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FRISCO, Texas -- Did you know the San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl title drought is longer than the Dallas Cowboys? Barely, but it's true. 

The Cowboys get plenty of flak for not having won a Super Bowl or even reaching the NFC Championship Game since the 1995 season, but the 49ers' Super Bowl title drought extends one year further. Their last NFL title came when Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young threw a Super Bowl-record six touchdowns in a 49-26 victory against the San Diego Chargers to conclude the 1994 season. 

However, San Francisco has come close to hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy once more with Super Bowl appearances in the 2012 and 2019 seasons, the last of which ended with a 31-20 defeat against their present day Super Bowl opponent, the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. They led 20-10 entering the final quarter, but the Chiefs outscored them 21-0 to secure the win. 

Their 2012 run came much closer to snapping their Super Bowl dry spell with future Hall of Fame running back Frank Gore leading the charge in Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens. Trailing 34-29 with just under four-and-a-half minutes left, the 49ers had a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown. Gore, who led all players that night with 110 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, barreled San Francisco down near the end zone, setting up a first-and-goal at the 7-yard-line with 2:47 left to play. 

Four plays came and went without Gore touching the ball again as his backup LaMichael James had a 2-yard carry followed by three consecutive incompletions by quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Ravens prevailed 34-31 after taking a safety as a mechanism to burn time off the clock. 

Now, the NFL's third all-time leading rusher (16,000 rushing yards in 16 career seasons), returns to the big game with his 49ers, the squad who drafted him in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft and where he spent his first 10 seasons (2005-2014). This time, it's as a member of the front office in a football personnel advisor capacity, a role he signed for back in July. 

"I work in the front office doing scouting, both pro and college as a football personnel advisor," Gore said of his front-office role with San Francisco. 

When asked about the prospect of winning his first Super Bowl ring on Sunday and doing it with San Francisco, he lit up. "Hell yeah," he said.

"I would be happy because I love the owners and the family [the Yorks]. They've been great to me," Gore said. "[Head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and [general manager] John [Lynch] have been cool and great to me. I've been in the building helping out. I see the guys working their behinds off, and I know how hard it is to get to this moment. They have a bunch of guys who go about the right way. I would be blessed to get one with them."

(Super Bowl LVIII will be broadcast on CBS and Nickelodeon and you can stream it on Paramount+; here's how to watch)

The 49ers' all-time leader in rushing yards (11,073) can certainly appreciate what NFL MVP finalist and 2023 First-Team All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey is doing for San Francisco this season. He led the NFL in rushing yards (1,459) and scrimmage yards (2,023) while co-leading the league in scrimmage touchdowns (21). This production came after the 49ers were critiqued for trading four draft picks (second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks) for McCaffrey last season when he had missed 17 games the previous two seasons (2020 and 2021) and had the richest running back contract in the league (a four-year, $64 million deal with an NFL running back-high $16 million in average annual salary). 

"Late in the season, playoff push and Super Bowl push, you have to have a dynamic running back," Gore said. "What he's doing, I don't care about what they say about [running backs] at a certain age because Christian McCaffrey ... McCaffrey had an MVP season. I'm happy he's doing what he's doing."  

Gore Jr., star of Shine Bowl, will root for Chiefs

However, Gore may not be as happy with the Super Bowl rooting interests of his son, East-West Shrine Bowl Offensive MVP Frank Gore. Jr. The 21-year-old Gore Jr. grew up a 49ers fan, glued to the TV watching his dad bulldoze NFL defenses. 

"When I would go play out of town, my mom would say he [Gore Jr.], is sitting in front of the TV the whole time and watch the game like he knew what he was looking at," Gore said. 

Gore Jr. attested to his early 49ers fandom, but once his father and the 49ers parted ways following the 2014 season, his allegiances changed. Gore suited up for the Indianapolis Colts (2015-2017), Miami Dolphins (2018), Buffalo Bills (2019) and New York Jets (2020) to conclude his football playing career. 

"Growing up, earlier I was a 49ers fan, but once my dad started switching teams, I found I'm a Chiefs fan now," Gore Jr. said. 

His initial and obvious answer to how he became attached to Kansas City is simple: two-time NFL and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a player he has been watching since his college days at Texas Tech. Gore Jr. pointed to specific, eye-catching matchups involving Mahomes against quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners and Mahomes against Trevon Boykin and the TCU Horned Frogs in the Big 12. 

Mahomes totaled 819 yards (734 passing and 85 rushing) and seven touchdowns (five passing and two rushing) in a 66-59 loss to Mayfield (545 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns) and the Sooners in 2016. He put up 428 total yards (392 passing and 36 rushing) and three touchdowns (two passing and one rushing in a 55-52 loss to Boykin (484 passing yards and four passing touchdowns) and the Horned Frogs in 2015. 

"Patrick Mahomes has been my favorite since he's came into the league because I watched him in college," Gore Jr. said. "We used to have all those crazy battles against Baker Mayfield [at Oklahoma], Trevone Boykin [at TCU] and all them guys."

He pushed back against the notion his dad could be upset with his fandom this week, explaining that his affection for the Chiefs actually predates Mahomes' time in Kansas City because of a player with a connection to his father: quarterback Alex Smith. Smith, the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, spent eight years as Gore's teammate after the two were both part of the same 49ers draft class.

"Nah," Gore Jr. said when it was mentioned he and his father will have different rooting interests on Sunday. "He can't be mad. This has been my team for a while. Yeah [because of Mahomes], but they had [quarterback] Alex Smith, too. Alex Smith played with my dad, so I watched him. I knew Mahomes was on the team [starting in 2017], but he was Smith's backup there. I was rooting for them [the Chiefs with Smith]. I watched him [Alex Smith] play a lot growing up."

Gore laughed and said "he's a Chiefs fan" when the topic of conversation shifted his son's football fandom, a sign it's not going to be a major issue for the family running backs. The son and the father naturally have contrasting game predictions. 

"Chiefs 31, 49ers 21," Gore Jr. said, alluding to a similar finish as the matchup in Super Bowl LIV that finished the 2019 season. 

Gore's prediction didn't involve score, but he does believe he will be celebrating his first championship with his 49ers. 

"We're just going to win, score doesn't matter," Gore said when asked for his Super Bowl mindset and prediction. "We're going to win."

The two won't be together on Super Bowl Sunday with Gore in Las Vegas with the 49ers, and his son back home. The reason he isn't in Vegas with his dad is simple to Frank Sr.

"He has to train," Gore said. 

Gore Jr. went for an East-West Shrine Bowl game-high 87 rushing yards on six carries, 49 of which came on his scoring sprint to the end zone for the game's first touchdown to earn MVP honors. When Gore Jr. did his postgame media availability on the field at The Ford Center, his father was standing just off in the distance, smiling with his son's MVP trophy tucked under his arm. The next stop in his draft process is the NFL Scouting Combine before Pro Days and private workouts leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft at the end of April. When Gore Jr. does hear his name called, no one will be more proud than his dad.

"He needs to keep working, and keep checking boxes," Gore said. "At the end of the day, when it's draft day, we'll pray as a family, and hopefully his name gets called. So far, he's been working his heart off, and I've been a proud, proud father."