The San Francisco 49ers are defined by a culture of resilience

49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Turning ahead to the new decade, the resilience of the San Francisco 49ers has propelled them to new heights and now an NFC Championship appearance.

For the first time since 2013, the San Francisco 49ers are back in the NFC Championship. The franchise’s return to dominance comes from a strong culture of resilience that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan established over the last three years.

“The West-Coast Cardiacs” have thrived in late-game situations to the shock of much of the country. Many try to explain this success through analytics, but it is the stories and the character of the team that has propelled them to new heights.

Starting off with the team’s architect, John Lynch deserves an extreme amount of credit for the 49ers’ recent success.

Lynch had an uncommonly high-profile journey to becoming an NFL executive. After a Hall of Fame career, he moved to the press box as a color commentator with Fox.

Lynch impressed many during his eight-year tenure as a broadcaster, leading many to speculate about the possibility of him joining an NFL front office.

On January 29th, 2017 that possibility turned into reality as he was named general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. In spite of having no previous front office experience, owner Jed York gambled his franchise on John Lynch.

After being named the 2020 NFL Executive of the Year, it is safe to say ownership made the right call. Lynch brought back a resilient NFL mindset to the 49ers’ front office, something they lacked during the end of the Trent Baalke era.

Enough cannot be said about the work of Kyle Shanahan, the offensive guru has established one of the most prolific run offenses in the NFL. If that was not enough his offense also features the best tight end in football and a promising young quarterback in Jimmy Garropolo.

Shanahan studied under his father and two-time Super-Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan. Following in his father’s footsteps, the main voice of the 49ers is determined to guide a locker room to the Super Bowl.

The defensive mind of the 49ers, Robert Saleh comes from much more humble beginnings. The team’s defensive coordinator was raised in the small town of Dearborn, Michigan. Saleh exhibits a sense of Midwest grit that comes from his early years.

That grit can now be seen in the play of every single defensive player on the team. The 49ers allowed just 281 yards per game this season, just behind the New England Patriots for second in the NFL.

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Simply put, the numbers speak for themselves and Robert Saleh is the mastermind behind all of it.

There are so many gritty resilient players on the team it is hard to give enough credit to everyone who deserves it. With that being said, clear leaders have emerged on this team and their impact does not go unnoticed.

At just 26-years-old, George Kittle has grown into the leader of this offense, using his plethora of abilities to make him the featured weapon of the team. The Iowa product serves as both the main deep threat for the pass offense and key run protector.

It is extremely uncommon to see someone that can pancake a linebacker on one play and then catch the football for 40 yards the next snap. He plays that well on a week-to-week basis to catapult the Niners into success.

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The tight end is the biggest personality on the team and is constantly interacting with fans and the media. Flashy both on and off the field, Kittle makes San Francisco more personable and fun to watch.

But being fun is not the only aspect that makes Kittle so great. He is a proven leader that has helped grow other young players within the locker room.

His calming and fun presence helps younger 49ers looking to make their mark at the highest level. The third-year leader will hopefully stay with the team for years to come.

The last leader of the locker room is Richard Sherman, who provides the most winning experience to the team. After shining with the “Legion of Boom” on the rival Seattle Seahawks, Sherman took his talents to the Bay.

The corner has been nothing short of stellar since he changed locker rooms. On a defense that boasts young talent like Nick Bosa and Kwon Alexander, the Stanford alum is a dominant veteran presence.

Every corner is expected to be good in coverage, but what truly sets Sherman apart is his run support. A tackling tiger by nature, the ninth-year star uses his impressive acceleration to trap running backs before they get into open space.

Similar to Kittle, Sherman is the jack-of-all-trades on the defense and he knows it too. His strong outspoken personality gives the 49ers defense more character. The veteran cornerback plays with a chip on his shoulder and it shows with his aggressiveness on the field.

Next. San Francisco 49ers: 3 keys to victory in NFC Championship Game against the Packers. dark

This team is special because they have grit and they have resilience. The San Francisco 49ers are a sight to watch and should be fully expected to shine this coming game.