|1988 San Francisco 49ers season|
|Owner||Eddie DeBartolo, Jr.|
|Head coach||Bill Walsh|
|Home field||Candlestick Park|
|Local radio||KGO–AM 810|
|Division place||1st NFC West|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs (vs. Vikings) 34–9|
Won NFC Championship (at Bears) 28–3
Won Super Bowl XXIII (vs. Bengals) 20–16
The 1988 season was the San Francisco 49ers' 69th in the National Football League (NFL), their 73rd overall, and their tenth and final season under head coach Bill Walsh. The season was highlighted by their third Super Bowl victory. They failed to improve on their 13–2 record from 1987, and the 49ers struggled to a 6–5 record at the midway point and were in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1982, but rose to defeat the Washington Redskins on a Monday night, eventually finishing the season at 10–6. They gained a measure of revenge by thrashing the Minnesota Vikings 34–9 in the first round. The 49ers then traveled to Chicago's Soldier Field, where the chill factor at game time was 26 degrees below zero. They defeated the Chicago Bears 28–3 in the NFC Championship.
For the 49ers, it was their first Super Bowl appearance since they defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX. They had made the playoffs in the three seasons between Super Bowl XIX and Super Bowl XXIII, but were eliminated each time in the first round, primarily because of the poor performances by their offensive stars in those games; quarterback Joe Montana, receiver Jerry Rice and running back Roger Craig all failed to produce a single touchdown.
The 49ers alternated quarterbacks as Montana and Steve Young both started at various points of the season. The broadcast booth of the 49ers radio network also saw change, as Joe Starkey substituted for longtime 49ers play by play announcer Lon Simmons during several games, mostly in October when Simmons called the Oakland Athletics 1988 American League Championship Series and 1988 World Series games for the Oakland A's flagship station, KSFO–AM. The 1988 season was the last for Simmons as 49ers broadcaster. With the regular season and postseason, the 49ers compiled a total of 13 victories (a .684 win percentage) on the season, a record-low for Super Bowl champions. In 2011, the New York Giants would tie this record (but with a .650 win percentage as they suffered seven losses as opposed to the 49ers six).
|1||Choice to L.A. Raiders|
|2||33(Choice from L.A. Raiders)||Danny Stubbs||DE||Miami (FL)|
|2||39(Choice from Philadelphia through Tampa Bay)||Pierce Holt||DE||Angelo State|
|2||Choice to Tampa Bay|
|3||80||Bill Romanowski||LB||Boston College|
|4||102(Choice from Chicago through L.A. Raiders)||Barry Helton||P||Colorado|
|4||Choice to Tampa Bay|
|5||Choice to N.Y. Jets|
|5||Choice to Buffalo|
|6||Choice to Tampa Bay|
|7||191||Kevin Bryant||LB||Delaware State|
|10||275||Tim Foley||K||Georgia Southern|
|11||303||Chet Brooks||DB||Texas A&M|
|12||331||George Mira, Jr.||LB||Miami (FL)|
The 1988 San Francisco 49ers season held training camp at Sierra College in Rocklin, California.
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
1988 Team Starters
16 Joe Montana QB 33 Roger Craig RB 44 Tom Rathman FB 85 Mike Wilson WR 80 Jerry Rice WR 89 Ron Heller TE
74 Steve Wallace LT 61 Jesse Sapolu LG 64 Randy Cross C 62 Guy McIntyre RG 79 Harris Barton RT
91 Larry Roberts LDE 95 Michael Carter NT 75 Kevin Fagan RDE
94 Charles Haley LB 50 Riki Ellison LB 99 Mike Walter LB 58 Keena Turner LB
22 Tim McKyer LCB 21 Eric Wright RCB 49 Jeff Fuller SS 42 Ronnie Lott FS
6 Mike Cofer K 9 Barry Helton P 82 John Taylor PR 25 Doug DuBose KR
|1||July 31||Miami Dolphins||L 21–27||0–1||Wembley Stadium (London)||70,535||Recap|
|2||Los Angeles Raiders||W 24–10||1–1||Candlestick Park||64,457||Recap|
|3||at Denver Broncos||L 24–34||1–2||Mile High Stadium||75,067||Recap|
|4||at San Diego Chargers||W 34–27||2–2||Jack Murphy Stadium||39,044||Recap|
|5||Seattle Seahawks||W 27–21||3–2||Candlestick Park||53,357||Recap|
In the 1988 season, San Francisco won the NFC West with a 10–6 regular season record, but it was a long uphill battle; the 49ers, Rams, and Saints all finished 10–6 with the 49ers winning the division on tiebreakers. The team had a quarterback controversy with Montana and Steve Young each starting at quarterback during the season. But after a 6–5 start, Montana led the 49ers to win 4 of their final 5 regular season games.
