5 most successful general managers in 49ers history

General manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
General manager John Lynch of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Carmen Policy, San Francisco 49ers
Former San Francisco 49ers executive Carmen Policy during a public memorial service for Bill Walsh (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) /

49ers top general manager No. 2: Carmen Policy (1991-1997)

You thought we were going to segway right from Louis Spadia to Bill Walsh here, didn’t you?

Spoiler: Walsh doesn’t make this list, and we have a brief reason for that.

Despite Walsh turning the franchise around, albeit taking some time in the wake of Joe Thomas in the late 1970s (finding quarterback Joe Montana and wide receiver Dwight Clark sure helped), the greatest head coach in 49ers history smartly gave up general manager duties after 1982.

And his GM efforts for two years in 1999 and 2000 were shadows of what he did to resurrect the franchise two decades earlier.

At any rate, Walsh has his rightful top place among Niners head coaches.

It’s Carmen Policy who deserves his spot as the second-best general manager in franchise history.

True, Policy inherited a stacked roster when he took over duties in 1991, and some may argue he didn’t come close to replicating the glory years of the previous decade. That said, those San Francisco teams of the 1990s remained a powerhouse group, and arguably only the Cowboys and eventually the Green Bay Packers were responsible for preventing the 49ers from repeating the kind of multi-Super Bowl success enjoyed during the 1980s.

All told, though, Policy’s Niners helped pick up where Walsh and another last GM on this list left off in 1990, and San Francisco’s record under Policy would be a whopping 83-29 during the regular season with six playoff appearances and a Super Bowl championship during his seven-year career.

Only one general manager is better, though.