No. 4: 1981 49ers
Record: 13-3, won Super Bowl XVI
13 points for wins
5 points for division title
5 points for divisional-round win
10 points for NFC Championship game win
15 points for SB win
10 points for top 10 offense
15 points for top 5 defense
This was the team that began the dynasty. That began the run of 17 years of contention. The original 49ers Super Bowl winners come in at No. 4.
The 1981 squad was solid on both sides of the ball, finishing seventh in points scored (but just 13th in yards) on offense, but second in both points and yards allowed.
They lost two of their first three games, but rattled off 12 wins in the final 13, winning the NFC West by six full games over the Falcons and finishing with the league’s best overall record.
After beating the New York Giants by two touchdowns in the divisional round, they met up with their rival, the Cowboys, for the NFC Championship game at Candlestick.
The game was back and forth through the first three quarters, but the Cowboys took a late fourth-quarter lead on a Danny White toss to Doug Cosbie.
Then Joe Montana took the field and drove his offense down the field.
And “The Catch” happened.
Montana rolled to his right, and as he began to fall, tossed a prayer into the back of the end zone, where wide receiver Dwight Clark leaped, snagged the ball out of the air and scored the game-winning touchdown.
The moment, and the 26-21 Super Bowl victory over the Bengals, kick-started one of the all-time great runs in NFL history, where the 49ers cemented themselves as one of the league’s most prolific franchises.