Montana finished the regular season with 238 completions for 2,981 yards and 18 touchdowns, and also added 132 rushing yards. His favorite target was Rice, who recorded 64 receptions for 1,306 yards (a 20.4 yards per catch average) and 9 touchdowns. Craig was also a key contributor with a total of 2,036 combined rushing and receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, earning him the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award. Fullback Tom Rathman also made a big impact, rushing for 427 yards and catching 42 passes for 387 yards. The 49ers defense was led by defensive backs Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Jeff Fuller, and Tim McKyer, who recorded a combined total of 18 interceptions. McKyer led the team with 7, while Lott recorded 5. Linebacker Charles Haley was also a big contributor with 11.5 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries.
|1||September 4||at New Orleans Saints||W 34–33||1–0||Louisiana Superdome||66,357||Recap|
|2||September 11||at New York Giants||W 20–17||2–0||Giants Stadium||75,943||Recap|
|3||September 18||Atlanta Falcons||L 17–34||2–1||Candlestick Park||60,168||Recap|
|4||September 25||at Seattle Seahawks||W 38–7||3–1||Kingdome||62,382||Recap|
|5||October 2||Detroit Lions||W 20–13||4–1||Candlestick Park||58,285||Recap|
|6||October 9||Denver Broncos||L 13–16 (OT)||4–2||Candlestick Park||61,711||Recap|
|7||October 16||at Los Angeles Rams||W 24–21||5–2||Anaheim Stadium||65,450||Recap|
|8||at Chicago Bears||L 9–10||5–3||Soldier Field||65,293||Recap|
|9||October 30||Minnesota Vikings||W 24–21||6–3||Candlestick Park||60,738||Recap|
|10||November 6||at Phoenix Cardinals||L 23–24||6–4||Sun Devil Stadium||64,544||Recap|
|11||November 13||Los Angeles Raiders||L 3–9||6–5||Candlestick Park||54,448||Recap|
|12||Washington Redskins||W 37–21||7–5||Candlestick Park||59,268||Recap|
|13||November 27||at San Diego Chargers||W 48–10||8–5||Jack Murphy Stadium||51,484||Recap|
|14||December 4||at Atlanta Falcons||W 13–3||9–5||Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium||44,048||Recap|
|15||December 11||New Orleans Saints||W 30–17||10–5||Candlestick Park||62,977||Recap|
|16||December 18||Los Angeles Rams||L 16–38||10–6||Candlestick Park||62,444||Recap|
The Saints, fresh off the first winning season in franchise history, clawed to a 17–10 halftime lead in the second quarter, but Joe Montana erupted in the third with three touchdown throws. Head coach Bill Walsh, wanting to get playing time for backup Steve Young, put Young in for the fourth quarter; Young was sacked in the endzone for a safety and the Saints scored seven more points after that, nonetheless coming up short 34–33 to the 49ers.
Concerned over Montana's health, coach Walsh started Steve Young in his place against the Giants; Young's rawness to the Niners offensive system showed as he was limited to 115 yards passing and the Niners trailed 17–13 in the fourth. Montana came in and fired a 77-yard touchdown in the final minutes to Jerry Rice and a 20–17 Niners win.
