on that field that really care about each other and play for each other.”

49ers-Packers odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks in NFL playoff game

49ers-Packers odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks in NFL playoff game

With the 49ers' Week 12 thrashing of the Packers in mind, Vegas oddsmakers have made San Francisco heavy favorites over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Back on Nov. 24, the 49ers took it to Aaron Rodgers and Co., beating the Packers 37-8.

But Sunday's game at Levi's Stadium isn't setting up to be as easy for the 49ers. The Packers are rolling, having won six straight games dating back to the regular season.

Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and he will want to avenge that 29-point drubbing from earlier in the season.

But the 49ers' defense is fully healthy with Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt all ready to go for the NFC title game.

The winner gets a trip to Miami for Super Bowl LIV, where the winner of the Titans-Chiefs AFC Championship Game will await them.

It's going to be a classic under the bright lights in Santa Clara.

[RELATED: How to watch 49ers-Packers]

LINE

Caesars: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Consensus: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Westgate: 49ers -7.5 (-110)
Wynn: 49ers -7 (-120)

PREDICTIONS

Nick Wagoner, ESPN.com: 49ers 30, Packers 20
Rob Demovsky, ESPN.com: Packers 28, 49ers 27
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Packers 24, 49ers 21
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: 49ers 28, Packers 13
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: 49ers 30, Packers 26
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Packers 27, 49ers 26

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.

49ers vs. Packers live stream: How to watch NFL playoff game online, on TV

49ers vs. Packers live stream: How to watch NFL playoff game online, on TV

The 49ers have a golden opportunity to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013.

With a win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at Levi's Stadium, the 49ers would head to Miami for Super Bowl LIV to take on the winner of the Titans-Chiefs AFC Championship Game.

San Francisco opened as seven-point favorites, but that number has risen to -7.5 in recent days.

Injuries hampered the 49ers for most of the season, but they will enter the game against the Packers with a clean bill of health. Similarly, the Packers only have one player listed on their injury report.

Back in Week 12, the 49ers thrashed the Packers, 37-8, in Santa Clara. But no one is expecting San Francisco to cakewalk over Green Bay this time.

In that Nov. 24 matchup, vaunted 49ers defense held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 198 yards of total offense. Rodgers completed 20 of 33 passes for just 104 yards. San Francisco will need another performance like that if they want to play on Sunday, Feb. 2 in sunny Florida.

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch vs. Packers]

Here's how to watch the 49ers-Packers NFC Championship Game:

When: Sunday, Jan. 19 at 6:40 p.m. ET/3:40 p.m. PT
TV: FOX
Stream: FoxSports.com

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.