After a rough 6-10 record in 2010, the San Francisco 49ers bounced back better than most anyone had expected they would in 2011. A 13-3 mark would certainly quiet any doubters with what Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke were trying to do in San Francisco and it would also bring back the pride to a franchise once considered the best in the league.
However, with that return to relevance comes many challenges - mainly in their 2012 schedule. They play five playoff teams from 2011 - three of them on the road - and face a couple of teams who narrowly missed the playoffs in 2011 - the Chicago Bears and New York Jets.
So without anything to truly significant to predict the 49ers' record in 2012, I thought maybe we could take a look at history and see what it has to say about the 49ers. Let's see how the 49ers have fared in their franchise history when coming off a 13-win season - and how they might fare in 2012.
1982: 3-6 record
In 1981 the 49ers were the kings of the NFL and won Super Bowl XVI after amassing a 13-3 regular season record. However, the next year wouldn't be so kind to the 49ers - or most of the NFL. In a strike-shortened season, the team went 3-6 and didn't even come close to making the playoffs.
1988: 10-6 record
In 1987 the NFL would once again have a strike, only this time after two weeks of play replacement players filled the shoes of those athletes on strike. Week 3 of the NFL season was cancelled, resulting in a 15-game season. Regardless the 49ers would win 13 games en route to a 13-2 record. The next season, the 49ers would go 10-6 and win Super Bowl XXIII over the Cincinnati Bengals.
1995: 11-5 record
In 1994, the 49ers were once again sitting atop the NFL with their fifth Super Bowl championship after going 13-3 in the regular season. The next season, the team would go 11-5 and lose in the NFC Divisional playoffs against the Green Bay Packers 27-17.
1998: 12-4 record
In 1997, the 49ers would amass a 13-3 record, but would eventually lose in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. However, 1998 would bring redemption as the 49ers would defeat the Packers in dramatic fashion with what would become instantly known as "The Catch II" - Steve Young's 25-yard touchdown pass to a young Terrell Owens. Despite the drama, the 49ers would lose in the NFC Divisional playoffs to the Atlanta Falcons.
2012: 11-5 record (Prediction)
In 2011, the 49ers surprised the entire league and went 13-3. If I had to put a potential record to their 2012 season it would have to be 11-5. There are a lot of tough opponents and the 49ers will have to bring their A-game to defeat some of them.
The one good thing I can say about history is that it often repeats itself and in three of the four years the 49ers have had a 13-win season, they have won the Super Bowl during that season or in the following year. And seeing as the 49ers didn't win the Super Bowl in their 2011 13-win season, 2012 holds what should be a historic year for the 49ers.
Food for thought: Throw down your predictions for the 49ers' 2012 regular season record. Do you think 2012 will be the year the 49ers capture that elusive sixth Super Bowl title? If not, who will be taking home the Lombardi Trophy?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
Pro-Football-Reference.com. 49ers' Team History. NFL 2012.
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