Why 49ers can anticipate a Rams hangover after Super Bowl win

Kevin Givens #90 of the San Francisco 49ers knocks down Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Kevin Givens #90 of the San Francisco 49ers knocks down Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

The 49ers should be hoping a trend of Super Bowl-winning teams struggling the next year continues with the Rams after their Lombardi Trophy.

Winning a Super Bowl is hard. Winning back-to-back Super Bowls is almost impossible. Even competing for a follow-up Super Bowl the season after achieving one can be difficult.

While winning a Super Bowl a year after losing in the big game is rare (the San Francisco 49ers found this out the hard way in 2020 after falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV), even the victors can have the proverbial Super Bowl “hangover” in the aftermath of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

And that’s precisely what the Niners will be hoping for with their NFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Rams, who upended the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

Only eight teams have won back-to-back Super Bowls, and San Francisco is fortunate to be among those listed. The Pittsburgh Steelers have done it twice, too.

What’s more common, however, is the victor to at least compete for the Super Bowl the following season but failing to ultimately make it.

Perhaps that’s a fate awaiting Los Angeles.

Super Bowl winners’ history the following season

The Chiefs set a benchmark for perennial conference championship appearances, including back-to-back Super Bowl appearances (a win over the 49ers and then a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following year).

But going back to the 2000 season, let’s look at how each Super Bowl victor fared during its subsequent campaign:

Super Bowl Winners 2000-2021
YearSuper Bowl ChampionFollowing Season Record, Playoffs (Y/N)
2020Buccaneers13-4, Y
2019Chiefs14-2, Y
2018Patriots12-4, Y
2017Eagles9-7, Y
2016Patriots13-3, Y
2015Broncos9-7, N
2014Patriots12-4, Y
2013Seahawks12-4, Y
2012Ravens8-8, N
2011Giants9-7, N
2010Packers15-1, Y
2009Saints11-5, Y
2008Steelers9-7, N
2007Giants12-4, Y
2006Colts13-3, Y
2005Steelers8-8, N
2004Patriots10-6, Y
2003Patriots14-2, Y
2002Buccaneers7-9, N
2001Patriots9-7, N
2000Ravens10-6, Y

Generated 2/15/2022 by Pro Football Reference.

Seven of the teams that won a Super Bowl since 2000 failed to make the postseason the following year, but that won’t automatically equate to a proverbial “hangover” for Los Angeles.

The figures do state, however, about one in three teams will have a serious regression the following season.

Considering the Rams took an “all-in” approach for 2021, it’s possible the Niners can anticipate LA being less formidable this upcoming year.

49ers hope Rams will have a challenging offseason

There are rumors head coach Sean McVay and defensive tackle Aaron Donald retire after winning the Super Bowl. But until that actually happens, it hasn’t.

Other players, however, could retire. Namely veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

And that might spark some serious attrition along LA’s offensive line, which could see fellow linemen Austin Corbett and Brian Allen depart via free agency. Considering Over the Cap projects Los Angeles to be $14 million above the salary cap, it might be hard to either keep those players or find high-quality veterans to replace them.

As the Bengals found out, a top-end offensive line is a must for winning the Super Bowl.

Read More: Can 49ers win a Super Bowl with Trey Lance in 2022?

There are going to be other free agents likely on the outs, too, namely EDGE Von Miller and cornerback Darious Williams. Without picks in the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, it might be just as difficult for the Rams to find replacement options there, too.

From San Francisco’s perspective, it’s plausible and perhaps even likely LA will regress a bit this upcoming season, though not to the drastic levels seen from some of the teams that went under .500 the year after winning the Super Bowl.

Considering how narrow Los Angeles’ victory was over the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, though, that hangover might be precisely what the Niners will want to see in 2022.

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 best teams in franchise history. dark