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Team Guide for The San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have an extremely rich history filled with legendary coaches, iconic players, and a whole lot of winning. The franchise has been in rebuilding mode in recent years, but as of late, they’re on the upward swing.

If you’re a San Francisco fan and are looking for a one-stop shop to find all the latest information on the San Francisco 49ers, you’ve come to the right place. Our 49ers’ Team Guide will provide you with the latest stats, recent history, and records that you’re searching for.

San Francisco 49ers Overview and Key Information

Not only do the San Francisco 49ers have five Super Bowl Championships to their name, but they’re one of the most successful NFL franchises overall, having set a variety of records on the field.

The 49ers spent their inaugural season as a member of the AAFC in 1946 and became an NFL team when the leagues merged in 1949. While the earlier days were less than noteworthy, the team was nearly unstoppable in the ‘80s, earning four titles (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV) from 1981 through 1989 and a fifth (XXIX) in 1994.

San Francisco has made 26 playoff appearances since 1949 and has won 19 division championships as a member of the NFC West since 1970. In 2012, the 49ers had a shot at a sixth Super Bowl ring, but instead, they ended up with a 5-1 record for championship games.

San Francisco 49ers – Key Info
NFC East
Current Team Location
San Francisco, California
Levi’s Stadium
Head Coach
Kyle Shanahan
Denise DeBartolo York and John York
Team Value (Forbes 2018)
$3.05 billion (6th)

San Francisco 49ers Team History

The San Francisco 49ers started as a charter member of the AAFC (All-America Football Conference) in 1946 before the leagues merged in 1949. Their name is an homage to the California Gold Rush of 1849.

In the four years of AAFC play, the 49ers finished second each season and made the playoffs in 1949, losing the final AAFC Championship to the Browns 7-21.

As an NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers started out slowly with only one postseason appearance (1957) within a 20-year period. From 1970-1972, they made the playoffs each season. But everything changed for the 49ers in 1979 when Bill Walsh was hired and completely turned the franchise around.

Super Bowl Appearances and Playoff History

The combination of quarterback Joe Montana and head coach Bill Walsh was precisely what the doctor ordered. The 49ers had their first Super Bowl (and NFL) Championship at XVI, beating the Bengals by a score of 26-21.

A second Big Game appearance followed in 1984. This time, it was a 38-16 defeat of the Dolphins at Super Bowl XIX. Joe Montana earned Super Bowl MVP honors once again. In 1988, the 49ers were back to face the Bengals for the second time in Super Bowl XXIII and emerged victorious once again (20-16).

After the 1988 win, Coach Walsh retired from coaching to do some broadcasting work. One of his assistants, George Seifert, was given the head position and didn’t disappoint. San Francisco took back-to-back titles, beating the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV 55-10. Joe Montana, once again, received MVP honors.

One more championship ring followed in 1994 without Joe Montana for the first time. Steve Young stepped up as the starting quarterback and also earned MVP honors for Super Bowl XXIX, a 49-26 win against the San Diego Chargers.

While the 49ers made it to a sixth Big Game in 2012, they lost for the first time when the Baltimore Ravens, led by QB Joe Flacco, edged them out with a 34-31 final score.

  • Super Bowl Appearances: 2012, 1994, 1989, 1988, 1984, 1981
  • Super Bowl Championships: 1994, 1989, 1988, 1984, 1981
  • NFC West Titles: 2012, 2011, 2002, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1984, 1983, 1981, 1972, 1971, 1970
  • Playoff Appearances: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2002, 2001, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1985, 1986, 1984, 1983, 1981, 1972, 1971, 1970, 1957, 1949

Home Stadium – Levi’s Stadium

  • Inaugurated: 2014
  • Capacity: 68,500
  • Grass or Turf: Grass

First, it was Kezar Stadium (1946-70), then Candlestick Park from 1971-2013, and now the San Francisco 49ers’ home turf is called Levi’s Stadium. Levi’s Stadium is a newer facility, having opened in the summer of 2014.

The stadium is 40 miles south of San Francisco in Santa Clara. It’s an open-air venue with a natural grass playing surface.

Levi’s Stadium hosted Super Bowl 50 in February of 2016. While the 49ers are the primary tenant, the stadium is also used for NCAA games as well as concerts, ice hockey, and other special events.

