Super Bowl History

The 49ers have a massive pedigree in terms of the Super Bowl. This franchise dominated the NFL in the 1980s, led by superstar quarterback Joe Montana, who is often considered one of the best of all time, they won four Super Bowls in eight years between 1981 and 1989. This included back-to-back Super Bowls in 1988 and 1989, an accolade their opponents are trying to achieve this weekend.

After a few years of disappointing NFC Championship defeats and a freak year in 1990 where they did not make the playoffs for the first time in eight years, the 49ers returned to Super Bowl glory in 1994 as they defeated the San Diego Chargers

However, this Super Bowl win would conclude their years of dominance in the NFL as after their 1994 success, the 49ers fans would have to wait 18 years before they returned to the Super Bowl, with a period of seven years between 2003-2010 where they did not even make the playoffs once.

2012 was the year the 49ers returned to compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy as they faced the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans. However, the offence led by Collin Kaepernick and Micheal Crabtree, could not do enough as they fell to a 31-34 defeat.

Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers walks though the tunnel before <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/29/1170393-you-got-to-fight-for-your-right-to-party-why-you-should-never-count-out-the-kansas-city-chiefs.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/29/1170393-you-got-to-fight-for-your-right-to-party-why-you-should-never-count-out-the-kansas-city-chiefs.html'>Super Bowl</a></strong> XLVII against the <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/29/1170447-king-kelce-travis-kelce-breaks-jerry-rices-record-for-the-most-receptions-in-postseason-play.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/29/1170447-king-kelce-travis-kelce-breaks-jerry-rices-record-for-the-most-receptions-in-postseason-play.html'>Baltimore Ravens</a></strong> at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images)
Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers walks though the tunnel before Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images)

After this heartbreaking loss and an NFC Championship defeat the following year, the Niners yet again fell into a slump as they went five consecutive seasons without reaching the postseason. Their Super Bowl dominance period was now a seeming fever dream to most of the fanbase.

However, under the new management of head coach Kyle Shanahan, he managed to bring the 49ers back to the Super Bowl, facing this weekend’s opponents in the 2019 final. However, heartbreak struck again, and they were defeated 31-20 in Miami. A defeat many fans hope will not be repeated this weekend.

This rut means that the 49ers have not won a Super Bowl since 1994, 29 years ago. They have also only featured in the Super Bowl twice since that ’94 victory. A win this weekend would mean everything to their organization, finally bringing back success these fans have been desperate to see for so long.

Season Review

The 49ers were nothing short of spectacular throughout the 2023 regular season. Led by their unlikely hero at quarterback Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, the 49ers managed to finish the regular season with a 12-5 record.

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes during the NFC Championship game against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Lions 34-31. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes during the NFC Championship game against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Lions 34-31. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

This meant that they were not only crowned NFC West Champions for the second year in a row but they also were awarded the number one seed in the entire NFC. This meant that they would not have to play in the wildcard round and were awarded with a straight bye into the Divisional Round where they would face the Green Bay Packers.

Despite a valiant effort from the young Packers side, Purdy would throw for over 250 yards and a touchdown as he was able to guide his side to a narrow 24-21 victory to advance to the NFC Championship.

The Niners faced the Detroit Lions, led by Jared Goff who was desperate to take the Lions to their first-ever Super Bowl. He managed to pull a 24-7 lead over the 49ers by half-time, leaving the hopes of 49ers fans in doubt as they were set for yet another heartbreaking loss in the NFC Championship game.

However, the Niners came alive in the second half, with Purdy and his superstar running back Christian McCaffrey absolutely dominating at home. They would score five times unanswered and give the 49ers a 34-31 victory over the Lions to finally return to the Super Bowl. A truly incredible comeback.

Key Players

Purdy is one of the most criticised players in the NFL this season. Despite the potential for a fairytale story where the last pick in the 2021 draft can lead his team to a Super Bowl in just two seasons, people are still being overly critical of the young quarterback.

Pundits and fans are stating he is a ‘system quarterback’ and he is constantly bailed out by either his receivers or running back. This is all despite Purdy throwing for over 4000 yards and 31 touchdowns, guiding this franchise to the Super Bowl.

Purdy will definitely be a threat to the Chiefs’ defence and it will not be an easy task to stop him from scoring.

CMC is the obvious choice for a player to focus on in the 49ers’ offence. A potential MVP candidate, he has been electric this season. Rushing for 1459 yards and 14 touchdowns partnered with 567 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns, he has been vital to the success of the franchise.

<strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/02/1167421-san-francisco-49ers-claim-the-no-1-seedin-the-nfc.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/02/1167421-san-francisco-49ers-claim-the-no-1-seedin-the-nfc.html'>Christian McCaffrey</a></strong> #23 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a 1-yard touchdown during the NFC Championship game against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Lions 34-31. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a 1-yard touchdown during the NFC Championship game against the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Lions 34-31. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

He has also been vital in the postseason, scoring two touchdowns in both playoff games so far to ensure that his side has a chance to win the Super Bowl.

Despite the massive focus on CMC when talking about the 49ers’ offence, their wide receivers have been fantastic too. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk combine for the Niners as one of the best-receiving cores in the NFL.

Samuel is considered often the wide receiver one in this offence, with seven touchdowns and 842 yards in the regular season, it gives Purdy the option of throwing the ball instead of handing it off to CMC on every play.

However, Aiyuk has arguably been the most important part of the receiving core this season. He has also scored seven touchdowns this year but had over 1300 receiving yards whilst guiding this team to the playoffs.

Aiyuk was also very important in their win over the Lions, as his touchdown set up the comeback brilliantly which ensured he and his team would be playing in Vegas this weekend.

The 49ers defence has earned a lot of praise throughout the regular season, and rightfully so. Their defence has allowed the least number of rushing yards in the league this season and ranks in the top ten overall defences in the league.

Superstar defensive end Nick Bosa has also managed a fantastic 10.5 sacks this season, accompanied by five interceptions from corner-back Charvarius Ward it is no surprise that this defence has been earning its praises this season.

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers sacks <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/20/1169389-detroitlions-vs-tampa-bay-buccaneers-game-preview.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/20/1169389-detroitlions-vs-tampa-bay-buccaneers-game-preview.html'>Jared Goff</a></strong> #16 of the Detroit Lions during the NFC Championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Lions 34-31. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers sacks Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions during the NFC Championship game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Lions 34-31. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
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About the author
James Fleming
Journalism Student