After being just over six minutes away from a Super Bowl win, the San Francisco 49ers will be hard-pressed to return to the championship game a year from now in 2021.
The San Francisco 49ers‘ loss in Super Bowl LIV could end up being a tough pill to swallow for a long, long time.
After leading 20-10 with just over six minutes remaining, the Niners subsequently surrendered 21 unanswered points en route to the 31-20 defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs, prompting all kinds of emotions about what went wrong and, more specifically, how to get back to the Super Bowl next year.
Getting there again, however, isn’t exactly on San Francisco’s side.
History suggests the 49ers will have a tough, tough time even getting back to the Super Bowl in 2021, let alone winning it. To break this down, let’s go back and look at each of the Super Bowl losers dating back to 2010 and see where they ended up the following year.
2010 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers fell to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, but ended up going 12-4 the following season, only to lose in the Wild Card round to the Denver Broncos.
2011 New England Patriots
49ers fans will remember this season, as the New York Giants pulled upsets over the Niners in the NFC Championship game, then defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
The Pats would bounce back with a 12-4 record the following year, only to lose to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game.
2012 San Francisco 49ers
Yes, those Ravens beat the Niners in Super Bowl XLVII in another heartbreaker. The following year, the Seattle Seahawks thwarted an attempt to return to the big game, ending San Francisco’s season in an epic NFC Championship showdown, which many a 49ers fan hates recalling to this day.
2013 Denver Broncos
The Seahawks walloped the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. A year later, Denver fell to the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round.
2014 Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks’ attempt at back-to-back Super Bowl crowns ended with a game-sealing interception by then-Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. Seattle has remained a playoff contender ever since. But the following season, the Carolina Panthers ended up pulling off a win over the Seahawks in the divisional round.
2015 Carolina Panthers
The Broncos eventually made it back to the Super Bowl, albeit without the prolific play of quarterback Peyton Manning, who was a shadow of himself in Super Bowl 50. Instead, Denver’s defense made easy work of a Panthers offense, which boasted a league MVP in quarterback Cam Newton, and went 15-1 during the regular season.
Carolina went 6-10 the following season and has made the playoffs just once since its Super Bowl loss.
2016 Atlanta Falcons
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has the unfortunate history of being on the losing end of two epic Super Bowl meltdowns, the former being the Falcons’ 28-3 lead being evaporated by a Patriots comeback and overtime win.
Shanahan would depart for San Francisco that offseason, while Atlanta would go 10-6 the following season, eventually losing to the eventual Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles.
2017 New England Patriots
The Patriots couldn’t get their back-to-back Super Bowl wins after falling to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. But New England would go against recent historical trends, beating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII a year later.
2018 Los Angeles Rams
The Rams went all in for the 2018 season, banking on a plethora of top-paid talent and a high-octane offense under head coach Sean McVay. But the Patriots put a stop to that in Super Bowl LIII, beating L.A. 13-3.
McVay’s squad would go 9-7 in 2019, missing the playoffs.
As one can see, the 49ers have a tough road ahead of them if they hope to even get back to the Super Bowl in 2021, let alone win it. Out of all the Super Bowl losers dating back to the 2010 season, only the 2018 Patriots were able to win a Lombardi Trophy the following season after suffering a Super Bowl loss the previous year.
Six of the Super Bowl losers did manage to make the playoffs the following year, however, suggesting the 49ers do have an excellent chance to at least, well… have another chance at a Super Bowl.
On the positive side of things, the current Niners squad has a predominantly young core, mixed in with some veteran savvy and one of the best offensive minds, Shanahan, in the game.
But based off recent trends, the odds suggest San Francisco will fall short of reaching this ultimate goal in 2021.