Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


49ers glad 2020 season is finally over

Jan 3, 2021 at 6:56 PM--


Like so many around the world, the way the San Francisco 49ers reacted to the end of 2020 can be summed up in one word -- relief.

Of course, things got quite unusual for the 49ers towards the end of 2020, given the fact the team had to live in a hotel in Arizona for over a month in order to finish its season after local COVID-19 ordinances in Santa Clara shut down any remaining home games. The 49ers' season came to an end with a 26-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, which means the players, coaches, and staff will now get the chance to go home -- and in some cases see their families -- for the first time in 32 days.

It's understandable then that after that loss to the Seahawks, 49ers players and head coach Kyle Shanahan showed visible happiness that 2020 was finally in the rearview mirror and that the page could finally be turned.

"Very excited," Shanahan said during his postgame media session. "It's the first time I ever packed two days in advance for anything. We're all excited to see our families and everything. Some of us saw our families over Christmas, which was nice. Some weren't able to, so it's been way too long for a number of guys. When anyone's stuck in a hotel for I think over 30 days, that does wear on you a little bit. So not just me, but the players, the cooks, the equipment guys, everybody involved with us is ready to get back home."

The 49ers went 1-4 after making the temporary move to Arizona but competed hard throughout the five-game stretch. The team at least was able to learn some lessons and grow from what it went through, which is a silver lining the players can use to build from in the future.

"It was just different. Being away from your family is tough," defensive end Arik Armstead said. "It was an adjustment for all of us. It was the first time I think this happened in NFL history. But it definitely made us closer, all going through it together. I'm proud of the guys and how we fought down the stretch."

And while the 49ers surely would have rather had the ability to return home over the past month, the team's experience in Arizona could have been much worse. There wasn't much complaining coming from the players about what they had to go through, and at least one of them will even be taking back some positive memories.

"Hopefully we don't ever have to do this again, first off. But there were some good times, good memories here with the guys," quarterback C.J. Beathard said. "When you're all bunked up in the same hotel, you get to see them in passing a little bit. We weren't really allowed to hang out or whatever, so that kind of stunk. But overall, you learn from it and get better from the situations you're put in."

Being able to go home isn't the only reason the 49ers are glad that 2020 is done and dusted. The season was a disappointment in general given the Super Bowl expectations the players had coming into the year, so there's little doubt they'd like to wipe that slate clean and get focused on a rebound in 2021. And, like everyone else, they'll be happy if life simply gets back to normal at some point over the next 365 days.

"It didn't go the way we wanted it to go but it has been a long, trying year," Armstead said. "It seems like the longest year ever. Hopefully next year things are normal -- getting fans back in the stadium and some normalcy back in our league and around the world in general too, not just football. That'll be good for society as well -- getting back to regular things that we do. Getting back to being around each other is huge, so I'm definitely looking forward to that."

The work won't stop for Shanahan and the rest of the 49ers brass given how many significant offseason questions they're about to face. But the immediate future will bring a much-needed break, at least for a little while. The players, in the meantime, will be able to rest their bodies after a physical season.

And, to whatever means they'll be able to accomplish it, they'll likely take the opportunity to just get away from everything for the time being.

"I will not probably touch a weight until February," tight end George Kittle said. "I'll be very much off the face of the earth for the next month. So don't try to find me or ask me any questions, please."

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