Why 49ers get back to Super Bowl in 2025 (and why they don't)

There are plenty of reasons to be both optimistic and pessimistic about the 49ers' chances of returning to the Super Bowl next season after losing Super Bowl 58.

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers Media Availability
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers Media Availability / Chris Unger/GettyImages
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Why 49ers don't make it to Super Bowl 59

As easy as it is to spew out logical reasons why the Niners are back in the big game a year from now, it's important to acknowledge just how tough it is for Super Bowl-losing squads to return the following season.

Remember what happened to San Francisco in 2020, the year after losing Super Bowl 54 to the Chiefs (the first time)?

While the 49ers aren't anticipating another historic level of injuries to plague the team like it did in 2020, it does illustrate the point.

Losing the Super Bowl last season can make it awfully tough to even get back there the following year.

Super Bowl losers often have a 'hangover' the following season

Historically speaking, Super Bowl losers don't have great track records getting back to the same game the following year.

From the Buffalo Bills' infamous three-peat Super Bowl losses of the early 1990s, only the 2017 New England Patriots made it back to the Super Bowl the following year after losing it the season before.

That's not a good set of odds for the Niners.

Since the 2010 season, 10 of the 13 Super Bowl losers at least made it into the playoffs, so San Francisco still has a shot of getting into the dance.

It's just bleak in terms of the NFL finale.

49ers face tough salary cap challenges

The NFL is designed to punish good teams to help level the playing field. Good teams pick last in the draft, and they also tend to run more expensive because they have good players.

And good players want to be paid accordingly.

Granted, there are ways to make the salary cap flexible. However, according to Over the Cap, the 49ers are more than $3.7 million over the salary cap for 2024, which means that not only will there be a need for extensions, restructures and potential cap casualties, but it also points to the likelihood that the Niners won't be heavily active bidders in NFL free agency.

It also may complicate new-contract discussions with key players, too, such as restricted free-agent Jauan Jennings and fellow wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who'll be seeking a new deal amid entering the final season of his rookie contract.

49ers face an aging roster

There's a fine line between an experienced veteran roster and one that's simply too old.

Remember that core group? Well, it's still around. But San Francisco is already one of the older teams in the NFL, having entered the 2023 season with an average age of 26.1 years old (11th oldest). In contrast, the Chiefs had an average age of 25.5 years old (seventh) entering 2023.

Trent Williams will be 36 years old when the 2024 regular season begins, while George Kittle will turn 31 years old in the middle of next season.

A youth movement might need to be in order soon, which means the 49ers may have to find other ways to get back to the top of the NFL pantheon.

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