The San Francisco 49ers are one of two Bay area professional football teams. Formed in 1946, they, with the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Colts, were one of the original teams of the National Football League (NFL) when it was created in 1950. The 49ers are five time Super Bowl champions and have won 17 divison championships during their long history. Today, they are part of the Western Division of the National Football Conference (NFC), a part of the NFL.
The San Francisco 49ers were the first major professional sports team to be based in San Francisco, and one of the first to be based on the west coast. The early years were challenging for the franchise and even through the 1960s, the team's record rarely exceeded .500.
The 49ers started the 1970s in a good way, winning three divisional championships in the first three years of the decade. During the rest of the 70s, however, the team failed to reach the playoffs.
The 49ers' fortunes began to change in 1979 with the advent of new owner, Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and the hiring of head coach, Bill Walsh. It was a combination that would lead the team to five Super Bowl victories.
Logo, Mascot, and Uniforms
The team's logo, mascot, and uniform design all relate to the influx of gold miners who flooded the Bay area in 1849 -- called 49ers. The team's mascot, Sourdough Sam, is named for the tasty and plentiful bread for which San Francisco is famous. The 49ers adopted their gold and cardinal red colors in 1964.
Famous San Francisco 49ers Players
San Francisco has been the home of numerous Football Hall of Fame players and coaches. Among them are:
- John Henry Johnson
- Jimmy Johnson (1994)
- Ronnie Lott (2000)
- Hugh McElhenny (1970)
- Joe Montana (2000)
- Leo Nomellini (1969)
- Joe Perry (1969)
- Bob St. Clair (1990)
- Y. A. Tittle (1971)
- Bill Walsh (1993)
- Dave Wilcox (2000)
- Steve Young (2005)
In addition, Jerry Rice is a likely candidate for the Hall of Fame when he meets the Hall's five-year retirement qualification.
The Super Bowl Years
The 49ers have the best Super Bowl record in football. They have played five Super Bowl games and won all five times -- Super Bowls XVI (1981), XIX (1984), XXIII (1988), XXIV(1989), and XXIX (1994). The road to the Super Bowl started in 1979 when Eddie DeBartolo Jr. acquired the 49ers and subsequently hired on Bill Walsh as head coach.
Walsh, formerly head coach at Stanford and a disciple of coach Paul Brown, was known for inventing the "west coast" offense, a stategy that relies on passing rather than the traditional running game, as well as for his excellent draft picks, including the quarterback from Notre Dame, Joe Montana.
Walsh continued to build the team and retired after Super Bowl XIII. After two seasons of injuries, Joe Montana was traded to the Washington Redskins in 1993.
The 1994 Super Bowl victory came on the backs of quarterback, Steve Young and the acquisition of veteran free agents, Deion Sanders and Ken Norton Jr.
Attending a San Francisco 49ers Game
The San Francisco 49ers play at Monster Park (formerly Candlestick Park)located along San Francisco Bay. Season tickets to the games are all but impossible to get, but individual game tickets can be obtained from the 49ers box office, at the 49ers website, and via major ticket brokers, such as Ticketmaster. Information can also be found at San Francisco 49ers Webzone.
The 49ers are currently owned by Eddie DeBartolo Jr's sister, Denise York and her husband, Dr. John York. The head coach is Mike Nolan. San Francisco finished 4th in the NFC western division in both 2004 and 2005.