On-Air Now
On-Air Now
Listen Live from the Casino Matrix Studio

Murph: Trey takes 49ers to Super Bowl? It can be done, it has been done



© Stan Szeto | 2022 Jan 2

Let’s all be clear here.

We are planning/hoping/expecting/wanting Trey Lance to win a Super Bowl championship in his first year on the job.


I mean, that’s the gig. You’re the QB of the San Francisco 49ers, who feature Nick Bosa, Trent Williams, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Arik Armstead and Fred Warner. And that’s just a few of the stalwarts who are hungry for a title.

So, Trey Lance — you wanted the keys to the car. Drive it to Titletown. And don’t scratch the paint job.

That’s the fun part; imagining the 49ers hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, February 12, 2023 in Glendale, AZ.

Now, comes the hard part: Is this at all realistic?

The short answer is, yes. 

The longer answer — whether Lance has the gumption or goods or mental fortitude to handle the pressure and rigors of a 17-game season and then a January playoff run — is too long for a Jock Blog.

But the short answer is, it can be done. That is, a second-year QB can at least *go* to a Super Bowl. And, sometimes, even win it. 

Can it be done with as little experience (one year as a starter at North Dakota State!) as Lance has? Yes . . . and no. Let’s take a deep dive.

The first second-year signal-caller to take a team to the Bowl was Miami’s Dan Marino in the 1984 season. I don’t think any of us expects Lance to take the ‘Marino Path’ to the Super Bowl. Marino was a freak, an outlier, a Hall of Fame arm from the time he started ripping passes through the Friday night air of western Pennsylvania. He was a four-year starter at Pitt, and made the playoffs as a rookie before his transcendent 1984 season. 

In the Jock Blog’s highly scientific algorithm “LANCE CHANCE”, our LANCE CHANCE OF BEING A DAN MARINO FIGURE: Already impossible. Marino had done way more already. No Isotoners in Lance’s future.

The next to do it was Kurt Warner with the 1999 St. Louis Rams. Talk about a story. Undrafted out of Northern Iowa, where he only started one year, Warner got cut from Packers training camp, famously stocked shelves at the Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids, played two years with the Arena League Iowa Barnstormers, played a year in NFL Europe, rode the pine with the Rams in 1998 — *and then was an NFL MVP in leading the Rams to their first-ever Super Bowl with ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’*. They oughta make a movie. Wait, they did.

LANCE CHANCE OF BEING A KURT WARNER FIGURE: Can’t happen, because there are no Hy-Vees in Santa Clara.

The next do it was —wait for it — Tom Brady with the 2001 New England Patriots. We’re getting warmer now. Brady had little experience when he was thrust into the starting role. He’d thrown three passes as a rookie. Granted, he started two years at Michigan. But still, he rode a great defense and Adam Vinatieri’s leg and maybe a call or two (TuckRulecoughcough) to a Super Bowl title.

LANCE CHANCE OF BEING A TOM BRADY FIGURE: That’s a could-happen. I’m not saying Lance is going to win seven, and be a starter in the year 2043. I’m just saying there are some parallels.

The next to do it was Ben Roethlisberger with the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. Roethlisberger was the NFL Rookie of the Year and went 13-0 as a first-year, so the Lance comp doesn’t really hold. Plus, Big Ben started three years at Miami (Ohio) and threw over 1300 passes, so the dude had a resume.


The next to do it was — are you sitting down? — Colin Kaepernick with the 2012 49ers. Oh, the innocent days of an RPO against the Packers at Candlestick Park! Kaepernick had only thrown five passes as a rookie, and only took over mid-season from Alex Smith, going 5-2 down the stretch on the unlikely run. Lance can run like Kaepernick, and has the great defense like Kaepernick (hello Patrick Willis, NaVarro Bowman and Justin Smith). So . . . 

LANCE CHANCE OF BEING A KAEPERNICK FIGURE: Minus the national furor over his very name, there are some similarities here we can see. It can be done.

The very next year, Russell Wilson took the 2013 Seattle Seahawks to the Bowl as a second-year guy and won the darn thing. It hurts to type that. But the Wilson/Trey comp does not hold, as Wilson had gone 11-5 as a rookie starter, made the Pro Bowl. Plus, that whole ‘Legion of Boom’ thing. Like I say, it hurts to type all this.

LANCE CHANCE OF BEING A RUSS FIGURE: Doesn’t hold, and all told, I’d rather move on.

And finally, we had a second-year dude go to the Super Bowl just last year. That’s right, Joe Burrow and the Bengals were only in their second year together when they stormed to an AFC Championship. Moreover, Burrow was only 2-7-1 as a starter his rookie year before tearing an ACL. Burrow probably deserves more love for his 2021 run, sports fans. Unlike Lance, Burrow’s college experience — two years as an LSU starter, including a national championship — was extensive. Still, he took over a bad team and took them to the Big Dance. 

LANCE CHANCE OF BEING A BURROW FIGURE: There are some things to like here.

So! What did we learn? We learned it’s not impossible at all for Trey Lance to take the Niners to the Bowl. We learned it’s not impossible for him to win it, either. We learned that we’re not expecting Marino or Warner numbers from Lance, and we learned that it helps to have Walt Coleman make a call for you.

Too soon, Raiders fans?

All right, Trey Lance. History is calling. See you Sunday in Chicago.