Daniel Jones, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle Shanahan
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Giants can look to the San Francisco 49ers for motivation heading into the 2020 season and beyond. 

Jason Leach

As we all know, the New York Giants have fallen on hard times since they won their last Super Bowl in 2011. They’ve made only made one playoff appearance since then, and have made three coaching changes since 2015.

In addition, for one reason or another, the team has been unable to retain some of their key players. Sterling Shepard, who they drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft is poised to be the longest-tenured Giant with the Eli Manning and Zak DeOssie unlikely to return in 2020.

It seems that new head coach Joe Judge has a daunting task in front of him, considering, in the last three seasons, the Giants have a record of 12-36.

But the road to bringing the Giants back to respectability may not be as long as some may anticipate. For example, all you have to do is look at how quickly the San Francisco 49ers went from being one of the laughing stocks of the league to hosting the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The 49ers went 13-3 this season while earning the top seed in the NFC side of the playoffs. But over the previous three seasons, they had a combined record of 12-36.

The 49ers record in the last three seasons prior to 2019:

  • 2016: 2-14
  • 2017: 6-10
  • 2018: 4-12

The beginning of the turnaround began in 2017 when the team found a gem in the fifth round of the draft in tight end George Kittle (146th overall). In the middle of that season, they would make a trade with the New England Patriots and acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

They would continue to add key pieces the following offseason by acquiring free agents Richard Sherman and former Giant center Weston Richburg. They would follow that up with a solid draft in which they took offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey in the first round (ninth overall) and linebacker Fred Warner in the third round (70th overall).

The 49ers seemed poised to take a huge leap in 2018, but things fell apart when Garoppolo tore his ACL in the team’s Week 3 38-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

You never want any of your players to sustain a serious injury, especially your quarterback, but Garoppolo’s injury put them in position to draft Nick Bosa with the second overall pick in the 2019 draft. The addition of Bosa and Dee Ford, who the 49ers traded for from the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round pick in the 2020 draft, solidified the 49ers front seven as one of the best in the league, and is one of the reasons why they’re playing in the NFC Championship Game.

The 49ers turnaround wasn’t easy but as you can see they were able to build a championship-caliber team in a short amount of time. This is not to say that the Giants will be able to turn things around as quickly as the 49ers, but they do have several things that bode well for them going forward.

The Giants have the fourth pick in the upcoming draft and based on how well general manager Dave Gettleman first-round picks have turned out, in Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, Big Blue will land another impact player. In addition, it’s projected the Giants will have anywhere between $63 and $71 million in cap space to acquire free agents that will help the team in 2020.

Considering the Giants already have a young group of talented young players such as Jones, Barkley, Dexter Lawrence, Will Hernandez and others, the turnaround may not take as long as you would think.

As disappointing and bleak things have been for the Giants over the past few seasons, all you have to do is look at what the 49ers have done and you’ll see that there is hope for the New York Giants and perhaps in a few seasons they’ll be in the championship game.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.