The 49ers lost to the Falcons for only the fourth time since 1981 as Joe Montana was intercepted three times and sacked three times in a 34–17 rout. Gerald Riggs of the Falcons rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown.
The Niners rebounded by putting up 580 yards of offense in a 38–7 rout of the Seahawks. Joe Montana threw four touchdowns and Steve Young added a fifth while Roger Craig and Tom Rathman accounted for 186 rushing yards. The Seahawks Jeff Kemp was intercepted three times and Kelly Stouffer added a fourth pick.
Joe Montana ran in a six-yard touchdown and threw for 191 yards and an interception; he was sacked three times and replaced by Young as John Elway tied the game 13–13 on a touchdown to Vance Johnson. Wind gusts up to 40 mph suddenly hit Candlestick Park and made passing more difficult; in overtime a Steve Young pass was intercepted (Young's second pick of the game), setting up Rich Karlis' winning field goal (16–13 final for the Broncos).
Roger Craig had one of his greatest games in a 199-yard stampede where he scored three touchdowns, highlighted by a dramatic 46-yard score in the first quarter. Despite three Jim Everett touchdowns the Rams fell to San Francisco 24–21, the tenth 49ers win in the rivalry's previous 14 games.
The Niners struggled to a 10–9 loss to the Bears on Monday Night Football . The Niners incurred ten penalties for 57 yards and Joe Montana was sacked four times.
The Vikings' playoff win at San Francisco the previous season hung over Candlestick Park as Coach Walsh started Steve Young in Joe Montana's stead. Young struggled and was booed repeatedly by the crowd ("They were running him out of town", lineman Harris Barton said). Just before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter the Vikings led 21–17 with the Niners at Minnesota's 49-yard line; Young escaped a sack and ran in the game-winning touchdown, earning applause from the same audience that had been booing him; the NFL Films clip with Lon Simmons' call of the score is among the most replayed in retrospectives on Young's career.
at Candlestick Park, San Francisco
With Young still starting, the 49ers raced to a 23–0 lead in the third quarter, and Coach Bill Walsh felt it was the sharpest the offense had looked all season. The Cardinals, however, began clawing back as Neil Lomax rifled a pair of touchdowns; making matters worse for San Francisco was a whopping 14 penalties for 106 yards. On a kick return Walsh was blindsided by a runner and suffered two cracked ribs; he then had to watch as the Cardinals raced down field in the final minute and scored on a nine-yard Lomax score to Roy Green. It turned out to be the last road loss for the 49ers until Week One of the 1991 season.
The low point for the 49ers season came against the Raiders as Joe Montana started despite continuing concern by Walsh over his health; Montana had lost eight pounds and was coming off a stomach illness. Montana was held to 160 passing yards as the Raiders clawed out a 9–3 win. The 49ers’ final drive stalled when officials did not call a pass interference penalty on the Raiders over a play to Jerry Rice inside the 10-yard line.
As a result, it was the second game of the season they didn't score a touchdown. Following the loss amid chatter from players interpreted as them giving up on the season Ronnie Lott called a players-only meeting; Harris Barton called it "a ‘screw the coaches’ meeting" and said that it worked to refocus the players on playing better ("They usually don't work, but this one did.")
The refocused Niners erupted on the defending champion Redskins, racing to a 23–7 halftime lead and winning 37–21. Joe Montana threw two touchdowns (including an 80-yarder to Jerry Rice) and ran in a third. Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams of the Redskins threw three touchdowns while Timmy Smith was held to just six rushing yards.
The Niners' scoring explosion continued at Jack Murphy Stadium as Joe Montana threw three touchdowns (the first a 96-yarder to Jerry Rice) and Roger Craig had two rushing scores and a touchdown catch, while Doug DuBose added a rushing score. Four Niners backs plus both quarterbacks (Montana and Steve Young) rushed for 203 yards crushing the Chargers 48–10.
The Niners traveled to Fulton County Stadium and limited the Atlanta Falcons to 177 yards of offense in a 13–3 win.
