MIAMI, Fla. -- When John Lynch was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993, it had been over a decade since the club has been a part of the postseason. 

Lynch's challenging journey to winning Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 is very similar to the 49ers' path to Miami in 2020. 

“I remember in Tampa when we won our Super Bowl, Warren Sapp saying something like, ‘We’ve gone from a third world country to the Taj Mahal,’ ” the 49ers general manager said Wednesday. “So I think there was something sweet about starting at the bottom. 

“And I was there in ’93. They would make jokes about us all the time. We were the worst franchise in all of sports. So to end up winning a Super Bowl in my home town, I think that made it all the more sweet.”  

Just one year ago, the 49ers had the dubious honor of coaching the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., an opportunity given to the teams with the worst records. Of course, every cloud has silver lining, and the 49ers coaching staff worked very closely with Deebo Samuel and Dre Greenlaw, who each have made huge contributions on the team’s road to Miami.  

At some point during that week in Alabama, Lynch and his staff discussed the phrase, “Mobile to Miami” as a goal. Once the 49ers punched their ticket to Super Bowl LIV, Lynch proudly shared a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase. 

 

“You know, I think just not even Mobile,” Lynch said. “I think that first year being 0-9 and just looking at each other and going, ‘Wow,’ but still feeling good about where we were going."

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Lynch believes that the struggles the team went through in his first two seasons as general manager built the foundation of the bond they all share today, just as it did for him in Tampa 17 years ago. 

“I think when you do go through struggles together and you come out the other side it make the bond closer because adversity, you’re really tested,” Lynch said. “Your beliefs are tested, your relationships are tested and you better stick to our beliefs. 

“I think the fact that we did, and not everybody as been together those three years, but there’s a great bond on this team that I think is born in a lot of those working through tough times, but coming out on the other side.” 

The 49ers have one more game to make the journey complete, paralleling Lynch’s first Super Bowl win as a player.