(CBS Local) — The San Francisco 49ers were so close to winning their sixth Super Bowl in February. They led 20-10 entering the fourth quarter before Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to three scoring drives over the final 15 minutes while the ‘Niners offense went silent.
Entering the 2020 season, it would be easy to suggest there could be some kind of hangover effect from a loss like that. But, KPIX 5’s Vern Glenn says the Niners have taken that result and used it as fuel this offseason.
“The 49ers look at that, they have chewed it up, they have digested it and that fuels this mantra of having this be a revenge tour. That’s how they’re treating this particular season,” said Glenn in an interview with CBS Local’s Katie Johnston.
The Super Bowl hangover effect has been well documented. Only eight teams in NFL history have returned to the title game following a loss the previous year. But, there is recent history to lean on. The 2018 New England Patriots bounced back from a heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl LII to stifle the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII and win their fifth title. The 49ers, returning much of their roster, have a chance of doing the same according to Glenn.
“I think the 49ers actually have a shot at it because Kyle Shanahan, this is the second time he’s been at the helm of an offense that has blown fourth-quarter leads to the eventual Super Bowl champions. Kyle comes back, he’s got another shot at it and he’s got basically give or take the same team. Players have bought into his scheme,” said Glenn. “There are a lot of veterans there also that have their eyes on the prize and they’re still healthy. Then, the young guys, they want to prove themselves to get some playing time. It will be a really good look at a mobile quarterback that has added some weapons offensively.”
The team brought in receivers Travis Benjamin, Tavon Austin, Kevin White and tight end Jordan Reed to add to the offense. But, there have been injuries to go around during this strange offseason. Austin was just placed on IR. Several key defensive starters have tweaked hamstrings and one, linebacker Fred Warner, was placed on the COVID-19 Reserve List. The good news for Niner fans is Glenn says that head coach Kyle Shanahan believes most of the currently injured big names will be ready to go for the opener.
“Kyle Shanahan has said he thinks injuries have been the theme all throughout the league because you don’t stretch enough, you don’t hydrate enough, players routines have just been off,” said Glenn. “But, he also seems to think by Week 1, he expects the primetime players to be back in practice.”
The preparation for Week 1 starts next week and with it comes a big question. In the NFC West, can the 49ers remain kings? Or will one of their rivals knock them from the throne?
“All due respect to the NFC South, the NFC West is the best division in football. They have all four teams that are playoff contenders. I know much has been talked about the Rams who have been the subject of the Hard Knocks HBO special along with the Chargers and everybody talks about Seattle,” said Glenn. “Seattle is like the ex-girlfriend that walks in and can push all of the buttons. They just know you too well. But, I think the 49ers can handle their business. I expect them to at least split with the Seahawks. I expect them to beat the Rams twice. But, the Arizona Cardinals, that is the wild card here. The Cardinals played them tough twice last year. They could have won both games. The 49ers really needed to scramble to win both games. Arizona has vastly improved.”
Fans won’t have to wait long to find out with Arizona as second-year quarterback Kyle Murray come to town in Week 1 on Sunday, September 13 with kick-off slated for 1:25 p.m. PT.