No. 3 — 1963
Record: 2-12 (seventh in the NFL West)
Head Coaches: Jack Christiansen, Red Hickey
Starting Quarterbacks: Lamar McHan, John Brodie, Bob Waters
Best Players: FB J.D. Smith, HB Bernie Casey, CB Abe Woodson
The 1963 49ers lost five games by 20 points or more, setting the franchise record. They did so in just 14 games as well, making the “feat” more impressive.
They were dead last in the NFL in points scored, with just 14.1 points per game. They were second to last in points allowed, at 27.9 points per game. They were pretty undeniably the worst team in football that season.
Much like in 1999, the team was hurt by losing their starting quarterback in the third game of the season—John Brodie went down with an injury, and the 49ers were forced to make an emergency trade for Lamar McHan. It turns out, grabbing a player who had never played in your system before isn’t the key strategy that teams have been looking for for long-term success; McHan threw just eight touchdown passes all season long, three in one game.
Coach Red Hickey resigned after Brodie got hurt, replaced by an assistant coach in Jack Christiansen, and things just spiraled out of control. The last five games of the season saw the 49ers outscored by 145-55, never holding a lead at any point. For 40 years, this was the worst team in franchise history, absolute rock bottom.