Bright Future For San Francisco 49ers Despite Super Bowl Setback
The Quest For Six goes on.
The long journey home from New Orleans would have been somewhat subdued compared to what might have been.
Questions will be asked as to if they did enough? Were they prepared enough?
It's all hindsight of course, no point second guessing now.
One thing is for certain though, the San Francisco organisation can be proud of what they have achieved over the last two seasons.
Two seasons ago they were a team with talent but no end product, at 6-10 it showed. A turnaround last year when they finished just a field goal away from a trip to the party, they went one better this year and reached the promised land. Well, New Orleans.
The transition has been quick and forceful. Some big decisions have been made along the way, namely that of the enforced change at quarterback, which soon became the best and perfect fit for the offense.
This 49ers' team is young, built to play hard and fast. The defense has remained a big deal and now their colleagues on the other side of the ball are a potent threat.
Looking ahead then, they will stay strong and probably get stronger. They have a potential 14 picks in this April's Draft. Only one in the first round, but an extra three in later rounds acquired via trades in last year's Draft. In addition they could have up to three more picks in the compensatory round, from free agent losses.
A healthy crop of young players coming into an already young and hungry roster. Or, of course these picks could be used as bait for higher picks this year. They could be needed to replace some of the starters currently unsigned. They include free safety Dashon Goldson, wide receiver Randy Moss and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. Free agents include return specialist Ted Ginn Jr., tight end Delanie Walker and defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois.
Whatever happens over the coming months, time that will include how they handle the impending trade of now backup quarterback Alex Smith, the 49ers are a team on the up. It's just a case of when and not if they win the Super Bowl again.