It often takes multiple championships before a team can be considered a dynasty in pro sports. It's one thing to climb to the top of the mountain once, but staying there year after year is what separates the good teams from the great.
While the 49ers did come up short in Super Bowl LIV this past February, plenty of factors would point to the 49ers currently having one of the most wide-open championship windows in the NFL.
NFL teams that advance all the way through the playoff gauntlet often must deal with several salary-cap casualties in the following offseason. A player's stock often is never higher than after a run to the Super Bowl, and opposing teams will prioritize and sometimes overpay those players that shined amid the bright lights in free agency.
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Both Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner entered this offseason seeking big-time extensions with the 49ers after dominant seasons. Buckner might have been more productive, but the Niners elected to pay Armstead and turn Buckner into the No. 13 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, which eventually became Javon Kinlaw after a trade back.
Emmanuel Sanders was acquired midseason and many fans knew the wideout likely would be a rental before testing the free-agent market. Sure enough, a great year in San Francisco allowed Sanders to parlay that into a two-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.
General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan made sure to plug every hole in the roster through the draft and free agency. Lose Sanders, draft speedster Brandon Aiyuk in the first round. Lose franchise icon Joe Staley to retirement, acquire Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams in a trade that same day.
We likely also haven't seen the best from Jimmy Garoppolo, given that he still only has 26 starts under his belt. The signal-caller opposite him in Super Bowl LIV who is more than three years younger than Garoppolo -- Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes -- already has 31. Rumors have floated about San Francisco bringing in a more proven quarterback this offseason, but Garoppolo had a career year and deserves at least another shot to see if he can help the 49ers get over the hump.
Even if he can't, Shanahan has proven he can make an offense work with a guy like Nick Mullens at quarterback. He builds his scheme around the personnel he's given, the mark of a truly great coach.
Tight end George Kittle and star defensive end Nick Bosa will be in line for contract extensions in the near future, likely complicating how long the 49ers can afford to keep the whole band together in Santa Clara.
Shanahan and Lynch both have multiple years remaining on their contracts, and likely will get extensions either this offseason or next if their wave of success continues. Organizational continuity is critical in creating and maintaining a dynasty. It took less than three years for these two to take the 49ers from the laughingstock of the NFL to arguably the league's most dangerous team.
Plenty of young talent on team-friendly contracts gives San Francisco at least the next two to three seasons to continue making pushes for the Super Bowl. Now that Tom Brady has taken his talents to Tampa, who will topple the Patriots as the NFL's next dynasty?
It very well could be the 49ers.