No. 5: 2019 49ers
Record: 13-3, lost Super Bowl LIV
13 points for wins
5 points for division title
5 points for first-round bye
5 points for divisional-round win
10 points for NFC Championship game win
2 points for Nick Bosa winning Defensive Rookie of the Year
15 points for top 5 offense
15 points for top 5 defense
The most recently successful team in 49ers’ history is also the only team in the top-5 to not take home a Lombardi Trophy, narrowly edging out the ’88 team mostly on the strength of regular-season wins, earning the first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, and Nick Bosa’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
The 2019 team came out of nowhere to win 13 games during the regular season, starting off the season with eight straight wins and eventually rolling through 10 of their first 11 opponents after an overtime loss to their rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, on Monday Night Football in Week 10.
Led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, rookie receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle and a trio of running backs in Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert (each of whom ran for over 500 yards on the season), the offense finished in the top-5, including second in points scored.
The defense, led by Bosa, defensive tackle DeForest Bucker, linebacker Fred Warner, and cornerback Richard Sherman, was one of the most formidable in the league and just missed being ranked as the NFL’s best, although a point could be made that they were by many advanced metrics.
After securing the no.1 seed in the NFC, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad blasted through a pair of NFC North teams in the Divisional Round (27-10 over Minnesota) and the NFC Championship game (37-20 over Green Bay) en route to a date with the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
In the Super Bowl, the Niners jumped out to a 20-10 lead through three quarters, but the defense couldn’t hold down Cheifs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes and their vaunted offense in check for all four quarters, and Kansas City scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns while the 49ers’ offense sputtered to a halt.
The Chiefs won the game 31-20, but the quality of the 49ers roster and the incredible nature of their season cannot be overlooked, especially since they went from holding the no.2 overall selection in the NFL Draft in 2019 and coaching the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL to nearly winning the Super Bowl in one season.