Fresh off of their loss in Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers are already turning the page on the season, and vowing to turn their focus to next season and making another run at the Lombardi Trophy.
“I’m sorry, this is super disappointing,” 49ers’ veteran left tackle Joe Staley said following the game, according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. “This is very hard being in this moment right now. You put your heart and soul and whole entire life into trying to be a Super Bowl champion. And you get towards the end of your career and you realize how rare these opportunities are. Emotions are all still raw and real for me right now. I’m trying to answer questions, and I’m sorry that I’m not, but put yourself in my shoes for a second. It’s tough.”
“It shouldn’t be a problem,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We’ll lick our wounds, we’ll get over this. We’ll be fired up for next year, we got a lot of people coming back. I think we surprised a lot of people this year. We knew we had a really good team, I’m very proud of the guys and how much better they got throughout this year, and I expect to get almost all of these guys back and plan on adding a few more.
“We’re going to rest a little bit, get over this, but we’ll be very fired up for next year.”
For now, though, the Niners are feeling the hurt of letting the game slip out of their hands in the 4th quarter.
“We had the momentum, but Mahomes made a great throw [to Tyreek Hill],” 49ers safety Jimmie Ward said. “We just had to finish. They ended up being the better team the second half. You’ve got to take your hat off to those guys. They played great and ended up finishing.”
“It definitely hurts,” 49ers’ fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. “At the end of the day, that’s exactly the position we wanted to be in. So, I think that makes it hurt a little bit more, but you couldn’t have asked to be in a better situation.”
The 49ers were up 20-10 with 7:17 left in the game, when it all started to fall apart. Many are criticizing Shanahan for not being aggressive enough to put the game out of reach and cap off a Super Bowl victory.
“I think the turning point was when we got a turnover and then we didn’t execute on offense and they got the ball right back and drove it 87 yards or however far it was,” 49ers’ tight end George Kittle said. “As an offense, we have to end the game right there, and we didn’t.”
The Chiefs went on to score 21 unanswered points to secure the comeback win and the Super Bowl title.