Getting to the Super Bowl even once for a team is hard. Going back again and again – as the New England Patriots have done nine times since February of 2002 – is incredibly difficult.
So the 49ers are no lock to return to the Super Bowl in the 2020 season after going 13-3 and winning the NFC championship and then losing to Kansas City in LIV to finish the 2019 season.
Injuries, luck and the parity of the league can torpedo teams that appear set for a long run of success. Just look at the Rams of 2018, who went 13-3 and looked like an offensive juggernaut only to stumble in 2019 and miss the postseason at 9-7. As analyst Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report recently wrote, a team’s window for a Super Bowl “can close as quickly as it opens.”
But Davenport believes the Niners are better positioned for a long run of success than the Rams. He ranks San Francisco No. 3, behind only Kansas City and Baltimore, as set up for many winning years to come.
Especially, he writes, because Kyle Shanahan’s team is built on defense with the likes of good young talent such as Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, Arik Armstead, Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.
“Defense is king for the 49ers,” he wrote.
But the offense also is capable of being even better than it was a year ago, he says, built around quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, tight end George Kittle, a deep group of versatile ball carriers led by Raheem Mostert and an emerging corps of wideouts with Deebo Samuel and rookie first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk.
The fact they went so far in 2019 after being just 4-12 in 2018 speaks to their potential.
Wrote Davenport: “Part of being set up for success in the future is showing you can win in the present.”