The Niners hosted the Saints with both teams at 9–5 but going in opposite directions following two straight Saints losses. Led by Roger Craig's 115 yards, the Niners rushed for 152 yards and two scores while Joe Montana threw for 233 yards and a score in San Francisco's 30–17 win. At halftime, the 49ers retired number 87, which was worn by Dwight Clark from 1979 to 1987.
The Niners clinched the NFC West despite a three-way tie with the Rams and New Orleans (all finishing 10–6) and despite a 38–16 slaughter by the Rams that put them into the playoffs. Jim Everett threw four touchdowns while Montana and Young combined for 291 yards but no scores. San Francisco won the division on tiebreakers and the Rams were the wild card, while the 10–6 Saints were eliminated from playoff contention on the conference record tiebreaker.
|Week||Opponent||Referee||Umpire||Head Linesman||Line Judge||Back Judge||Side Judge||Field Judge||Replay|
|1||vs. Miami Dolphins (at London, England)|
|2||Los Angeles Raiders|
|3||at Denver Broncos||(12)||(89)||(72)||(94)||(21)||(47)||(113)||Bill Fette|
|4||at San Diego Chargers|
|5||Seattle Seahawks||(40)||(50)||(109)||(56)||(99)||(66)||(46)||Armen Terzian|
|Week||Opponent||Referee||Umpire||Head Linesman||Line Judge||Back Judge||Side Judge||Field Judge||Replay|
|1||at New Orleans Saints||(9) Jerry Markbreit||(100) Bob Wagner||(72) Terry Gierke||(59) Bob Beeks||(4) Doug Toole||(58) Bill Quinby||(91) Bill Stanley||George Sladky|
|2||at New York Giants||(48) Gordon McCarter||(117) Ben Montgomery||(81) Dave Anderson||(3) Boyce Smith||(49) Dean Look||(61) Dick Creed||(84) Bob Wortman||Chuck Heberling|
|3||Atlanta Falcons||(7) Fred Silva||(42) Dave Hamilton||(8) Dale Williams||(54) Jack Johnson||(68) Louis Richard||(102) Merrill Douglas||(18) Bob Lewis||Royal Cathcart|
|4||at Seattle Seahawks||(60) Dick Jorgensen||(110) Ron Botchan||(10) Ron Phares||(51) Dale Orem||(92) Jim Poole||(20) Larry Nemmers||(44) Donnie Hampton||Bill Swanson|
|5||Detroit Lions||(43) Red Cashion||(27) Al Conway||(37) Burl Toler||(94) Vern Marshall||(52) Ben Tompkins||(29) Howard Slavin||(96) Don Hakes||Grover Klemmer|
|6||Denver Broncos||(32) Jim Tunney||(115) Hendi Ancich||(111) Earnie Frantz||(33) Howard Roe||(118) Tom Sifferman||(97) Nate Jones||(82) Pat Mallette||Bill Fette|
|7||at Los Angeles Rams||(70) Jerry Seeman||(103) Rex Stuart||(79) Aaron Pointer||(15) Bama Glass||(21) Pete Liske||(64) Dave Parry||(113) Don Dorkowski||Dave Kamanski|
|8||at Chicago Bears||(23) Johnny Grier||(78) Art Demmas||(87) Paul Weidner||(83) Ron Blum||(24) Roy Clymer||(90) Gil Mace||(119) Ron Spitler||Al Sabato|
|9||Minnesota Vikings||(7) Fred Silva||(42) Dave Hamilton||(8) Dale Williams||(54) Jack Johnson||(68) Louis Richard||(102) Merrill Douglas||(18) Bob Lewis||Royal Cathcart|
|10||at Phoenix Cardinals||(9) Jerry Markbreit||(100) Bob Wagner||(72) Terry Gierke||(59) Bob Beeks||(4) Doug Toole||(58) Bill Quinby||(91) Bill Stanley||George Sladky|
|11||Los Angeles Raiders||(40) Pat Haggerty||(50) Neil Gereb||(109) Sid Semon||(56) Ron Baynes||(99) Banks Williams||(66) Dave Hawk||(46) John Robison||Cal Lepore|
|12||Washington Redskins||(70) Jerry Seeman||(103) Rex Stuart||(79) Aaron Pointer||(15) Bama Glass||(21) Pete Liske||(64) Dave Parry||(113) Don Dorkowski||Dave Kamanski|
