The 49ers play in their sixth NFC championship in 12 seasons on Sunday in Philadelphia. Considering the drought of playoff appearances between the Jim Harbaugh era and the Kyle Shanahan era, it is a mind-boggling stat.
The 2022 season has had no shortage of storylines. From Trey Lance being named the starter, Jimmy Garoppolo’s return, Lance and Garoppolo’s season-ending injuries, and the emergence of Brock Purdy, this season has been a roller coaster.
October 23rd was the last time the 49ers lost. Twelve straight victories, in every way imaginable, have the team two more victories away from the Lombardi trophy.
Sunday is, by far, the 49ers’ toughest challenge. Not only are the Eagles the most complete team they have faced, but the team will also have to go to Philadelphia for the right to play in the Super Bowl.
Any season in which a team doesn’t win the Super Bowl is a disappointment. Thirty-one teams have this feeling every season. Some teams have a better feeling at the end of the season. For example, a team like the New York Giants has to feel good about what they have accomplished this season. They are building their culture with a new head coach.
What about the 49ers? Brock Purdy was the final pick in the draft and has been a stabilizing figure for the team. What if the team falls short in Philadelphia? Should the season be considered a disappointment?
I previously wrote an article stating that anything less than an appearance in the NFC title game would be a disappointment. My biggest reason was looking around the NFC and its playoff teams. The 49ers are much better than Dallas, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, the Giants, and Seattle.
Philadelphia always would be the biggest hurdle to climb. 49ers fans will be disappointed regardless of any result that isn’t holding up the Lombardi. While I agree to a certain extent, it’s hard not to look at this season as a success.
I wouldn’t deem this season disappointing if the 49ers lose on Sunday (I’m picking the 49ers to win). In fact, it is a success as the culture is intact, and the entire locker room is “bought in.” Having a stable and winning culture in place makes San Francisco an attractive place to play.
Regardless of the outcome in 2022, the 49ers are headed in the right direction.
Would a loss on Sunday be a disappointment?
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