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Fans in the Bay Area are greeting the 2018 season with a renewed sense of optimism following an inspiring end to the 2017 season. Emerging from the ashes of the disastrous season with Chip Kelly, new life was breathed into the team when former NFL player John Lynch was tabbed to become the new general manager for the team. He was tasked with finding the next Head Coach. He chose Kyle Shanahan, an innovative football mind with a pedigree rooted in a familial history with the game. In fact, Kyle’s father, Mike Shanahan, was Lynch’s Head Coach in Denver. Kyle Shanahan had most recently worked as the Offensive Coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.
Things got off to a very rocky start, as the 49ers would lose nine out of their first 10 games. Heading into December, it seemed that the team would be unable to make tangible progress in Shanahan’s first year. However, it now seems that the progress they were looking for was just one player away. Organizations are always looking for that one spark that can jumpstart the whole team. The 49ers found that spark when they called of Jimmy Garoppolo to start for them at Quarterback. Acquired via a blockbuster mid-season trade with the New England Patriots, Garoppolo was on the sidelines for the first few weeks of his tenure with the 49ers.
Garoppolo got his first start in Week 13 and San Francisco went on a five game winning streak to finish the season. Salvaging the final record and reinvigorating the fan base, the 49ers have decided to heavily invest in their new QB. A huge offseason deal was announced that will keep Garoppolo in the Bay Area for the next five years to the tune of $137.5 million, making him the highest paid player in the league on an annual basis.
A receiving corps featuring Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin, paired with George Kittle at tight end gives Garoppolo some decent passing targets. Former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith was added to the defense last year but suffered a season-ending injury prior to the season. He is eager to get back on the field and make a big impact alongside a new teammate. Cornerback Richard Sherman signed with the 49ers and is looking to add to the mix in the backfield. Accurate veteran kicker Robbie Gould is slated to be back knocking extra points and field goals through the uprights this year.
There is a history of success in the Bay Area from which to draw inspiration. San Francisco has won five Super Bowls in their history. Three were under the Hall of Fame Coach Bill Walsh, and two more under his successor, George Seifert.
Notable players to have laced up in the iconic red, white, and gold uniforms include some of the best the NFL has ever had to offer in Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, and Roger Craig. For more about the San Francisco 49ers and their history, click here.