The 49ers are a top contender for the Super Bowl in 2023, but things could potentially go wrong in a quick hurry.
Perhaps no greater example in recent San Francisco 49ers history exists than the 2020 season when one wants to think about just how quickly things go wrong when they're not expected to.
That was the "revenge tour" year after the Niners suffered a heartbreaking loss in the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs that previous February. Despite boasting a stacked team the following season, a slew of absolutely devastating injuries ravaged head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad to the tune of a 6-10 record and a fourth-place finish within the NFC West.
So much for a revenge tour.
Now, San Francisco has bounced back, appearing in two consecutive NFC Championship games since that forgettable 2020 season. After losing both of those yet still boasting one of the NFL's best rosters, it's reasonable to think 2023 will be the year in which the 49ers finally claim it all and win that elusive sixth Lombardi Trophy.
However, as history has shown, expectations can be far different than reality, and here are five reasons why things could go horribly wrong for the Niners this season.
No. 5: Injuries still continue to plague 49ers on a yearly basis
2020 was bad, yes. But it wasn't an anomaly. It was just the year in which San Francisco simply couldn't overcome the sheer number of injury-related losses. In other years, for the most part, the 49ers have been able to do so.
Yet the bigger picture is the fact that Shanahan's Niners have historically been on the wrong end of the injury spectrum, including being in the bottom third of injury-prone teams the last two seasons.
The data is there. You can look it up.
It doesn't take much for injuries to completely derail a season, and San Francisco found out the hard way in 2020.
The same outcome is always a threat to the 49ers and could be again in 2023.