Oh to come so close yet come so far — that was the exact thing Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers were trying to avoid during their revenge match against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl four years in the making. It's difficult enough to get to the Big Game, hence why teams must make the most out of the opportunity on the grandest stage in American sports.
Alas, as is the case in every winner-take-all championship game, one must lose and one must win, and unfortunately for the 49ers, they ended up on the losing side against the Chiefs once again. This time, however, they fell in even more excruciating fashion, suffering a 25-22 defeat in overtime after failing to score a touchdown in their lone drive in extra period.
Now, what will come for the 49ers after a defeat of this magnitude is the necessary emotional processing that will allow them to put this defeat in the rearview mirror in preparation for another push next season. And the first step in that is acknowledging the pain, which Kyle Shanahan did in his Super Bowl postgame presser.
“It’s two really good teams [that] went back and forth throughout the whole game. Both teams played their a**es off. But in the end they got it done,” Shanahan said, per NFL on FOX via ClutchPoints Twitter. “Obviously, we’re hurt. Our team’s hurting, but that’s how it goes when you put yourself out there. […] It takes some time. We'll get over this. We'll come back next year ready to go.”
It'll take an exceptionally resilient bunch to get over the loss the 49ers suffered through; they got the scoring going, even taking a 10-0 lead, but the Chiefs, thanks to their championship pedigree, weathered the early storm like Super Bowl winners do.
As long as the 49ers bring back their top guys and focus on improving upon their execution around the margins, they should be right there among the NFL's biggest contenders for the Super Bowl in 2025. But for now, let the healing commence from the flurry of what-ifs that are inevitably going to burrow their way into their minds.