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The San Francisco 49ers are, as their name suggests, located in the San Francisco Bay area and play in the NFL’s National Football Conference West Division. They play their home games in Santa Clara, California at Levi’s Stadium, having moving there from Candlestick Park in 2014.
The history of the San Francisco 49ers stretches back to 1946 when they were one of the original members of the new All-America Football Conference. Joining the NFL in 1950, they have gone on to become one of the most successful and recognised American football teams in NFL history. Until 2013 and their defeat by the Baltimore Ravens, they were the only NFL team to have four or more Super Bowl appearances with no losses. Prior to this, they had a perfect 5-0 record.
- Full Name: San Francisco 49ers
- Conference: NFC
- Division: Western
- Location: Santa Clara, California
- Stadium Name: Levi’s Stadium
- Year Established: 1944
- Owner: John Edward "Jed" York
- Head Coach: Chip Kelly
- Manager: Trent Baalke
- Nickname: Niners
- Mascot: Sourdough Sam
- Team Colours: Red and gold
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The history of the San Francisco 49ers stretches back to 1946 when it was one of the original teams to play in the All-American Football Conference. However, it wasn’t long before the 49ers joined the NFL on December 9, 1949 along with fellow AAFC teams the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts.
The first few years in the NFL didn’t bring much success but this was to change in 1957 when following a loss on the opening day of the season, the 49ers won their next three games before going on to beat the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, this victory coincided with the death of their owner, Tony Morabito, who collapsed with a heart attack whilst watching the game.
The 1960s saw the San Francisco become the first team in NFL history to use the shotgun formation. This formation, which allows the quarterback more time to throw was to become a staple formation in the league but allowed the 49ers an advantage in the early days as teams were not familiar with it. However, other teams soon caught on and over the course of the 13 years from 1957, the 49ers could only average .500 for wins.
The 1970s saw things start to pick up for the team with the 49ers winning their first ever divisional title against Oakland Raiders in 1971. Following this, they went on to beat the Minnesota Vikings eventually meeting the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game, losing to them 17-10. In 1972, the 49ers would once again win the divisional title but they would fail to make the playoffs for the next 8 years.
It was in 1981 that saw them begin to dominate American Football during the 1980s and early 90s. It was this year that they won their first Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals, beating them 26-21. The 49ers would go on to win four more Super Bowls in 1984, 1988 1989 and 1994. The first three of these they were coached by Bill Walsh and the latter two by George Seifert. This was the golden era of the San Francisco 49ers and their success was driven by such NFL stars, such as quarterback, Joe Montana, and wide receiver, Jerry Rice.
Following successful season in the 80s and early 90s, the San Francisco 49ers have failed to find any sort of consistent form and this hasn’t been helped by various on and off field instabilities, including various coaching changes. However, despite this, the 49ers did make the Super Bowl final in the 2012 NFL season losing to the Baltimore Ravens. The San Francisco 49ers still remain one of the biggest names in the NFL and is a brand that is recognised across the globe.
Super Bowl Appearances
The San Francisco 49ers have been to the Super Bowl on six separate occasions and up until their latest appearance, they had a perfect 5-0 winning record.
2012 Super Bowl XLVII Baltimore Ravens 34 - San Francisco 49ers 31
Played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 3 2013, Super Bowl XLVII represented the first time that the San Francisco 49ers had ever lost a Super Bowl. Known as the Harbowl, thanks to the fact that brothers Jim and John Harbaugh coached the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens respectively, it is the 49ers last appearance in a Super Bowl.
1994 Super Bowl XXIX San Francisco 49ers 49 - San Diego Chargers 26
The 1994 season’s Super Bowl was played on January 29th 1995 at the Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida. This was a historic Super Bowl as along with the 49ers defeat of the San Diego Chargers, it was the first time a team had ever won five Super Bowls. It was also the game that many thought that 49ers quarterback, Steve Young, finally stepped out of the great Joe Montana’s shadow with Young winning the MVP award.
1989 Super Bowl XXIV San Francisco 49ers 55 - Denver Broncos 10
Played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans against the Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XXIV was the 49ers third appearance in a Super Bowl and the third time they won it. It also represented Joe Montana’s second Most Valuable Player Award It remains one of the most memorable Super Bowl games of all time thanks to the fact that the 55 points by San Francisco is the most ever scored by one team.
