The 49ers became the first team in 2022 to clinch their division on Thursday. Winning seven straight games is impressive in its own right. But, winning seven straight games while starting your third QB on the season is downright magical.
Kyle Shanahan now has back-to-back winning and playoff seasons under his belt for the first time during his 49ers tenure. You can argue this season is more impressive than rebounding from a 3-5 start to reach the NFC championship game in 2021.
49ers fans are on cloud nine this morning. Not only did the 49ers clinch the division, but they also clinched in Seattle, which has been a house of horrors. Winning the division is the first step toward the ultimate goal.
In a year of busting narratives for Shanahan, there remains the final narrative.
Winning the Super Bowl.
Shanahan and the front office have loaded this roster, built a winning culture, and returned the 49ers to a year-in, year-out contender. The final step is winning the big game.
Thirty-one teams ultimately lose out on being Super Bowl winners each year. Finishing the job is a combination of talent, coaching, and luck. Yes, luck. Teams that were dominant all season fall in the playoffs, while teams that sneak into the dance make runs at the Lombardi.
I only bring this up to highlight how difficult winning the Super Bowl is.
Let’s take it a step further. There are seven active head coaches with a Super Bowl victory.
Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin, Sean McVay, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, Mike McCarthy, and Doug Pederson complete the list.
Belichick is the GOAT, but his first championship came in his seventh season as a head coach. Reid won his title much later in his career. He also has two losses on his resume. Tomlin won his title and lost to McCarthy. Mike McCarthy? Yeah. Harbaugh has never returned. Carroll won his Lombardi but also lost one to Belichick. McVay got his last season but lost to Belichick.
Every coach’s journey is different. Some win early on in their career and then never get close. I’m looking at you, Barry Switzer, and John Gruden.
No matter the outcome of this season for the 49ers, Shanahan has silenced the critics. His tenure will last much longer, barring something unforeseen.
Is Kyle Shanahan the coach to lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl? Yes. Trust the process.