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One of the premier franchises in all of American sports, the San Francisco 49ers have won five Super Bowls and with Jim Harbaugh steering the ship and Colin Kaepernick emerging as a superstar, the Niners are poised to add a bunch more hardware to the trophy case.
Founded in 1946 as one of the first major sports franchises on the West Coast, the San Francisco 49ers were named for the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century. With a history of football innovation that includes bringing “shotgun formation” into existence and popularizing the “west coast offense” under the legendary Bill Walsh, the 49ers count some of the most important figures in NFL history as their own including Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Y.A. Tittle, Ronnie Lott and Steve young.
Bill Walsh & Joe Montana Build a Dynasty by the Bay
After decades of relative futility, team owner Eddie DeBartolo made the prescient decision to hire Stanford's Bill Walsh as the team's Head Coach. That gamble paid massive dividends as Walsh drafted Joe Montana and that powerful duo would lead the 49ers to Super Bowl wins in 1981, 1984 and 1988. (Montana added another in 1989 under George Seifert.)
Picking up where his mentor left off, Steve Young took the San Francisco 49ers to the 1995 Super Bowl and tore apart the San Diego Chargers with an astonishing six touchdown passes en route to a lopsided 49-26 victory. After struggling through most of the 2000s – the 49ers scored again with a head coach from Stanford as Jim Harbaugh took control in 2011.
The Harbaugh Era
Though most pundits anticipated a rebuilding period, Harbaugh shocked everyone by leading the team to a 13-3 record and, eventually, the NFC Championship game where they lost to the New York Giants who went on to the win the Super Bowl.
In 2012, with lofty expectations, the San Francisco 49ers got off hot but lost starting QB Alex Smith (Now playing for the Kansas City Chiefs) to a concussion and sent out Colin Kaepernick who never relinquished the job. With Kaepernick playing sensational football, the 49ers went all the way to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens coached by none other than John Harbaugh, Jim's older brother.
The 49ers enter the 2013 season as the prohibitive favorite to repeat as NFC champs. While nothing is ever certain in the NFL, Jim Harbaugh has shown an extraordinary ability to adapt and lead and with one of the brightest young stars at QB and a sensational defense, San Francisco looks to play their final season at historic Candlestick Park in high style.
Did You Know…
In addition to engineering 31 come-from-behind NFL victories, in four Super Bowl appearances, Joe Montana never threw an interception and completed 68% of his passes on the biggest stage. No wonder they call him “Joe Cool.”
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