  • Stadium Address: Levi’s Stadium, 4900 Marie P DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara, CA 95054
  • Mailing Address: San Francisco 49ers, c/o Levi’s Stadium, 4900 Marie P DeBartolo Way, Santa Clara, CA 95054
  • Phone: 408-562-4949

San Francisco 49ers Head Coaches

The list of San Francisco head coaches started with Buck Shaw from 1946-1954, who left with a 71-39-4 record and 1-1 in the postseason. Since Buck, there have been 20 coaches, with a select few standing out well above others.

Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh is easily the most memorable 49ers coach. Walsh served in the position from 1979-1988, leading the 49ers to seven playoff seasons and three Super Bowl championships (1981, ‘84, ‘88).

Walsh compiled a 92-59-1 record with a 10-4 mark in the postseason. He was recognized by multiple organizations as Coach of the Year in 1981, as well as the UPI NFL Coach of the Year in 1984.

During Walsh’s tenure, the 49ers claimed six NFC West division crowns and suffered through just three losing seasons.

George Siefert

Walsh retired after the 1988 XXIII victory and temporarily went into broadcasting. His assistant coach, George Seifert, replaced him and recorded the 49ers’ fourth Big Game win that same season in 1989.

Under Seifert, the team was playoff-bound every season from 1989 through 1996, except one. Even in failure, the Niners still went 10-6 and were highly competitive.

In 1994, the 49ers were once again NFL champions, defeating the Chargers at XXIX. Seifert was also named Coach of the Year in 1989, ‘90, and ‘94.

The Niners didn’t miss a beat with what was supposed to be a difficult transition, winning 10+ games every year Siefert roamed the sidelines.

Steve Mariucci

Mariucci took over for Siefert in 1997 and instantly got the Niners to the NFC title game. That’s as far as he’d ever get the 49ers, but he still had plenty of success.

San Francisco was still a very good team with Mariucci at the helm, claiming the NFC West title two times and making the playoffs four times.

Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh (2011-2014) was behind San Francisco’s last Big Game appearance to date in 2012, but they ultimately lost to the Ravens in XLVII. Harbaugh’s tenure in the Bay Area followed an ugly stretch of eight consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance.

Harbaugh instantly turned the Niners around, going 13-3 with a trip to the NFC title game in his first season. The 49ers missed out on the Super Bowl due to an overtime loss to the Giants but advanced to the big game in year two under Harbaugh.

Harbaugh churned out yet another great year in 2013, getting the Niners to a third straight NFC title game. They fell to the Seahawks, and Harbaugh fled for Michigan following an 8-8 finish in his last season.

Kyle Shanahan

Kyle Shanahan was hired in 2017 as the 21st coach for the 49ers, following failed experiments with Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. It’s his first head coaching position after spending 13 seasons in various NFL coaching spots for the Buccaneers, Texans, Redskins, Browns, and Falcons.

202017-Kyle Shanahan29-35.4532-1.667
192016-16Chip Kelly2-14.125
182015-15Jim Tomsula6-11.353
172011-14Jim Harbaugh44-19-1.6905-3.625
162008-10Mike Singletary18-22.450

San Francisco 49ers’ Last Five Seasons

2020Kyle Shanahan4th6-10.375
2019Kyle Shanahan1st13-3.8132-1
2018Kyle Shanahan3rd4-12.250
2017Kyle Shanahan4th6-10.375
2016Chip Kelly4th2-14.125

San Francisco 49ers’ All-Time Career Leaders

Passing YardsJoe Montana35,1241979-92
Passing TouchdownsJoe Montana2441979-92
Rushing YardsFrank Gore11,0732005-14
Rushing TouchdownsJoe Perry681948-63
ReceptionsJerry Rice19,2471985-00
Receiving YardsJerry Rice1,2811985-00
Receiving TouchdownsJerry Rice1761985-00
TacklesPatrick Willis7322007-14
SacksBryant Young89.51994-07
InterceptionsRonnie Lott511981-90

The 49ers are one of the most iconic franchises in all of sports, at least partially due to the legends that graced the field for them. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice are both in the conversation for being the greatest players at their respective positions, while that duo led the 49ers to four different world titles.

There are too many players to cover for a team with such an impressive history, but there are some that can’t possibly go overlooked. Here’s a quick look at some of the best 49ers players in team history.

Joe Montana

It would be nearly impossible to leave Joe Montana out of anything having to do with the San Francisco 49ers. The quarterback was on four out of five of the team’s Super Bowl championships, earning MVP honors for three of those games. Montana was the 49ers’ third-round pick in the 1979 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. He became the starting QB halfway into the 1980 season.

