Seven years have passed since the Niners last made the Super Bowl, and you have to go back to 1995 to find the last time they took home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. They started the season in the NFL this term in ferocious form, but as they began to slip toward the end, fans thought that they wouldn’t make it to this stage.
San Francisco has won the NFL Championship five times in their history, and this Sunday, they’ll be looking to add a long-awaited sixth. Let’s take a look at the road they followed to make it to Super Bowl LIV.
The Niners started their campaign with a dominant 31-17 victory over the Buccaneers, and that was the first of eight back to back wins. No other side managed to stay undefeated for so long, and at that stage, it looked like no other team would be able to touch them in the NFL this season.
In that patch of excellence, San Francisco recorded impressive successes over divisional rivals in the Rams, and other notable successes against the Cardinals and Redskins, keeping themselves at the pinnacle of one of the tightest groups in the NFL.
The Niners first set back came in a loss against NFC West rivals, the Seahawks in Game Week 9. It looked like that was a blip when they came out next against the Cardinals with another victory. The Niners continued this form when they destroyed the Packers by 37 points to 8, and it looked like they were back on the road to the Super Bowl.
Then came the biggest test of the season, where the Niners faced the excellent Ravens, led by Quarterback Lamar Jackson. The game was a reality check as San Francisco couldn’t cope with the power of Baltimore, and ended up going down by 20-17 in one of the tightest games of the season.
Next up, was a crucial matchup as they faced the high-flying Saints, and they managed to take another victory in a crazy game that ended 48-46 in the Niners favor. Then it fell apart again for the San Francisco boys as they went down in a shock defeat to the lowly Falcons even with a home-field advantage.
With two games to play against their NFC West rivals, the postseason looked inevitable, but top spot in the division was out of their hands. The Seahawks had overtaken the Niners, and the wild card round looked the most likely route. The Niners managed to beat the Rams in a tight game that ended 34-31.
That left it all down to the final regular-season game against the Seahawks, with the winner taking the top spot in the NFC West. Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel made all the difference, and the Niners booked their place in the NFL Divisional Round winning 26-21.
The Niners now had to face the Vikings for the first time this campaign, and going into the game, they were the favorites to take the win. The first quarter was tight and finished level with both teams scoring a touchdown, leaving it all square at 7-7. By halftime, there was a little daylight between the two NFL giants, and the Niners made the most of that 4 point lead.
The third and fourth quarter was all about San Francisco, and they didn’t give the Vikings frustrated offense a sniff at closing the gap. The Niners added a further 13 points in the second half to progress to the NFL Conference Championships with an impressive final result of 27-10. The momentum was building again at the perfect time for San Francisco.
The next hurdle to overcome to make it to the Super Bowl came in the form of a team they had already beaten comfortably during the regular season. The Green Bay Packers had it all to play for in this game, and the odds were stacked against them beating the Niners. We all know that surprises often happen in the postseason, though, so it was by no means a foregone conclusion.
After the first quarter, it looked like the pre-game predictions were precisely on point, although a single touchdown without reply was never going to mean game over with so much football left to play. The second quarter was another story entirely, and the dominance of the Niners was a joy to behold. They scored another 20 points without reply, leaving the game at 27-0 at half time with no uncertainty about who was making the Super Bowl.
Credit to the Packers, though, they came out in the second half with a point to prove. The last thirty minutes saw both teams add to their totals, and Green Bay won the half scoring 20 points. It wasn’t enough to get them another chance at winning the trophy named after their most famous coach, though, and the Niners ran out 37-20 winners to make the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013.
Nick Bosa has been the stand out player for the Niners this season, with the 22-year-old rookie defensive end having a season to remember. He’s put in 47 tackles for his team this NFL campaign, and that comes alongside nine sacks (3 of which coming in the last two postseason games). In a world where offense gets a lot of the plaudits, it’s only right to take a look at the defensive engine that could make all the difference for the Niners against the Chiefs.
It’s an incredibly tight game to call as the Super Bowl always is, and the Niners fans will be as nervous as they are excited. If we see them play as they did early in the season and across their last four games, then it could be over quickly. Our money is going firmly behind the Niners, but we could end up embarrassed come Monday morning if the Chiefs find their groove on Sunday.