San Francisco 49ers fans would rather talk about their upcoming Super Bowl matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. I’d rather relive their NFC Championship loss a couple seasons ago. The Niners may win the Super Bowl this Sunday. They could also lose and once again be reminded that the 2021-2022 season may have been SF’s best shot to hoist the Lombardi. That very season they were less than 10 minutes away from going to the Super Bowl. Do you recall Jaquiski Tartt’s dropped interception?
Remember this Jaquiski Tartt dropped this INT??— Chris - NFL Content (@chrissantosss_) January 27, 2024
Truly a moment that I will never forget. He dropped one of the easiest Interceptions that youll ever see.
M#49ers #FTTB #NFCChampionship pic.twitter.com/uQjvNtoc20
Instead of the Niners winning and advancing it was the Los Angeles Rams who broke a losing streak to their division rivals, while coming from behind for the win to send Kyle Shanahan and San Francisco home.
Shanahan talks through Jaquiski Tartt's dropped interception pic.twitter.com/b4BARrbrOV— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) January 31, 2022
Admittedly if Tartt picked that ball off we don’t know what would’ve happened, but I am guessing the analytics favord SF greatly had they been able to turn the Rams over there. Instead, no harm no foul, as Mattew Stafford recovered and led his team to victory and onto the Super Bowl two weeks later.
Had SF won that game they’d of gone on to the play the Cincinatti Bengals in place of the Rams. I think SF at the time had as much a chance of beating the Bengals as the Rams did.
The Bengals earned the right to be in the big game by beating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC title game that same season. Unfortunately for Cinci, by the time they made the Super Bowl their offensive line had sustained so many injuries that it was a weakspot for the team. I believe there was a good chance that SF’s defensive line would’ve been able to control the game like LA’s defense did. SF’s offense could’ve done just enough (as LA’s offensive did) to find a way to win and I think SF could have and would have won that Super Bowl. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
This Sunday SF won’t be going against the Bengals and Joe Burrow. They will be going against the Chiefs and Mahomes. Burrow is one of the best QBs in the league. Mahomes IS the best QB in the leage. We’ll see what happens, but the 2021-2022 season could’ve been the year of the Niners. It wasn’t.
"If the Rams play like how they played tonight, they have a good formula heading into the Super Bowl."@TroyAikman & Joe @Buck react to the Rams NFC Championship win.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 31, 2022
(Sponsored by @Verizon) pic.twitter.com/ARD1lm1Hz9
At the time of this writing the 49ers do not have a Super Bowl victory during Shanahan’s time at head coach (they’ve already lost to the Chiefs in a preveious Super Bowl and this Sunday could be part two).
The 49ers can say they are the best team in the NFC (they are), we can say their Super Bowl window is still wide open (I think it is).
For now they have a trophy case full of Super Bowls from year’s past. SF still has more total Super Bowls than the Rams (5-2), but Rams fans can take solace in the fact that McVay got his Lombardi, while Shanahan is still out there looking for it.
The 49ers can absolutely win this Sunday to make this article obsolete, but until then the 49ers haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1994. If San Fran can’t find a way to win this weekend, then they are going to have to wait even longer. In the meantine, the Rams can polish their own trophy, and know that they are part of the reason that SF is still looking for their first Lombardi in 30 years. Will SF be able to change that narrative come Sunday? And if SF does lose, how many more chances at the Lombardi will they have? How long will they have to wait?
We’ll find some of the answers to those questions this weekend. Super Bowl Sunday here we come.