Longest winless Super Bowl droughts in 2024: 49ers actually longer than Cowboys

Steve Young did legendary things vs. the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl 29 back in the day.

Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers / Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what happens Sunday night, something historic will happen in Super Bowl 58. Should the Kansas City Chiefs win, they will be the first team since the 2003-04 New England Patriots to repeat as Super Bowl champions. If the San Francisco 49ers win, it will be their sixth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, but their first since Steve Young and the boys got it done in 1994 vs. the San Diego Chargers.

Despite being one of the most storied franchises in NFL history, it has been a few decades since the 49ers were the last ones standing. They were still really competitive up until Young retired, as well as a few years after that with Jeff Garcia under center. However, the 49ers went to a bad spot for much of the 2000s after that. Jim Harbaugh came over in 2011, and that certainly improved things for them.

After he left to go lead his alma mater of Michigan in 2015, the 49ers went on the downtick for a bit until hiring their current head coach Kyle Shanahan away from the Atlanta Falcons. He brought the 49ers back to the Super Bowl in 2019, but like Harbaugh before him in 2012, San Francisco was unsucessful. As a result, the 49ers still have one of the longest active Super Bowl winless streaks.

Here is a list of every NFL team's most recent Super Bowl victory, as well as the ones who never have.

Only five NFL franchises have won their most recent Super Bowl not as recent as the 49ers have in 1994. That would be 1991 Washington, the 1985 Chicago Bears, the 1983 Oakland Raiders, the 1973 Miami Dolphins and the 1968 New York Jets. 12 teams have not won a Super Bowl before including the Chargers, the Buffalo Bills, the Minnesota Vikings, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Atlanta Falcons.

For those keeping score at home, the Dallas Cowboys won their last Super Bowl way back in 1995.

Longest Super Bowl victory droughts: Where do the 49ers stack up?

Of the 12 teams who have never won one before, three are expansion teams (Carolina, Houston, Jacksonville), four came over in the AFL-NFL merger (Buffalo, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Tennessee), two were relative newcomers to the league in 1960s (Atlanta, Minnesota), and then there's the other three: Arizona, Cleveland and Detroit have all won championships back when it was just the NFL...

I think what this Super Bowl victory drought chart illustrates is just how hard it is to come out on top in this sport. For the better part of two generations, we have thought the 49ers to be a well-run operation, one built on a winning tradition and great pedigree. But in fact, they are one of six teams to last win a Super Bowl back before the internet was really a big thing. In a pre-digital world so to speak.

The crazy part in all this is the 49ers have only been to two Super Bowls since last winning one. They finally got back to the big game in 2012, but Harbaugh lost to his older brother John's Baltimore Ravens team. Only four years ago did Shanahan face the same Chiefs down in Miami. It was Kansas City's first Super Bowl title in 50 years, which was the first of Reid's illustrious coaching career as well.

Either the Chiefs are going back-to-back, or the 49ers are winning their first since the 1994 season.

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