|13||at San Diego Chargers||(12) Ben Dreith||(88) Dave Moss||(55) Dave Barnes||(41) Dick McKenzie||(106) Al Jury||(16) Doyle Jackson||(31) Dick Dolack||Dixon Holman|
|14||at Atlanta Falcons||(48) Gordon McCarter||(117) Ben Montgomery||(81) Dave Anderson||(3) Boyce Smith||(49) Dean Look||(61) Dick Creed||(84) Bob Wortman||Chuck Heberling|
|15||New Orleans Saints||(43) Red Cashion||(27) Al Conway||(37) Burl Toler||(94) Vern Marshall||(52) Ben Tompkins||(29) Howard Slavin||(96) Don Hakes||Grover Klemmer|
|16||Los Angeles Rams||(14) Gene Barth||(57) Ed Fiffick||(85) Frank Glover||(74) Ray Dodez||(38) Bruce Maurer||(34) Gerald Austin||(76) Ed Merrifield||Mark Burns|
|San Francisco 49ers (2)||10||6||0||.625||4–2||8–4||369||294||L1|
|Los Angeles Rams (5)||10||6||0||.625||4–2||8–4||407||293||W3|
|New Orleans Saints||10||6||0||.625||3–3||6–6||312||283||W1|
|Regular Season summaries|
|Week 1: at New Orleans Saints |
Week 1: San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints
Week 2: at New York Giants
Week 2: San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants
|Divisional||January 1, 1989||Minnesota Vikings (4)||W 34–9||1–0||Candlestick Park||Recap|
|NFC Championship||January 8, 1989||at Chicago Bears (1)||W 28–3||2–0||Soldier Field||Recap|
|Super Bowl XXIII||January 22, 1989||Cincinnati Bengals (A1)||W 20–16||3–0||Joe Robbie Stadium||Recap|
For the third time in some 365 days the 49ers hosted the Vikings, and for the second time in that span it was in the playoffs. Minnesota entered having shot down the Rams 28-17 and boasting an offense fourth in scoring with a defense second in fewest points allowed with a plus-23 turnover differential – and none of it made any difference as Joe Montana threw three touchdowns in the first half and Jerry Rice caught all three. Wade Wilson was picked off twice as the Niners won 34–9, their first playoff win since Super Bowl XIX.
The Niners traveled to frigid Soldier Field a week after the Bears succeeded in the Fog Bowl against the Eagles and less than three months after San Francisco's ugly Monday Night loss in that same venue. The Niners put the game away in the third quarter following Joe Montana's third touchdown of the game as the Niners limited the Bears' sluggish offense (18th in scoring) to just one Kevin Butler field goal. The win was doubly personal for Walsh between returning to the Super Bowl and also quieting hecklers in the Soldier Field crowd, including one in particular who'd persisted in what Walsh delicately described as "remarks about my body parts and my preferences in life", but who was reduced to futile stuttering as the game got out of hand.
The game is remembered for the 49ers' fourth-quarter game-winning drive. Down 16–13, San Francisco got the ball on their own eight-yard line with 3:10 on the clock and marched 92 yards down the field in under three minutes. They then scored the winning touchdown on a Joe Montana pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds left in the game.
49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice was named the Super Bowl MVP. He caught 11 passes for a Super Bowl record 215 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing once for 5 yards.