1988 Super Bowl XXIII San Francisco 49ers 26 - Cincinnati Bengals 21
The second time that these two teams had met in the Super Bowl, the result was the same with the 49ers running out 20 - 16 winners against the Cincinnati Bengals. The game was played on January 22, 1989 at the Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida. It is best remembered for the 49ers game winning drive in the fourth quarter and Jerry Rice’s 11 passes for a Super Bowl record 215 yards and a touchdown, which ultimately won him the Most Valuable Player award.
1984 Super Bowl XIX San Francisco 49ers 38 - Miami Dolphins 16
Super Bowl XIX was played on Jan 20, 1985 and was played at Stanford Stadium on the Campus of Stanford University in Stanford, California. The game was the subject to much hype as the battle between two of the finest quarterbacks the NFL had ever seen, Miami Dolphins, Dan Marino, and the San Francisco 49ers’, Joe Montana. The game didn’t disappoint and both quarterbacks both threw over 300 years in the game. Thanks to the proximity of the Stanford Stadium to San Francisco, many that argued that the 49ers' win was down in part to having a ‘home’ advantage.
1981 Super Bowl XV San Francisco 49ers 26 - Cincinnati Bengals 21
Played in Detroit, Super Bowl XVI was the first ever Super Bowl to be held in a cold-weather city and was one of the most watched broadcasts in American television history, being watched by more than 85 million viewers. Despite the Cincinnati Bengals' 356 yards of total offense compared to San Francisco’s 275, San Francisco won and it was the first time that a team outgained in total yards won had ever won the Super Bowl. The 49ers' quarterback, Joe Montana, was named Most Valuable Player having threw for 157 yards and a touchdown, as well as rushing for another 18 yards and a touchdown.
Levi's Stadium (Mike Brake / Shutterstock.com)
The San Francisco 49ers play at Levi’s Stadium, which is located in Santa Clara, California – part of the greater San Francisco Bay area. The stadium is approximately 40-miles from San Francisco itself. The 49ers, however, have not always played here, only moving here in 2014 from their previous home at Candlestick Park in San Francisco County. Originally the team were due to build a new stadium at Candlestick Park but, unfortunately, negotiations with the city of San Francisco were unsuccessful which led them to look towards the site in Santa Clara where Levi’s Stadium now stands.
The stadium was built in just two years and was opened to the public on July 17, 2014 having cost a total of $2 billion to construct. The stadium has a total capacity of 68,500 but this is expandable to 75,000. The record attendance at the stadium, however, was even higher with over 76,000 people watching Wrestlemania 31 there in 2015. A multi-use stadium, it can be configured in numerous ways to host a variety of events including rock concerts, motocross, and international soccer. Levi’s Stadium has been built with the environment in mind and is thought to be the only stadium in the USA to have both a green roof and solar panels and is one of the biggest buildings in the country to be registered with the US Green Building Council. The stadium is named after the Levi Strauss and Co brand who purchased the naming rights to the stadium in a deal costing $220 million over the next 20 years.
Jerry Rice (1985 - 2000)
Jerry Rice is widely regarded as the greatest ever wide receiver to play the game and holds nearly every all-time record for wide receivers including receptions (1549), touchdown receptions (197) and receiving yards (22,895). Playing 16 seasons in the NFL for the 49ers, he won three Super Bowl titles and was named an All-Pro 10 times.
Steve Young (1987 - 1999)
The most accurate passer in league history with a quarterback rating of 96.8, Steve Young spent many years in the shadow of the great Joe Montana. However, he stepped out of that shadow in 1994’s Super Bowl and went on to become one of the greatest players to wear the 49ers' logo.
Joe Montana (1979 - 1992)
Initially considered too small to be a quarterback with insufficient arm strength, Joe Montana went on to become one of the greatest ever quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen, as well as one of the most well-known. Winning three Super Bowls, he also led the league in completions percentage five times and passing yards twice, ranking amongst the all-time leaders in touchdowns (273) and passing yards (40,551).
Did You Know?
- The San Francisco 49ers name comes from the famous gold rush of 1849 that occurred in the California area.
- Coach Jim Harbaugh who steered the 49ers to the Super Bowl final in the 2012 season once appeared in an episode of the popular ‘Saved by the Bell’ as Screech’s cousin.
- Former 49ers long snapper, Brian Jennings, is a certified yoga instructor and has been since 2008.
- Andy Lee, the former 49ers punter had never attended a football game whilst growing up and his first was in 2004 as a player for the 49ers.