This franchise was the first to win 5 Super Bowls and, also has 6 NFC Championship titles, 19 NFC Division Championship titles in their trophy case, and 14 players (and 1 owner) in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Several of the men that helped them accomplish so much are arguably the greatest to EVER play the game at the respective positions. Here are the players I believe are on the Niners Mt. Rushmore.
- No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for them soon.
- Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
- Can you tell the franchise’s story without them?
Jerry Rice (1985-2000) is the greatest wide receiver of all-time, and is arguably the greatest football player of all-time. His franchise leading 1,281 receptions, 19,247 receiving yards, and 187 total touchdowns (176 receiving, 10 rushing, 1 fumble return) were good enough for the number one on the all-time NFL record books before he went on to play four more seasons with the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. He was apart of 3 Super Bowl Championship teams in San Francisco (XXIII, XXIV, XXIX) and was MVP of Super Bowl XXIII. Rice has so many individual accomplishments (over 100 records), there are too many to list here and would take up all of this post. In 2010, Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the 49ers retired his number 80 jersey. He’s also a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time, 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams. Rice currently holds 23 NFL records.
Joe Montana (1979-1992) has been called the greatest quarterback in NFL History. “Cool Joe” as he’s often been called, led the 49ers to four Super Bowl victories (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV) in four tries, and he was MVP of the game three times (XVI, XIX, XXIV). Montana is the 49ers all-time leader in career wins (100), passing touchdowns (244), passing yards (35,124), completions (2,929), and attempts (4,600). #16 is also a member of the NFL 75th All-Time Anniversary and NFL 1980s All-Decade teams. The 49ers retired his jersey in 1997, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Ronnie Lott (1981-1990) was the most feared defensive back in the NFL during the 1980s and early 1990s. He patrolled the secondary for the teams that won four Super Bowls. Lott finished his time in San Fran as the team leader in tackles (721); recently retired linebacker Patrick Willis has since passed him in defensive touchdowns (5) and interceptions (51). He’s is still the only rookie in NFL history to return three interceptions for touchdowns. He’s a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1980s and 1990sAll-Decade Teams. In 200 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and had his jersey number 42 retired by the team.
Bill Walsh (1979-1988) is the father of the West Coast offense that is widely used in the game today in some variation or another. Walsh coached the 49ers to three Super Bowl victories (XVI, XIX, XXIII), 92 regular season wins and 10 playoff victories. Walsh was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1981and 1984, and is a member of the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team. In 1993 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His coaching tree is also one of the most productive in league history. The late Dennis Green, Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, Steve Mariucci, Jim Fassel, George Siefert, and Mike Shanahan’s careers all spawned from Walsh.
Niner fans let me know what you think? Did I get it right? Who would be on your list? I wanna hear from you.