For the first time in franchise history, it's the 49ers' turn.
Can they indeed rebound to claim the Lombardi Trophy, a redemption tour completed only by the 1971 Dallas Cowboys and the famously undefeated, 1972 Miami Dolphins?
Or, in a worst-case scenario, could the 49ers improbably vanish from contention? Seven of the past 12 Super Bowl runners-up failed to even make the playoffs: the 2001 Giants, 2002 Rams, 2003 Raiders, 2004 Panthers, 2005 Eagles, 2007 Bears and 2008 Patriots.
Such history aside, the 49ers will report fully to training camp Wednesday as an odds-on favorite to win Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey.
That's because their roster remains stacked (8 of 9 Pro Bowlers return), Jim Harbaugh's coaching staff is intact and quarterback Colin Kaepernick is evolving into a dynamic asset for what's been a defensive-oriented contender.
"He did a lot when he got his opportunity," running back Frank Gore said last month of Kaepernick. "He took advantage of it, had a great run. He's looking to do even more stuff this year."
The same could be said of the 49ers as a whole.
Plenty of intrigue remains, however, as they head into training camp at their Santa Clara facility, next to the growing shadow of a $1.3 billion stadium that will house them in 2014. (Practices are closed to the public; their first full-squad workout is Thursday afternoon.
Many drills surely will focus on last postseason's shortcomings, specifically their defense's porous secondary, their special teams' not-so special coverage and their offense's red-zone struggles (see: five yards from a Super Bowl-winning touchdown, doh!).
General manager Trent Baalke addressed those concerns with a bevy of personnel moves, some of which intensified their NFC West turf war with the Seattle Seahawks.
As the 49ers go in search of their third straight division title, they'll do so without some key players: quarterback Alex Smith, safety Dashon Goldson, tight end Delanie Walker, kicker David Akers and defensive linemen Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois.
To combat those exits, Baalke brought in veteran reinforcements: quarterback Colt McCoy, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomuga and Eric Wright, safety Craig Dahl and kicker Phil Dawson.
Unlike last year's draft class, more immediate production is needed out of this year's top three picks: safety Eric Reid, defensive lineman Tank Carradine and tight end Vance McDonald.
Right tackle Anthony Davis won this offseason's contract-extension sweepstakes, and defensive lineman Justin Smith staved off a lame-duck season by personally negotiating a two-year extension.
Smith's rationale for signing that new deal: "To be on a great team and go for the championship."
The greatest competitions - or questions - can be found this camp at wide receiver, cornerback and safety.
Can A.J. Jenkins go from a zero-catch rookie season to a realistic replacement for Michael Crabtree, who tore his Achilles in May? Can Asomugha and Wright dispatch some of last season's cornerbacks? Can Reid mesh quickly with one of the NFL's elite defenses?
Ultimately, only one question matters: Can the 49ers end their 18-year wait for a Super Bowl win and thus avenge last season's 34-31 loss to the champion Baltimore Ravens?