Like a confident college kid going out on the town with important plans in the morning, Arik Armstead and the 49ers are confident they won't have a hangover.
Easier said than done.
Only three teams in NFL history have won the Super Bowl the year after losing on sports' biggest stage. Many runners-up make it back to the playoffs, while some fall completely out of the playoff picture, succumbing to the dreaded Super Bowl hangover. The 49ers' 2020 "Revenge Tour" will have to overcome the half-myth, half-fact that is the Super Bowl hangover while also navigating a tough schedule and incorporating some new pieces into the roster. Arik Armstead, who agreed to a lucrative new contract in the offseason, believes his team has what it takes to dodge the pitfalls of a Super Bowl hangover.
"I think our team is built the right way," Armstead said Wednesday on "Good Morning Football." "Complete roster from top to bottom. We don't just have a couple guys who we rely on on Sundays to make plays. Guys step up all over the field all the time. Offense, defense, special teams. So I think we're really complete and I think we're built for the long haul.
"I'm excited to get back on this journey when all this COVID-19 clears up, hopefully soon. Get back win this journey to get back to the Super Bowl and hopefully get a dub this time."
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The 49ers do have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, and general manager John Lynch was able to fill the holes that materialized with the trade of DeForest Buckner, loss of Emmanuel Sanders and retirement of Joe Staley. The 49ers drafted defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the first round and then traded for seven-time Pro-Bowl selection Trent Williams to take over Staley's post.
In order to get back to the Super Bowl and finish the job, the 49ers will need a few things to happen.
First, they will need a committee of wide receivers, Aiyuk included, to make up for what they lost when Sanders left for the New Orleans Saints. After coming over in a midseason trade from the Denver Broncos, Sanders proved to be an important target for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and was a mentor to Deebo Samuel, who now will be tasked with being the No. 1 receiver.
The 49ers also must get better in the red zone on both sides of the ball. They ranked 21st in the NFL in offensive red zone efficiency while their defense ranked 22nd in that department.
Garoppolo also must take a leap in 2020 and prove he's the franchise quarterback many believe him to be. He was solid in 2019, but made too many careless decisions with the football. The 49ers will continue to be a run-first team, but another year of growth for Garoppolo is needed if they are to finish the job this time around.
The 49ers will face a tough road to Tampa Bay and Super Bowl LV. But they are the prohibitive favorites to represent the NFC yet again.
They just have to avoid the hangover. Something that's easier said than done.