Top 10 49ers Players of All Time
Established in 1946,the San Francisco 49ers has surely etched its name in the History books of the National Football League as one of the most successful franchise the league has ever seen.The club has produced so many true legends of the game; from the record breaking Jerry Rice to Dwight Clark and his famous catch in the 1982 NFC final. In this article I seek to highlight some of the greatest players this club has ever seen in its 70 years of existence.
1. WR Jerry Rice (1985-2000)
Jerry Rice was the greatest wide receiver to have ever graced the sport. Jerry joined the niners on April 30th 1985 from Mississippi Valley State University team where he had stellar seasons setting records in receptions and receiving yards. The young rookie impressed his rookie season making a total of 49 catches for 927 yards. finally, he ended the season being named the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year. Rice would then catch 86 passes for a league leading 1570 yards and 15 touchdown. This would see him named the league’s MVP that season.However 1988 was his most prolific season as he once again led the league in passes averaging 20.4 yards per catch and 9 touchdowns. He is the best 49ers players of all time.
He led the niners to first place in the NFC west and subsequently helped them win the NFC title against the Chicago Bears. It was in that year’s Superbowl XXIII finals that Rice arguably delivered his best performance ever against the Cincinnati Bengals catching 11 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown as they won 20-16. He was named the Superbowl MVP,becoming only the third wide man in history to achieve such a fete. Rice would then have a 15 year trophy laden career with the niners setting and breaking records in receptions,touchdowns and points scored,etching his name into the club’s hall of fame. He left the niners for Oakland Raiders in the 2000 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of fame in 2010
2.QB Joe Montana (1979-1992)
Joe joined the niners in the 1979 season after winning the college national championships while at Notre Dame. Montana started his career with the niners as a backup option to Steve Deberg,but would later become a first team regular midway through the 1980 season. Known for his passing accuracy,Montana would deliver his best performance for the niners. In the 1981 season, he led the niners to Superbowl XVI victory against the Cincinnati Bengals where he completed 15 of his 22 passes for 157 yards. Thus he made a touchdown to be named the Superbowl’s MVP.
Montana would then go on to win two more Superbowl with the niners and being named MVP in two more, becoming the first player to do so in the process. He would then go on to have an illustrious career with the 49ers completing 2929 of his 4600 passes for 35142 yards,244 touchdowns and 123 interceptions.Montana was listed number four on the NFL network’s Top 100 Greatest Players.
3 DB Ronnie Lott (1981-1990)
Lott was drafted into the 49ers by Bill Walsh from University of South California where he had helped them to the 1978 National Championship. Lott won the Superbowl in his first season finishing second in the rookie of the year honors. He started as a corner-back but later switched to safety position. Lott would later proceed to win 8 division titles and 4 Superbowl titles between 1981 and 1989. The man would leave the 49ers in 1991 joining the LA raiders as a free agent.
4.QB Steve Young (1987-1999)
Young joined the 49ers on April 24 1987 from Tampa Bay Buccaneers to serve as back up to Joe Monatana. He would then make several substitute appearances until the 1991 season when he finally broke through into the first team following Montana’s Elbow injury that ruled him out for the entire season. He would then go on to make the position his own as he won the NFL’s MVP in the 1992 season. Young was instrumental for the niners in the 1994 season leading them to victory in the NFC championship final against the Dallas Cowboys where he was named the MVP. He was also named the MVP as the 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers in Superbowl xxix. Steve would finish his career with 232 touchdowns and 107 interceptions.
5.ILB Patrick Willis (2007-present)
Willis was drafted to the 49ers in 2007 from the University of Mississippi. He would then play his entire career as a linebacker for the niners. A position he flourished as he made pro-bowl in his first seven seasons in the NFL. He was named the defensive rookie of the year in his first season at the niners. Although his career was cut short because of injuries his performances and enthusiasm on the pitch made him a fan favorite.
6.RB Roger Graig (1983-1990)
Roger Graig was drafted into the 49ers in 1983 from the University of Nebraska. This former Running back was famous for his high knee running technique. He became the first player ever to score three touchdowns in a Super Bowl during the niner’s 38–16 victory over the Miami Dolphins in 1985. He won 3 Superbowls,4 pro bowls. Graig was named the NFL MVP while still at the 49ers in the 1988 season. The man had secured his place into the San Francisco 49ers hall of fame by his performances and achievements with the club.
7 DE Charles Haley(1986-1991)
Haley was selected by the 49ers in the 1986 NFL draft . He played college football for James Madison University where he made a school record 503 tackles. During his entire career with the niners he lead the team in sacks. He won the Superbowl two times with the niners and made the pro-bowl three times in his first stint at the club.
8. WR Dwight Clark (1979-1987)
Clark is best remembered for ‘the catch’ when he caught the winning touchdown pass from Montana in the 1982 NFC game against the Dallas Cowboys. The game propelled them to their maiden Superbowl victory ushering in a golden generation for the club. He won two super-bowls in his 8 year spell with the club. The club honored him by retiring his number 87. He also made 2 pro bowls during time at the club. He is the 8th of best 49ers players of all time.
9.Frank Gore (2005-present)
Gore is the 49ers all time leading rushing yards and rushing touchdown leader. He was in the NFL 2005 draft, after playing college football for the University of Miami. Despite playing in a disappointing spell for the club Gore achieved a lot of personal success. He is one the best running backs in the game. He has rushed for over 10,000 yards. In 2012 his 90 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns were important as the 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons. This victory sent the 49ers to the Superbowl XLVIII (their first Superbowl appearance since 1994). They eventually lost to the Baltimore Ravens. Gore made 5 pro-bowls during his time at the club.
10. DT Bryant Young(1994-2007)
Bryant Young is the 10the of the best of 49ers players of all timeHe was from Notre Damme. In 1994,Young had a successful spell as a defensive tackle for the niners. He made a total of 618 tackles and 89.5 sacks in 208 games for the club. During his career at the club,he won a Superbowl (XXIX) and made pro-bowl four times. He was also in the 1990s NFL All Decade team.
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