All coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch needed were three seasons to overhaul the 49ers and make it all the way to the Super Bowl. They're a perfect union off to a historic start.
But they're not the best coach-GM duo in the NFL. Not yet at least.
NFL Media's Bucky Brooks released his top five coach-GM duos in the NFL on Friday, and placed the 49ers right behind the Baltimore Ravens. That's exactly what the top of the list should be, too, despite the 49ers reaching the Super Bowl last season and the Baltimore Ravens falling the first round yet again. This is more an argument of proven longevity than anything else.
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta only is in his second season with that title, but he has been with the team since the start. Literally. DeCosta started out as a scouting intern in 1996, the team's first season. He has been an area scout, director of college scouting, director of player personnel and assistant GM before his current position.
As DeCosta has had his hands on the Ravens since the start, coach John Harbaugh has been running the show on the field since 2008. Harbaugh has averaged just under 10 wins per season, has reached the playoff eight times and has a Super Bowl ring to his name.
The Ravens have been one of the best teams in the NFL year in and year out during the draft, free agency and adding stars on the trade market. They're successful on a consistent basis, and should be for years to come with Lamar Jackson leading the way.
That's not to say the 49ers don't deserve to at least be debated for the top spot. They too have succeeded in the draft, free agency and the trade market. Going from 10 wins in two years to being minutes away from champions is no small feat.
Now with the Shanahan and Lynch signed for the long-term, they must prove they can be consistent contenders in the highly competitive NFC West. Before we know it, these two could be ahead of Baltimore. Brooks has the Ravens, 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs as his top four duos. Shanahan and Lynch being ahead of those last two teams shows just how much they have turned around the 49ers.
Shanahan and Lynch are off to the start 49ers fans could only hope for when they were hired ahead of the 2017 season. Now, it's time to avoid a Super Bowl hangover and prove sustained success.