Record: 17-2 (Won Super Bowl XXIV over Denver)
Head Coach: George Seifert
Starting Quarterbacks: Joe Montana, Steve Young
Best Players: WR Jerry Rice, QB Joe Montana, RB Roger Craig
When I sit back and close my eyes and think of the ‘80s 49ers squads, this is the vintage that jumps to my mind first and foremost—this was the greatest season in franchise history.
It was Joe Montana’s finest season, leading the league in completion percentage and quarterback rating. Had he not missed three games, he would have led the league in yards as well; he had the most yards per game of any quarterback in ’89. In the games he missed, the 49ers were forced to turn to Steve Young as part of that five-year quarterback controversy; not a bad backup plan. Montana deservedly won the MVP award.
He was joined in the Pro Bowl on offense by Roger Craig, Jerry Rice, John Taylor and Guy McIntyre. Craig, Rice and Taylor and had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage; only eight players in the NFL that year had more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage, and the 49ers had two of them. Both Brent Jones and Tom Rathman went over 500 yards receiving as well.
The defense saw only Ronnie Lott make the Pro Bowl, but Keena Turner, Michael Carter and Charles Haley all had key seasons as starters, as well.
And then there was the playoff run. The 49ers’ regular season was impressive enough, with their only two losses coming by a combined five points, but then they went on a playoff run the likes of which no one had ever seen before, and no one has ever seen since. They demolished the Minnesota Vikings, 41-13. They blanketed the Los Angeles Rams, 30-3. And then they beat the Denver Broncos in the single greatest Super Bowl rout of all time, 55-10.
I would take the 1989 49ers against any other Super Bowl team ever—over the ’72 Dolphins, over the ’85 Bears, everyone. I firmly believe that this is the best Super Bowl winning team of all time.
But it’s not the 49ers’ best team.
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