Different teams around the league will have different expectations year-in and year-out. For instance, new Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid isn't expected to lead the Chiefs to an AFC West crown in 2013, nor do the Jacksonville Jaguars have a "Super Bowl or bust" mentality from year to year.
But the goal is still to get to the big game and win it all. The goal is to have a team that is equipped to win each and every time it takes the field, even if they don't manage it every time.
The San Francisco 49ers came so very close to accomplishing their goal this season. On top of that, they came close to meeting their expectations as well, which were set as high as the goal thanks to two consecutive seasons in the NFC Championship game.
Every single season, the goal is to go out there and win that game. A lot went wrong for the 49ers in Super Bowl 47 and as much as we usually hear things like "don't base things on a single game," this was the game.
And the 49ers lost.
The roster was built to win, the coaching staff selected to help prep the roster for a win, the front office assembled to make sure every aspect of the team operations operate without a hitch.
It's my opinion that taking a look at the Super Bowl - and the Super Bowl alone - is not an altogether inappropriate thing with which to base our needs. We know that the current roster can make it into the playoffs and we know these guys can do some damage once there.
So it's all about fine tuning those little things to actually win the game. We've already looked at what went wrong in the Super Bowl and honestly, couldn't we directly translate that to our needs?
Donte Whitner, Chris Culliver, Carlos Rogers, Randy Moss, Anthony Davis, Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks ... these are all players who struggled to some degree or another in the Super Bowl. And honestly, don't they all highlight at least something of a need, or at the very least, a problem area?
Whitner's struggles are obvious: he's a liability in coverage and the 49ers unquestionably need a safety to replace him. Culliver still makes bone-headed plays and Rogers slowed down nearer the end of the game, and clearly the 49ers need another body or even two bodies at the cornerback position.
Moss shouldn't be anywhere near starting. San Francisco shot themselves in the foot by allowing him into that position. Davis is the weakest aspect of the offensive line at this point and though he had a good season, he was abused in the Super Bowl, beaten by a bull-rush, as we know his weakness is. (To clarify: I am noting Davis' struggles as an issue, not a team need. You can bet the 49ers will be trying to get him to improve against the bull rush this offseason).
Smith, when limited, makes the entire pass rush ineffective. We know that Smith's replacement will be needed sooner rather than later. That's a need. As for Brooks, he's the one that doesn't necessarily need to be replaced, but his tendency to go offsides constantly hurts the 49ers. It's an area of concern.
My point is that the 49ers' actual, factual team needs were perfectly illustrated in the Super Bowl. It sucks to see it all happen like that but now we know what the problem is and the proof is right there on the tape, of the most important game any team could ever play.
Food for thought.