Montana was a league leader in passing touchdowns in ’82 and ’87 and passer rating in 1987 and ’89. In addition to his Super Bowl MVP selections, he was the 1989 NFL Offensive Player of the Year and NFL’s MVP from 1989-90. Joe was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time First-Team All-Pro. Sports Illustrated named him Sportsman of the Year in 1990. Montana played in San Francisco from 1979-1992 but spent his final two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the 49ers retired his number 16 jersey. Montana is still the all-time career passing leader for the franchise.

Jerry Rice

Some call Jerry Rice the greatest wide receiver in NFL history. He’s the NFL all-time leader for his position in most categories. It all started with Jerry being picked in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the 49ers out of Mississippi Valley State. Rice played in San Francisco for 16 seasons from 1985-2000 and was on three of the championship teams, earning the Super Bowl MVP honor for XXIII. Rice was both the NFL’s receiving touchdowns and receiving yards leader for six seasons and the receptions leader for two.

He was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in both 1987 and 1993. He’s a 13-time Pro Bowler and named to First-Team All-Pro ten times. He’s on the 49ers’ all-time leaderboard for both receiving and scoring. For the NFL, he holds records for most career receiving yards (22,895), most career receptions (1,549), and most career TD receptions (197), just to name a few. Rice went on to play four seasons with the Raiders and then retired after 2004 with the Seahawks. His number 80 was retired by the 49ers, and he was inducted into both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

Joe Perry

Joe Perry initially made a name for himself with the 49ers in the AAFC as the rushing touchdowns leader in 1948 and 1949 and as 1949’s rushing yards leader. The fullback signed undrafted in 1948 after playing at Compton Junior College. He was the 49ers organization’s first African American player.

Joe spent 13 seasons in San Francisco from 1948 through 1960. After setting records in the AAFC, he did the same in the NFL. Perry was the NFL’s rushing touchdowns leader in 1953 and rushing yards leader in 1953 and 1954. The UPI named him the NFL Player of the Year in ’54. He was a two-time First-Team All-Pro and three years Pro Bowl pick. He went on to two seasons with the Baltimore Colts but returned for his last NFL season in 1963 with the 49ers. The team retired his number 34 jersey, and he also became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Steve Young

Steve Young had some big shoes to fill taking over for Joe Montana in 1991. But the QB more than lived up to the expectations. Young played for BYU, where he was a unanimous All-American in 1983. He originally signed with the short-lived USFL’s Los Angeles Express in 1984 and then started his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before heading to the 49ers to back up Montana in 1987.

Beginning in 1991, he became the NFL’s passer rating leader for six seasons. He was the league’s passing touchdowns leader for four and also named NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1992 and NFC Offensive Player of the Year and the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1992 and 1994. Young was named to seven consecutive Pro Bowls and was a three-time First-Team All-Pro. He was named MVP for Super Bowl XXIX (1994). He holds multiple 49ers and NFL records. San Francisco retired his number 8 jersey, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the first left-handed quarterback.

Ronnie Lott

Ronnie Lott was the 49ers’ first-round pick in 1981 out of the University of Southern California where he was a consensus All-American. He spent ten years in San Francisco from 1981 through 1990, initially as the left cornerback but switching to safety in 1985. In 1981, Ronnie returned three interceptions for touchdowns, making him only the second rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

Lott is a four-time Super Bowl champion on every 49ers winning team except 1994 when he was playing for the Jets. He was named to the Pro Bowl ten times and was an eight-time First-Team All-Pro from 1981-1991. The NFL named Ronnie Lott to the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams. He was inducted into both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and the 49ers retired his number 42.

San Francisco 49ers Trivia

Despite playing just eight seasons and retiring early at the age of 29, linebacker Patrick Willis still leads the 49ers with 732 solo tackles. He’s also regarded as one of the best 49ers defensive players in team history.

Terrell Owens’ elite production with the 49ers could make him a career leader for other franchises. Unfortunately, the man known as T.O. had to follow in the footsteps of Jerry Rice, who more than doubled Owens in receptions, yardage, and scores as a 49er.

Leo Nomellini stands in as the 49ers’ first-ever draft pick. An elite two-way player, Nomellini made ten Pro Bowls and was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969.

Joe Montana is regarded by many as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, but few people recall that he was actually a third-round pick in the 1979 NFL Draft.

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