Bleacher Report went through each NFL team to determine what their biggest distraction would be for the 2020 regular season. Unlike the last offseason, the San Francisco 49ers don’t have questions surrounding their starting quarterback coming off a season-ending knee injury. The wide receiver and cornerback positions are unproven, but the talent is evident in both groups. George Kittle is going to get paid, which is probably why the national media isn’t making a bigger store about Kittle’s possible extension.
So what will distract the 49ers this season? Bleacher Report believes it’ll be the classic “Super Bowl hangover.” Here is their blurb:
As is the case for the Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers will have to deal with the dreaded Super Bowl hangover in 2020. In their case, though, they’ll be trying to come back from a disappointing late-game loss on the NFL’s biggest stage.
“It shouldn’t be a problem,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said, per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk. “We’ll lick our wounds; we’ll get over this. We’ll be fired up for next year.”
While 49ers fans should appreciate Shanahan’s optimism, history suggests that bouncing back could be a bit of a problem. Only eight teams have gotten back to the championship game the year after losing it during the Super Bowl era. Three of those teams were the 1991-93 Bills.
Only three teams have gotten back to the Super Bowl the year after a loss and won.
The fact that San Francisco lost Super Bowl LIV—and the manner in which it lost—is going to follow the team throughout 2020.
Teams struggle to return to the Super Bowl in back-to-back years for various reasons.
The 2017 Philadelphia Eagles saw Nick Foles get red-hot and a defense that made timely turnovers. Foles couldn’t recapture the same magic the following season, and injuries depleted a Philly roster, and the Eagles won eight games. The 2018 Rams looked as if they were going to be a dynasty and the team to beat in the NFC for the next handful of years. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley were clicking on all cylinders en route to a 13-3 Super Bowl appearance. The Patriots gave the blueprint on how to slow Sean McVay and Goff down, and the following year Gurley’s health and the Rams inconsistencies on both sides of the ball plagued them so much in the early part of the season that it was too little too late to make a playoff push.
Luck and injuries are always the two biggest parts of the game we overlook when making projections. Both are inevitable. It’s a matter of how hard both hit you. The 49ers aren’t entering 2019 relying on a running back with an injury history or an offense that’s in trouble when its quarterback has to make plays under pressure. We’re probably too high on the Niners, but when you look at the schedule, the talent returning, and which players are likely to take a jump forward, it’s difficult to pick against San Francisco.