How San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl Demise Serves Los Angeles Rams A Cautionary Tale

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Most would agree that as February ends and March begins, the Los Angeles Rams are currently in a less emotional spot than the San Francisco 49ers. The Super Bowl loss is only a few weeks old and as the 49ers come to grips with succumbing in the fifth quarter of the final game of the season to Patrick Mahomes, the Los Angeles Rams have already turned the page to 2024.

However, before diving in headfirst into next season, it is worth doubling back to take a lesson from the San Francisco 49ers. Heading into the game, LAFB was present at the San Francisco 49ers’ team hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the team’s press conference, I asked both Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey about their preparation for the Big Game.

One of the biggest rules of sports preparation dictates that professional players explore every avenue of preparation to glean any edge they can. However, both Christian McCaffrey and Brock Purdy essentially laughed off one avenue of preparation that may have done wonders for getting a bit of artificial Super Bowl experience.

For just tens of dollars, both players could have gotten a somewhat photo-realistic simulation of what it was going to look like to walk into Allegiant Stadium for the Super Bowl. The method, of course, would be to boot up a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X with the Madden video games. LAFB asked both players about the game’s role in the week.

How San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl Demise Serves Los Angeles Rams A Cautionary Tale

I asked Christian McCaffrey to compare the experience of playing in the Super Bowl to what it’s like to play in Madden’s version of the Big Game. He answered, “This is much more exciting.” It was a rejection of the game at its core and indicated that he ignored the game’s potential to help.

I was a bit more direct with Brock Purdy, asking him point-blank if he used the video game to help his preparation for the Super Bowl or any other football games this year. This was his response, appearing to stifle a chuckle:

“No, I haven’t. I played Madden growing up and stuff but to prepare for the games that I’ve played in, I haven’t used Madden.”

The conversation took place near the tail-end of the week on Thursday afternoon and by Sunday afternoon, the 49ers had lost the Super Bowl. While squarely pinning the blame on the quarterback and running back for not using the video game is likely unfair, it does serve as one example of a larger issue that may have plagued the preparation.

Turning up one’s nose at a potential resource or otherwise scoffing at Madden opens up the possibility that the team did so at other resources as well. The attitude towards ignoring those resources may have been the reason for the loss as much as the overtime decision-making by the coaching staff (Andy Reid infamously takes inspiration from anywhere, offering at least an example to his players to do the same).

There’s also a chance, that had the team used the video game, they might have triggered overtime in the game and had more of an opportunity to learn the rules, as news has broken following the game that some players were unversed in the new overtime rules.

In the end, Sean McVay can use the 49ers’ loss as a case study of why it is important to give every resource an honest, thorough evaluation before discarding it. If the Los Angeles Rams can leverage one more resource that their opponent had previously laughed off, they have a greater chance to win.