The 49ers most are expected to vie for their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2023. But some league executives and coaches aren’t ruling out San Francisco taking a step back.
The Athletic recently surveyed the main decision-makers around the NFL, including general managers, executives, head coaches and assistant coaches, about the upcoming season. Topics covered included naming an MVP, the top three quarterbacks and the league’s best non-quarterback offensive player.
Eighteen decision makers were asked to name three teams that will surprise people “in a bad way” this coming season. The 49ers tied for the most votes in that category (five) along with the Dallas Cowboys i Green Bay Packers.
There was no reasoning mentioned in the article why San Francisco had the most disappointing votes. The Bills’ struggles in the running game (aside from quarterback Josh Allen) were cited as a red flag, as were the Dolphins having “too many egos” combined with a young coach in Mike McDaniel.
Perhaps the 49ers’ sky-high expectations don’t leave much room to surprise fans in a positive way. There is also the unknown of the quarterback Brock Purdywho went 8-0 in the eight games he played more than three quarters last year but could regress to average.
It’s also been a strange last month for the 49ers. They traded former quarterback of the future Trey Lanceand star pass rusher Nick Bosa is not under contract it could trickle down to the week 1 game against him Pittsburgh Steelers.
To be fair, 22 of the 32 teams received at least one vote in that same poll, further evidence of the league’s unique parity each season. But other consensus Super Bowl contenders, such as the Kansas City Chiefs i Cincinnati Bengalsdid not receive a single vote in this category.
The good news for any panicking 49ers Faithful? Top talent usually wins. And the 49ers have a lot of it.