49ers

49ers' turnaround, win improvement has put team in exclusive company

49ers

The 49ers already have completed an historic turnaround, and that's before they take on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday for the chance to advance to Super Bowl LIV.

Simply by making it to the NFC Championship Game, San Francisco has put itself in some exclusive company. According to The San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch, prior to the current 49ers, there had only been five other teams in NFL history to reach the conference title game after winning fewer than five games the previous season.

After going 4-12 last year before improving to 13-3 in 2019, the 49ers joined the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2006 New Orleans Saints, 1999 St. Louis Rams, 1996 Jaguars and 1988 Cincinnati Bengals as the sixth team to accomplish the feat.

Of the five previous teams to do it, only the Bengals and Rams reached the Super Bowl, and only the Rams won it all. San Francisco would love nothing more than to do the same.

[RELATED: 49ers say NFC title game will set Levi's attendance record]

And, if it does, the team will join the '99 Rams in the record books in more ways than one. If the 49ers advance to and win Super Bowl LIV, they'll match them for the largest win improvement (plus-nine) in league history by an NFL champion.

 

Had quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo not gone down with a torn ACL in Week 3 of the 2018 season, chances are the 49ers wouldn't be eligible for any of these accomplishments. If this season has taught us anything, it's that they weren't your run-of-the-mill four-win team a year ago.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.