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The Start of the 49ers Drama And Never-Ending Quest



© Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports.

Consider this Jock Blog of May 10, 2024 to be the first of many 2024 49ers-related Jock Blogs to ask the same question:

Given that rookies and undrafted free agents report today for minicamp, CAN THE 49ERS EVER WIN A SUPER BOWL IN THE KYLE SHANAHAN ERA?

Sorry, did I raise my voice?

And yes, I know. What do rookies and undrafted free agents have to do with Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers waking up every morning with the albatross of two AGONIZING RAZOR-THIN SUPER BOWL LOSSES TO PATRICK MAHOMES AND THE CHIEFS??

Sorry, that was one of those moments again.

We Jock Bloggers are of this mindset because Alex Smith joined the show Friday morning in advance of next Thursday’s Dwight Clark Legacy Series event and the topic came up. After all, the 49ers are about to enter the thunder dome of these questions as the NFL ramps up in our consciousness the next several weeks: rookie mini-camp, the globe-rattling release of the 2024 NFL schedule, June OTAs, summertime Brandon Aiyuk contract rumors, the opening of training camp and, at long last, Week 1 of the NFL season Sept. 7-10.

And still 49ers fans will wonder what it will take to climb that mountain last climbed by guys like Steve Young, Rickey Jackson and Klaus Wilmsmeyer on Jan. 29, 1995 in Miami. 

The question: are you mentally ready for it? Are you ready to relive the pain? Are you ready to talk coin flips and overtime rules and missed blocks on 3rd-and-4 from the 9-yard line and even Emmanuel Sanders, if the conversation goes deep into the night?

Are you ready to talk about how NFL history is very, very unkind to those who lose the Super Bowl in their next go-round? 

Get this: In the last 30 years, every single team that has lost the Super Bowl has failed to make it back to the Bowl the following year . . . with one exception: Touchdown Tommy Brady’s 2018 New England Patriots bounced back from the loss to Big Richard Nick Foles’ 2017 Eagles and beat Jared (Motown Maniac) Goff’s L.A. Rams a year later. 

Other than that freakish occurrence — which was part of Brady’s freakish run from 2014-2020, ages 37 to 43, when he won *four* Bowls to leap past our guy Joe Montana — the 2024 49ers will try hard to not be the 2016 Carolina Panthers or the 2011 Indy Colts or the 2007 Chicago Bears or the 2003 Oakland Raiders (remember them?) or any of those SB losers who you never heard from again.

So much will depend on Brock Purdy, of course. The 49ers are betting that the sample size is large enough now. He’s 17-4 as a starter. Purdy led the NFL last year in passer rating and yards per attempt, among other stats. He’s 4-2 in the playoffs, according to the books, but he’s really 4-1 because Philadelphia on 1/29/23 and we say no more. He’s thrown six TDs to one INT in the playoffs. He’s 24.

Alex Smith told us the reasons this is all not a fluke are twofold: 1) Purdy processes the information and 2) he has pocket courage and keeps his eyes downfield.

These are not insignificant things.

Purdy will have a full offseason of work without that darn elbow surgery a year ago, and the 49ers return a full cast of characters.

The angst starts now. Welcome, rookies, to the 49ers Party. It’s a stress-filled ride, with only one acceptable outcome, and we can’t wait.