There’s a debate about which 49ers team was the best ever, the 1984 squad versus the 1989 one, but the folks over at CBS Sports think they’ve settled it.
If you’re lucky enough like me to have lived through the San Francisco 49ers’ glory years of the 1980s, you’ll unquestionably remember just how dominant those teams were throughout the Niners’ dynasty decade.
And if you’re merely a student of San Francisco sports history, you’ll probably know just how important that decade was for 49ers football, too.
Either way, one doesn’t need to break down the many outstanding Niners teams of the 1980s to stress this. From the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship following the 1981 season to a near three-peat between 1988 and 1990, San Francisco has boasted squads that fall into the realm of greatest NFL team ever.
But which 49ers squad is the absolute greatest?
CBS Sports names 49ers’ 1989 squad as the best in franchise history
There might be a debate among Niners fans as to which team was the best overall in contrast to the others, namely Super Bowl-winning squads.
It almost always comes down between the 1984 and 1989 teams, both of which should be highly ranked in team history, and it’s a debate we’ve explored, too. That 1984 team won an unprecedented 15 regular-season games while boasting the NFL’s No. 2 scoring offense and the best scoring defense under legendary head coach Bill Walsh before dominating the Miami Dolphins 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX.
According to CBS Sports, however, that group isn’t the best in team history. No, they’re going with the 1989 group as explained below from an analysis of each NFL team’s best squad during the Super Bowl era:
"This was the hardest decision on the list. San Francisco has two all-time great teams in the ’89 and ’84 squads. The ’84 49ers, the second of Bill Walsh’s three Super Bowl championship teams, were the first team in league history to win 15 regular season games. In the playoffs, they defeated the next two Super Bowl champions (the Giants and Bears) before humbling Dan Marino and the Dolphins’ prolific offense in Super Bowl XIX.As great as the ’84 49ers were, they were edged out by the ’89 team, a team that had Jerry Rice, who was drafted several months after San Francisco’s Super Bowl win over Miami. Rice was at the peak of his powers in 1989, catching three touchdown passes in the 49ers’ 55-10 win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV."
The 1989 Niners are hard to undo, and they lost a mere one more regular-season game than their 1984 counterparts while boasting the league’s best offense and third-best defense.
Plus, how could one overlook the dynamic duo of Rice and quarterback Joe Montana? Not even the 1984 Super Bowl winners could boast that.
What was arguably even more impressive, though, was just how San Francisco throttled the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV by a score of 55-10. This, versus a Broncos team that owned the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense in the league during the regular season.
Certainly impressive, and it’s hard to argue both that Super Bowl victory, the largest margin still in NFL history, and the regular-season dominance from players like Rice and Montana combine to make the 1989 49ers so amazing in the annals of the franchise.