Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers went from one of the worst teams in the NFL to one of the best in just a single season, but the head coach has some challenges ahead if he’s to keep the Niners among the NFL elite.
The 2019 San Francisco 49ers under head coach Kyle Shanahan will go down in history as one of the greatest turnarounds in NFL history, going from the next-to-worst team in the NFL the previous year to a 13-3 record, No. 1 seed in the NFC and a Super Bowl appearance.
While the season ended in heartbreak, it was still undoubtedly a success. After boasting the No. 2 overall pick in that year’s NFL Draft, the Niners weren’t expected to be anything close to a Super Bowl contender, yet ripped off the conference’s best record and stunned the football world. Entering 2020, the team is young and driven, the offense and defense are both among the best in the league and the team could be even better last season if fully healthy.
However it’s important not to allow complacency to settle in. Countless teams, such as the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns, were heavily touted in the preseason last year only to come nowhere close to the heights they were predicted of achieving.
On that vein, the 49ers have a lot of work to do to make sure they don’t fall victim to the same fate. Kyle Shanahan is a proven motivator, but he’s never headed a team in this situation before. The previous three seasons were solely about the rebuild, then getting what was a lackluster squad back to a point of respectability.
And then some, which he achieved. Now it’s about maintaining it.
For the 49ers to remain among the NFL’s elite, Shanahan has to meet these three big challenges for 2020.