This was also the final NFL game coached by the 49ers' Bill Walsh. This was also the final Super Bowl that Pete Rozelle presided over as NFL Commissioner.
|Round||Opponent||Referee||Umpire||Head Linesman||Line Judge||Back Judge||Side Judge||Field Judge||Replay||Alternates|
|NFC Divisional Playoff||Minnesota Vikings||(9) Jerry Markbreit||(78) Art Demmas||(81) Dave Anderson||(53) Bill Reynolds||(106) Al Jury||(120) Gary Lane||(73) Bobby Skelton||Dixon Holman|
|NFC Championship Game||at Chicago Bears||(95) Bob McElwee||(101) Bob Boylston||(35) Leo Miles||(54) Jack Johnson||(99) Banks Williams||(47) Tom Fincken||(82) Pat Mallette||Al Sabato|
|Super Bowl XXIII||Cincinnati Bengals (at Miami Gardens, Florida)||(70) Jerry Seeman||(89) Gordon Wells||(17) Jerry Bergman||(59) Bob Beeks||(22) Paul Baetz||(120) Gary Lane||(73) Bobby Skelton||Chuck Heberling||(14) Gene Barth |
(57) Ed Fiffick
|Player||RshTD||RecTD||PR TD||KR TD||FmbTD||IntTD||AllTD||OthTD||XPM||FGM||Sfty||PTS|
|Team||Total Plays||Passing||Pass Att||Pass Cmp||Pass Yds||Pass TD||Intercepted||Pass 1stD||Rushing||Rush Att||Rush Yds||Rush TD||Fumbles Lost||Rush 1stD||Pen 1stD||Pts|
|95||Michael Carter||NT||NFC Pro Bowlers|
|33||Roger Craig||RB, Starter||NFC Pro Bowlers|
|94||Charles Haley||LB–DE||NFC Pro Bowlers|
|42||Ronnie Lott||FS, Starter||NFC Pro Bowlers|
|80||Jerry Rice||WR, Did Not Play||NFC Pro Bowlers|
|82||John Taylor||KR||NFC Pro Bowlers|
Pre season Local TV
|KPIX-TV 5||Wayne Walker||Bill Ring|
|Flagship station||Play-by-play||Color commentator(s)||Sideline reporter (s)||Studio host|
|KGO–AM 810|| Lon Simmons (Pre Season, Week 1–5 and 8–16, Playoffs and Super Bowl XXIII)|
Joe Starkey (Week 6–7)
| Wayne Walker (Pre Season Week 1–2, Regular Season, Playoffs and Super Bowl XXIII)|
Joe Starkey (Pre Season Weeks 3–5)
|Joe Starkey (Pre Season Week 1–2, Week 1–5 and 8–16, Playoffs and Super Bowl XXIII)||Joe Starkey|
The National Football League playoffs for the 1994 season began on December 31, 1994. The postseason tournament concluded with the San Francisco 49ers defeating the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, 49–26, on January 29, 1995, at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1992 season began on January 2, 1993. The postseason tournament concluded with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII, 52–17, on January 31, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1984 season began on December 22, 1984. The postseason tournament concluded with the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX, 38–16, on January 20, 1985, at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1983 season began on December 24, 1983. The postseason tournament concluded with the Los Angeles Raiders defeating the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII, 38–9, on January 22, 1984, at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The National Football League playoffs for the 1981 season began on December 27, 1981. The postseason tournament concluded with the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI, 26–21, on January 24, 1982, at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.
The 1988 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 28th in the National Football League. They finished with an 11–5 record, and finished second to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Central division.
The 1984 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 52nd season as a professional sports franchise and as a member of the National Football League.
The 1994 San Diego Chargers season was the team's 35th, its 25th in the National Football League (NFL), and its 34th in San Diego.
The 1981 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 32nd season in the National Football League, their 36th overall and their third under head coach Bill Walsh.
The 1994 season was the San Francisco 49ers' 45th in the National Football League, the 49th overall and their sixth under head coach George Seifert. This season was highlighted by a victory in Super Bowl XXIX. The championship made San Francisco the first team to win five Super Bowls. After losing to the Dallas Cowboys in the previous two conference championship games, the 49ers made significant acquisitions in the 1994 free agent market. This included the signing of two-sport star Deion Sanders and Cowboys linebacker Ken Norton, Jr.. Sanders had a major impact on the team's success, winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award and recording six interceptions. The 49ers were the best team in the NFL for the seventh time in fourteen seasons, and won their division for the eighth time in nine seasons.
