San Francisco 49ers: Ranking the 10 Worst Teams in Franchise History
By Peter Panacy
No. 9: The 1979 49ers
Regular-Season Record: 2-14, fourth in the NFC West
The 1979 49ers may be the silver lining in advance of what was the greatest dynasty in franchise history. After all, San Francisco had a new head coach in Bill Walsh. And the team had drafted a young quarterback out of Notre Dame named Joe Montana.
Yet the 49ers of the late 1970s were still mired in the disastrous efforts by then-new owner and now-legendary icon Ed DeBartolo Jr.
DeBartolo had taken over the year before and had installed Joe Thomas as general manager — not a good move at all. And San Francisco was still trying to figure out the benefits from the lucrative, and draft-pick-costly, transactions for quarterback Jim Plunkett and running back O.J. Simpson.
Simpson took a back seat to running back Paul Hofer, who had 615 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. And Montana, despite seeing playing time in all 16 games, would sit behind quarterback Steve DeBerg as the rest of the team tried to learn Walsh’s West Coast offense.
Not much of it mattered in 1979 though.
San Francisco tied the mark for worst record in franchise history at 2-14. While the offense saw some improvements from previous season (No. 16 in the NFL with 308 points scored), the Niners 27th-ranked defense was atrocious.
But good times were not far away.
Next: No. 8