SF 49ers rightfully rank high in 2020 FanSided 250 list

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers climbed up the ranks of the annual FanSided 250 list, thanks largely to some star power and last season’s Super Bowl appearance.

While the SF 49ers‘ 2020 season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan, there’s little doubting the team generated plenty of buzz heading into this year by dominating the NFC portion of the playoffs following the 2019 regular season and coming within minutes of winning Super Bowl LIV over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Along with some serious star power from standout players like tight end George Kittle, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and EDGE Nick Bosa, there was no shortage of buzz surrounding head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad heading into this season.

If only injuries to all three of those players didn’t play a major role.

Nevertheless, FanSided 250 — an annual project recognizing the top 250 fandoms across multiple platforms — recognized the Niners climbing out of an elongated stretch of sub-.500 seasons dating back to 2015.

A year ago, San Francisco was ranked No. 145 overall despite the eventual 13-3 regular-season finish. It appeared as if the rest of the fandom world hadn’t taken notice yet.

This year, however, the SF 49ers climbed all the way to No. 48 overall and ranked fifth highest in the NFL:

"After a few years of pedestrian football, the San Francisco 49ers shocked the nation and went to Super Bowl LIV in February. The Faithful, as the 49ers’ fans are known, have continued to be loud and proud even after the team moved to Santa Clara almost a decade ago. Last season was a magical time for the team, making its first trip to the Super Bowl since the 2012 season."

If there are going to be some grumblings, the Seattle Seahawks (No. 43), New Orleans Saints (No. 41), Baltimore Ravens (No. 15) and Chiefs (No. 7) all ranked higher in the NFL department with the LA Lakers coming in at No. 1 overall.

SF 49ers’ George Kittle snubbed?

While the Niners and their fans definitely received some recognition, it’s a bit of a wonder why Kittle didn’t crack FanSided 250’s top sports names.

The acclaimed inventor of National Tight End Day, who just so happened to be a record-setting first-team All-Pro and cult hero among the SF 49ers faithful, wasn’t listed. True, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (No. 204) created a lot of buzz after entering the league from Alabama, while former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (No. 37) looks like the real deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Few would question Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes being at No. 2 overall, too.

Not seeing Kittle on the list, however, is something of a shocker, particularly given just how camera friendly he is. And there is no shortage of Kittle fans out there, both among the Niners fanbase and elsewhere around the league. He’s just that cool of a guy.

If there’s some solace, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce didn’t make the list either, and most NFL analysts like to list those two side by side in comparisons.

Perhaps it’ll take a few more record-breaking seasons for Kittle to get the recognition he deserves.

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Regardless, San Francisco finally got back to respectability last season, and that surely carried over into 2020, too.

Good job, Niners fans.