How SF 49ers fight off Super Bowl hangover in 2020

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Shanahan, SF 49ers
Head coach Kyle Shanahan and offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

All too often, it seems the Super Bowl runner up regresses the next season. Here’s why the SF 49ers won’t have to worry about that.

There is a phenomenon in the NFL referred to as the “Super Bowl hangover.” This is the idea that teams tend to regress after winning or competing in the Super Bowl the season before. As the 2020 season quickly approaches, it is time to address the question of whether or not the SF 49ers will face the Super Bowl hangover.

My answer is a vehement no, and I will explain why by comparing the Niners to perhaps the best example of the Super Bowl hangover in recent years, San Francisco’s NFC West divisional rivals, the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams were one of the hottest teams in football for the two seasons before the 2019 season. In 2017, head coach Sean McVay and his offensive system took the league by storm. Los Angeles won the NFC West but ultimately lost in the Wild Card round.

The next season, the Rams upgraded and again stormed their way through the NFL, ultimately losing in a disappointing low-scoring Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. The following offseason, L.A. continued to double down on being in win-now mode, and going into the 2019 Season was expected to continue its success.

But then suddenly, it all fell apart.

The 2019 Rams were a massive disappointment, a shadow of the previous seasons’ superteams. And although they somewhat righted the ship by the end of the year, they finished the season 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

There were many reasons for the Rams’ collapse, but a few were perhaps the most prominent. In a piece from 2019, Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon examined what was happening to the Rams. He blames a few key factors including poor offensive line play, poor health from star running back Todd Gurley, and injuries on the defense.

Let’s break down each of these, and explain why the 49ers won’t have to worry about them.