The 49ers weren’t able to get Joe Staley a Super Bowl ring, and he joins a number of former Niners who deserved a championship.
Staley had come close once before when the Niners ultimately fell to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII back in February of 2013. But aside from a handful of other promising seasons, the perennial Pro Bowler spent the majority of his pro career with 49ers teams that were never serious playoff contenders.
And ultimately, neck injuries and setbacks forced him to call it quits after a distinguished career.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, players came to San Francisco to win Super Bowls. In 1994, Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders joined the 49ers on a free-agent deal just to win the league championship.
The Niners rewarded him.
Since that fifth and final San Francisco Super Bowl, however, far too many players have seen their aspirations fall short. And while many players have gone on to have successful careers elsewhere, some even winning championships, one can only wish the 49ers would have won these five other players in addition to Staley a Super Bowl ring at some point during their Niners tenure.
No. 5: The 49ers’ best linebacker, Patrick Willis
Like Staley, it would have been awesome to see former linebacker Patrick Willis secure a Super Bowl ring in San Francisco.
Ironically enough, both Willis and Staley were drafted by the Niners in the same year, 2007, and both accompanied the team through the dark years of the late 2000s only to see the rise and fall of the Jim Harbaugh era between 2011 and 2014.
And just like Staley, Willis was right there when that fade pass from quarterback Colin Kaepernick sailed over the head of wide receiver Michael Crabtree in Super Bowl XLVII.
Willis remained a fan favorite, a surefire Hall of Famer if he hadn’t retired abruptly in 2015, citing multiple injuries like Staley. Up to that point, Willis secured seven Pro Bowl nods and five first-team All-Pro selections. His 733 solo tackles remains a franchise best.
Yet the only thing seemingly missing from Willis’ exemplary career is that Super Bowl ring.