Steve Young knows what it's like to be the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback, and he doesn't envy the position Trey Lance is in.
"Let's not dance around the truth—Trey's got a nearly impossible job," the Hall of Famer told the San Francisco Chronicle's Michael Silver. "How many bodies have broken trying to do that? Death or glory, right? And it's 95 percent death.
"I've got to be honest with you: This job has always been a Super Bowl-or-bust job. Let's admit it: It's a high-wire act for anybody. Trey's goal right now is not to hold the team back."
Young added that the presence of Jimmy Garoppolo "does not change the job" and that Lance or any quarterback is "not gonna make it anyway" if it affects him.
Expectations were high for Lance after the 49ers traded up to select him third overall in the 2021 NFL draft. It doesn't help that he'll be measured against the standard Young and Joe Montana set when they called the Bay Area home.
Montana guided the 49ers to four Super Bowl titles as a starter, while Young was a two-time MVP and led San Francisco to another title in the 1994 season.
Lance won't be considered a bust if he fails to match Montana and Young's achievements, but anything short of winning the Super Bowl will likely be a disappointment.
The jury remains out on the 22-year-old, as it would be with any quarterback in his second year and his first full season as a starter. His performance hasn't provided any clarity. Through seven appearances, he has thrown for 767 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions, and his Week 1 production in sloppy conditions (13-of-28 for 164 yards and one interception) left a lot to be desired.
Now that he's QB1, Lance will have every opportunity to silence his skeptics, but Young's comments underscore the enormity of the task.