When the 49ers moved into Levi’s Stadium they hoped they’d be participants in Super Bowl 50. Instead, they were forced to watch the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers on their home turf Sunday.
Now that this year’s Big Game is over, it doesn’t look all that likely they’ll be participants in Super Bowl LI, either. According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook odds released Sunday night after the Broncos’ victory, the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are co-favorites, at 8-1 odds, to get to the next Super Bowl on Feb. 5, 2017 at NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant Stadium) in Houston.
Their odds to get to the NFL’s championship game are 60-1, which ranks as No. 31 in a 32-team league. The only team below San Francisco is Cleveland, at 200-1.
The 49ers, coming off a 5-11 season and the firing of head coach Jim Tomsula after just one season, have fallen a long way in three seasons. Back in September of 2013 the 49ers were headed into a new season as co-favorites to reach the Super Bowl at 6-1, along with the Broncos. And last season the Niners were given 25-1 odds right after the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the 49th Super Bowl, tied for seventh in the NFL.
As David Fucillo of SB Nation noted Sunday night after the Broncos-Panthers game, the 49ers have hired a dynamic offensive head coach in Chip Kelly, “but it has not done much for their perceived chances.”
Also having a little something to do with it, of course, are the questions about quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s future, an offensive line with several holes and whether a suspect defense can get better and stop the Seahawks, Cardinals and Rams offenses in the rugged NFC West in 2016.
In Kelly’s first year with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, he turned them from a 4-12 team in 2012 to a 10-6 team. Can he perform another miracle in 2016?
Right now, a 10-6 record for the 49ers would feel like reaching the Super Bowl after a horrible 2015.