John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports


Super Bowl Hangover Already Sinking In For 49ers

Gilbert Brink
Jul 9, 2020 at 8:40 AM


The last 3 months of our collective lives as Americans has felt like a terrible hangover. 2020 will not be a year many look back on with fond feelings and memories. The nation's hangover started in March, but the 49ers' hangover began on February 2, 2020.

The dreaded Super Bowl hangover is a powerful mythos in the lore of American sports. It doesn't make much logical sense, a team talented enough to reach the Super Bowl shouldn't magically be transformed into a less capable team due simply to the fact they scored fewer points than the opposition on the first Sunday in February. Yet, there are countless examples of this wretched hangover indeed visiting the 2nd best team in football on an annual basis. Look no further than the NFC West to find an example of how ominous the hangover can be. The LA Rams looked to be poised for a dynasty in 2018. With Jared Goff looking like Joe Montana and Sean McVay resembling Bill Walsh, the Rams seemed poised for a decade of dominance. A little over a year later and they're saddled with a below average QB making $33 million a year, a new stadium they can't pay for and past due bills to Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews.

The aforementioned albatross seems to be making itself familiar around 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way. In January I wrote that the 49ers were facing a must-win Super Bowl, this was not a popular opinion. This was not a popular opinion. My thinking then can be attributed to the specter of the Super Bowl hangover. It all begins in the 4th quarter of Super Bowl 54. You all know the story, so let's skip to the fallout. The devastating loss of Super Bowl 54 opened the gates to the insidious demon of doubt. Whether it be the game management of head coach Kyle Shanahan or the overall ability of QB Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers enter into the 2020 season with questions surrounding the two most important pieces of their franchise.

A month later, as free agency approached, John Lynch had to make his toughest decision of his tenure as 49ers GM. The bill came due on numerous 49ers starters being free-agents; WR Emmanuel Sanders, DE Arik Armstead and S Jimmie Ward all were due new contracts and the 49ers didn't have the money for all three. In a creative move, Lynch decided to trade team MVP DT DeForest Buckner to the Colts to free up some cap space to sign both Armstead and Ward while keeping eyes on the draft to find the replacement for Buckner. The 49ers landed their prized DT in the draft with Javon Kinlaw. The impact Kinlaw will have on this team will be determined, but in acquiring him the 49ers lost one of the their very best players and a true leader. The loss of such a presence will be an obstacle to overcome.

As the 49ers were drafting Kinlaw to replace the leader of their defensive line, they were losing the leader of their offensive line. LT Joe Staley has been the stalwart anchor of the offensive line for nearly a decade and a half. From Mike Nolan to Kyle Shanahan, Staley has led the 49ers front five through the dark days and the glorious ones. The 49ers knew they had to replace Staley and they landed a giant man to handle this gargantuan task: LT Trent Williams. Unlike Kinlaw, Williams comes with a long career of excellent play to soften the blow. Similar to Buckner, what Staley brought to the table cannot be replaced simply by talent and ability. Staley was the heart and soul of the franchise on the field and Williams is a newcomer who hasn't played a snap of football since 2018.

The 49ers took a month off from devastating losses in May, but when June came they were right back it. WR Deebo Samuel was a brilliant young player who showed potential to be an unstoppable force for many years to come. However, during a workout with teammates Samuel suffered fracture in his foot, which is the same injury that completely annihilated fellow 49er Trent Taylor's 2019 season. Not far behind him, WR and #1 return specialist Richie James Jr. broke his wrist. A week later the defense joined the party when DB DJ Reed suffered a torn pectoral muscle. At this point, the 49ers pre-gamed a 6 pack and are now doing tequila shots on an empty stomach.

Somehow, we have yet to mention the elephant in the room; there have been no mini-camps, OTAs and it's likely there won't be any pre-season. Young players like WR Brandon Aiyuk and Kinlaw will have limited experience with live reps and acquired veterans like Williams will have little time to develop chemistry with new teammates. While the roster atrophies, word circulates that elite TE George Kittle will be asking for WR money and breakout RB Raheem Mostert is requesting a trade. If any team can pull it together, the Shanahan & Garoppolo-led 49ers can. But for a team that has thrived off of chemistry, acrimony abounds.
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.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers Notebook: Trey Lance assesses first two practices; Ryans praises Lance, Nick Bosa; Richard Sherman predicts 49ers DBs will be 'among the best'

By Kirk Larrabee
Jul 28

Following the 49ers' practice session on Thursday, quarterback Trey Lance spoke publicly for the first time since June while defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans chatted with reporters about what he's seen so far from his side of the ball -- and from the quarterback his defense has been facing. Lance spoke on a number of topics, including what he thought of his first two days of training camp as the team's starter. Ryans offered his views of Lance, as well as what he's seen from some of the key players in the secondary and on the defensive line. Plus, there was an interesting Twitter quote Thursday from former 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who expects to see big things from his former defensive teammates this season. Here's a run-down of all of



49ers RedZone Podcast: Breaking down the 1st Week of 49ers Training Camp

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 31

Co-hosts Rohan Chakravarthi and Marco Martinez rejoice after the first week of 49ers Training Camp, breaking down everything that Rohan saw and Marco heard, as well as the recent news surrounding Deebo Samuel and his contract extension. The audio for the show is embedded above, while the video is available



Fred Warner on 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans: "I know what greatness looks like"

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 25

In 2021, the San Francisco 49ers had one of the best defenses in the NFL, ranking third in yards allowed per game, fifth in yards per carry, fifth in sacks, and seventh in defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Linebacker Fred Warner echoed that sentiment last week on the Rich Eisen Show, believing that the 49ers' defense will get better in 2022, based on who they returned to the team and the added fire stemming from their loss in the NFC Championship Game in 2021. "The expectation is to be the best always, to be the No. 1 defense. Last season, I feel like we had a really good year. I don't know what we finished in the rankings for overall defense, but I know we were at the top. I know that, given what we did last year, and who we're bringing



Pelissero: 49ers, Deebo Samuel continue to talk about contract extension

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 25

Earlier this morning, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero shared the latest news on Deebo Samuel and his contract extension, stating that while there isn't a finalized deal, both the 49ers and Samuel's camp continue to talk about a long-term deal ahead of Tuesday, when the 49ers' players are due to report to training camp. "There's no deal done yet, but the 49ers continue to talk to Deebo Samuel's agent Tory Dandy about a long-term contract extension that would keep him in San Francisco. The fact that they're even talking is really significant when you go back to where this began in April [with] Deebo Samuel requesting a trade. [He] didn't show up to OTAs throughout the offseason, [but] did show up to minicamp." Pelissero noted that Deebo Samuel likely will not hold out


Featured

More by Gilbert Brink

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone