Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Eisen: 49ers’ Super Bowl window “open for a nice long time”

Feb 24, 2023 at 12:18 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers have come close to a sixth championship in three of the last four years. They've reached the NFC Championship Game three times and the Super Bowl once. However, each season has ended in heartache for the team and its fans.

Kyle Shanahan's group has proven it can be consistently good, which is what the head coach and general manager John Lynch set out to do when they took over the roster-building process in 2017. Yes, they want to win the organization's sixth Super Bowl championship, but they also wanted to ensure that the 49ers are competitive year in and year out. They have accomplished that.

One well-recognized and respected media personality believes the 49ers' Super Bowl window will be open for a while, and that has a lot to do with what Shanahan and Lynch have accomplished in their six seasons with the team.

"It does appear that they're set in so many positions," Rich Eisen told 95.7 The Game's Ray Ratto and Allen Stiles on Thursday. "Lynch is terrific at the job. I think he and Shanahan work really well together. [49ers CEO] Jed York is thrilled with them. And if there's any coach-GM combination that could survive trading multiple first-round picks to move up to take a quarterback who hardly plays a game, for them, it's these two, as they've made NFC Championship Games, plural, in three of the last four years.

"And they just find so many talented players. I love [LB] Fred Warner, [S Talanoa] Hufanga. Their defensive line is beyond stout. They have the Defensive Player of the Year (DE Nick Bosa) on [the roster]. [WR] Deebo Samuel is transformative. [TE George] Kittle is one of my favorite players I've covered and gotten to meet and know in the 20 years with the NFL. [RB Christian] McCaffrey is now there."

Yes, the 49ers have a lot of players slated to become free agents in less than three weeks. But they also have a lot of talent remaining. In Eisen's opinion, that sets up Shanahan's group to be a legitimate contender for years to come, and their Super Bowl window is not close to closing.

"I think the window is open for a nice long time," Eisen said. "They're young, and they're physical. Nobody wants to really play them. And the question is, What happens when push comes to shove? And in the last two NFC Championship games, push came to shove, and they got pushed around."

The 49ers strongly believe the outcome in this last NFC Championship Game might have been different had their starting rookie quarterback, Brock Purdy, not sustained an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear in his right elbow early in the contest.

"They really thought that what happened to Purdy, getting knocked out, ruined their chances, and thus it really wasn't a fair fight," Eisen continued. "But the reason why Purdy got knocked out is because the Eagles dominated, eviscerated the line. I mean, that's the fact. So if Purdy doesn't get knocked out—as a matter of fact, if he has an extra beat, [WR Brandon] Aiyuk was open on the play in which he hurt his elbow.

"They're right there, and if circumstances are different on two Championship Sundays, maybe they get one of these Super Bowls."

Other than the Kansas City Chiefs, Eisen notes that San Francisco is the only team that has consistently been a legitimate championship contender. He doesn't see that changing in 2023.

"Who would you choose in the NFC next year going in?" Eisen added. "And I'd be hard-pressed to choose someone other than the Niners."

You can listen to the entire interview with Eisen below.

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