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49ers ride the “pretender” wave all the way to Super Bowl LIV

Feb 1, 2020 at 9:24 AM


Not a lot of people, including the biggest believers of the San Francisco 49ers, predicted that the team would make it to the Super Bowl in 2020. Vegas gave the 49ers 30/1 odds that they would win the Super Bowl before the season began.

When the season started, the 49ers were underdogs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals ended up being the worst team in the league, and the Buccaneers finished with a losing record.

Even when the 49ers extended their winning streak to four, five and eventually eight games, the team still had its doubters. National pundits, like Ryan Clark, called the 49ers "pretenders" because they had an "easy schedule" to start the year and Jimmy Garoppolo was a liability.

Other members of the national media, including Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, sang a similar tune and undermined the 49ers' success the entire year.

Despite the hate, the 49ers flourished proving doubters wrong every step of the way. Tyrann Matheiu, a notable player the 49ers will face in Super Bowl LIV, is included as one of those doubters. In a response to a tweet on October 31, 2019 from Gil Brandt, who acknowledged the 49ers for holding opponents to 100 or fewer passing yards, Matheiu said, "who the hell they been playing against".

Fast forward the script and the 49ers finished the regular season at 13-3, making this their best season since 2011. They made the playoffs after a five-year drought, and will be playing against Matheiu's Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

Even after their 13-3 season, pundits continued to doubt the 49ers throughout the playoffs. Victories ensued in those games, including against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17 and two blowout wins against the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round and NFC Championship Game, respectively.

And now the San Francisco 49ers have made it to the Super Bowl, against all odds and doubters. Yet, there is still a feeling that the 49ers have "pretended" all the way to football's biggest stage.

The Kansas City Chiefs, who represent the AFC, are the favorite to win the Super Bowl this weekend in Miami. The national media has glorified Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, and has said that the 49ers will have a hard time stopping him and the Chiefs' offense.

They continue to take shots at Jimmy Garoppolo by saying that he pales in comparison to Mahomes, and that the 49ers allowed him to pass eight times in the NFC Championship because he is a liability.

Not only does Garoppolo have his doubters, but the San Francisco 49ers as a team still has them. And that may just be how Jimmy and the 49ers want it.

There is no question that the Kansas City Chiefs are a formidable opponent. They have the NFL's third-best offense led by Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce.

The Chiefs are explosive, fast and can score quickly as they demonstrated against the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round. Down 24-0, the Chiefs scored 51 points in three quarters and beat the Texans 51-31.

But the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl for a reason. They have arguably the most complete team in the NFL when no one expected it.

In retrospect, if you look back to the beginning of the season, the 49ers making it to the Super Bowl is a big surprise. But the San Francisco 49ers might just keep pretending their way to the Lombardi Trophy.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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