The NBA Finals begin Thursday, where the Golden State Warriors will make their sixth finals appearance in the previous eight seasons. The 49ers are no strangers to success, having made the NFC Championship in two of the last three seasons. Still, they have a ways to go to reach the level that Steph Curry and the Dubs have.
Just how often do teams make the conference finals? There have been a few teams that have made eye-opening runs since 2000.
In the AFC, the Chiefs have made four straight. It turns out that Patrick Mahomes guy isn’t too shabby. From 2011 to 2018, the Patriots made eight conference title games in a row. In the early 2000s, New England made five of seven from 2001-to-2007.
In the NFC, the Packers made four of seven from 2014 to 2020. The 49ers went three times in a row during the Harbaugh years from 2011 to 2013. Finally, the Eagles went made four straight conference title games from 2001 to 2004.
During today’s episode of The Shanaplan, Rob and I discussed whether or not the 49ers could make a similar run with Trey Lance, how that’d affect Kyle Shanahan’s legacy, and what factors outside of Lance would it take for San Francisco to pull off that type of run.
Here’s Rob on what a dynasty run would mean for Shanahan:
It depends on how many he wins. Look at Andy Reid. Before he went to the Chiefs, he got to four straight NFC title games with the Eagles, they didn’t win the Super Bowl. People were like, ‘hey, he’s a really good coach.’
He goes to Kansas City and starts making the playoffs every single season. He gets Alex Smith to play better than he’s ever played. He gets a great quarterback, wins a Super Bowl, and now people put him in the top-3 coaches of the league, and rightfully so.
But he’s got to get that championship. Right or wrong, Kyle Shanahan gets blamed for both of his Super Bowl losses. Even though the defense in Atlanta blew a 28-3 lead. Somehow, the offensive coordinator gets the blame. People don’t even know who the Falcons defensive coordinator was that year. That’s how much Shanahan has gotten the blame.
The 49ers would have to win one, and probably more for Shanahan to get to where you’re talking about.
Another part of the conversation asked if you’d take Lance knowing that he’d turn out to be a Donovan McNabb? This is a player who was in the MVP voting and Offensive Player of the Year in his second season. For me, it’s a no-brainer. Easy yes. McNabb has been my comparison for Lance this entire time. I’m expecting a 2022 version of McNabb when the 49ers take the field.
But others see McNabb and remember the guy who was banged up later in his career and didn’t have the same mobility or arm strength. I remember the younger version that was an above-average athlete and wasn’t afraid to fit the ball into tight spaces.
You can listen to the conversation in its entirety below: