The stage of the Super Bowl is no stranger to the San Francisco 49ers.
Tied for second in all-time Super Bowl appearances, San Francisco will make their eighth appearance in the Super Bowl in Las Vegas against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 49ers have been knocking on the door of Super Bowl contention for the last couple of years.
After making three consecutive NFC Championship game appearances, they beat the Detroit Lions in a second-half comeback to make the Super Bowl. So how did they get there?
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For starters, the 49ers have undoubtedly one of the best rosters in the NFL. In their 53-man roster, they would have seven players make AP All-Pro first and second teams which would be the second highest amongst the 32 teams.
With this amount of star power which is mostly on the offensive side, it would help them finish the regular season with a 12-5 record seeing them finish with the 1st seed in the NFC.
However, the main talking point about the offence would be a player who wasn’t named in those All-Pro teams.
While quarterback Brock Purdy would be picked as Mr Irrelevant in the 2022 draft, he has been far from irrelevant for the 49ers.
After taking over the position of starting quarterback towards the back end of his rookie year, he hasn’t looked back since. Coming back from a torn UCL in his elbow, he threw for 4,280 yards (with 31 TDs) placing in in top 5 amongst other QBs.
What makes it more impressive is that San Francisco finished 32nd for passes attempted for the season. His efficiency in his throwing has led to him having the highest QB rating average this season who have played five games or more.
With a fourth-quarter game-winning drive against Green Bay in the Divisional game and helping recover a 17-point lead in the second half of the NFC Championship game against Detroit, his standing amongst has only improved.
While Purdy has been an efficient passer of the ball, San Francisco has developed a run-heavy offense which has been led by star running back Christian McCaffery.
McCaffery is the favourite to win Offensive Player of the Year and he has a rather compelling case for it. The 49er lead the league in rushing this season going for 1,459 yards at an average of 17 yards a carry.
The next closest was 292 yards away. This season saw McCaffery go beyond the 20 Touchdowns mark for the first time in his career with 14 TDs coming from his rushing side.
He would also be the only player in the NFL to get over 2,000 all-purpose yards this season.
The impact he has had on this team since joining via trade last season from Carolina has been a crucial factor in helping San Francisco sustain their success by making the run game far more dangerous for them.
Before his arrival, the last player to rush for 1,000 yards in San Fran was Frank Gore in 2014.
On the receiving end, it is the stuff of nightmares for the opposition’s defences.
For starters, Wide Receiver Brandon Aiyuk has built upon a breakout 2022 season averaging 83.9 yards per game this season to be the first pass option for quarterback Brock Purdy.
Tight end George Kittle has come back to form as he managed over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since the 2019 season which was the last time that the 49ers had made the Super Bowl.
Deebo Samuel provides the versatility of wide receiver and running back seeing him achieve over 1,000 all-purpose yards alongside Christian McCaffery. This looks likely to cause some havoc amongst the Chiefs’ defence.
And with All Pro First team left tackle Trent Williams on the O-Line, it adds to an already elite offence.
While the offence is often the main focus when discussing the 49ers, their defence is just as good. Very few teams have been able to score against this 49ers defence coached by Steve Wilks.
In the regular season, they had only allowed for 17.1 points per game which was third best in the league. They would also be third in the league for rushing yards allowed with 1,525 yards conceded.
As a unit, they would be tied first for interceptions with 22 of them coming from 10 players. Leading the team in this stat would be cornerback and former Kansas City Chief, Charvarius Ward with five interceptions which would help earn AP All-Pro second-team honours.
Linebacker Fred Warner would be selected to the AP All-Pro first team thanks to his contribution of 132 tackles and would combine with fellow linebacker Dre Greenlaw for 252 tackles for the defence.
On the D-Line, Nick Bosa has been an important piece in helping place pressure on the opposing Offensive line and Quarterback to achieve 10.5 sacks.
A win in Super Bowl LVIII would help exact revenge on the team that defeated them in Super Bowl LIV.
In that game, the 49ers had a 10-point lead with about six and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter which would have secured their sixth Lombardi in franchise history.
However, Patrick Mahomes would create three touchdowns in that time leaving 49ers fans and players in a state of devastation.
Now four years later, they return to the same stage, playing the same team and praying that it won’t be the same result.