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ESPN makes the case for a 49ers Super Bowl this season

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Wait — stop laughing. There’s precedent in a miraculous 49ers turnaround. It’s just ... extremely, impossibly unlikely.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers-Press Conference Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about predictions, expectations and ultimately what to expect out of the San Francisco 49ers this coming season. Kyle Shanahan is yet another new head coach and his scheme is difficult to grasp. There’s a new defensive alignment and a ton of rookies on the roster.

It’s a mess of an organization that created the mess from the inside, and it’s trying to pick up and reassemble the pieces. I’m personally a believe in Shanahan, but I think his influence will take time to sink in and it won’t happen overnight.

But realistic expectations and predictions aside, let’s talk Super Bowl, baby!

The 49ers making the Super Bowl in 2017-18 would not be the craziest thing that’s ever happened in the NFL. In fact, one could place them in a very specific tier when it comes to outlandish Super Bowl bids. And that’s just what Bill Barnwell has done over at ESPN.

In a piece that makes a Super Bowl case for every NFL team, the Cleveland Browns are listed first and the 49ers are right after them, under the “1999 St. Louis Rams” tier. It’s the longshotiest of longshots tier, but it’s still a tier, and it’s still a chance. Nobody in their right mind would have picked the Rams of that year to go to the Super Bowl.

But they did.

The 49ers are given the same odds as the Browns and the New York Jets in the piece — not good company to keep overall. In explaining the 49ers’ actual chances, Barnwell doesn’t go in deep, but talks about the 49ers’ untapped potential on the defensive side of the ball, as well as Brian Hoyer and Pierre Garcon’s familiarity with Shanahan’s offense.

There’s almost no chance but I mean .... technically there’s a chance!