The 1989 season was the San Francisco 49ers' 40th in the National Football League (NFL), their 44th overall and their first under head coach George Seifert. After going 14–2 in the regular season, the 49ers completed the season with a dominant playoff run, outscoring opponents 126–26, earning their fourth Super Bowl victory. They finished as the best team in the NFL for the first time since 1987. Their two losses were by a combined 5 points.
The 1990 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 41st season in the National Football League and their 45th overall. the team entered the 1990 season heavily favored to win their third consecutive Super Bowl. The season was highlighted by their victory over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football in Week 13. Throughout the season, the 49ers and the Giants were the two best teams in the NFL. The two teams would meet again in the NFC Championship Game.
The 2008 season was the San Francisco 49ers' 59th in the National Football League, their 63rd overall, and their fourth and final under the head coach Mike Nolan. The team improved on their 5–11 record from the 2007 season, and ended the season with a 7–9. But they failed to reach the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. It was the final season that the 49ers wore their 1996 dark red uniforms. With the 49ers offense struggling the previous season, offensive coordinator Jim Hostler was fired and replaced by Mike Martz. In addition, Scot McCloughan was promoted from vice president of player personnel to general manager. Mike Nolan was terminated after a 29–17 loss to the New York Giants in Week 8.
The 1984 San Francisco 49ers season was their 39th season in the National Football League. The season was highlighted by their second Super Bowl victory. The franchise had their best season ever with a record of 15 wins and only 1 loss. Quarterback Joe Montana would be awarded the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player Award for the second time in his career, joining Bart Starr and Terry Bradshaw as the only two-time Super Bowl MVPs.
The 1983 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 34th season in the National Football League and their 38th overall. The team attempted to improve on its 3–6 record from 1982. The 49ers would start the season with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles 22–17. However, the 49ers would continue to impress, as they throttled the Vikings the next week 48-17 and then the Cardinals the following week 42–27. They would end the first half of the season 6-2 before splitting their last eight games to finish the season 10-6 and clinching the NFC West. In the playoffs, the 49ers would come back to beat the Lions 24-23 after Joe Montana found Freddie Solomon in the end zone with 1:23 remaining, and kicker Eddie Murray missing a 41 yard field goal as time expired. However, in the NFC Championship game, they were not able to outlast the top-seeded Redskins, as after coming back to tie a game they trailed 21-0, they lost 24-21 after Washington took the lead on a field goal.
The 2010 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 65th season, their 61st in the National Football League, and the second full year with Mike Singletary as the head coach. The 49ers were looking to build upon their 8–8 season in 2009.
The 2011 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 66th season overall, and 62nd in the National Football League (NFL). It was the first season under head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke. The 49ers rebounded from their disappointing 2010 season to end their streak of eight consecutive non-winning seasons. After defeating the St. Louis Rams in week 13 and attaining a 10–2 record, the team clinched the NFC West and made their first playoff appearance since 2002. The 49ers ended the regular season with a 13–3 record, their best since 1997, and earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. In the Divisional Playoffs they defeated the New Orleans Saints 36–32 and were in the NFC Championship for the first time since 1997- they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants in overtime by a score of 20–17, coming just short of returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1994. Despite their most successful season in years, the 49ers were 31st in the league in third-down conversion percentage in the regular season (29.1) and were 17.9 percent in the playoffs.
The 2013 season was the San Francisco 49ers' 64th in the National Football League, 68th overall and third under the head coach/general manager tandem of Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke. This was the 49ers' final season playing their home games at Candlestick Park before moving into Levi's Stadium for the 2014 season.
The 2015 season was the San Francisco 49ers' 66th in the National Football League, the 70th overall, second playing their home games at Levi's Stadium, and the only season under head coach Jim Tomsula. They were attempting to make history as the first Super Bowl host team to play the Super Bowl on their own home field, but they failed to improve on their 8–8 record from 2014, and ended with a 5–11 record to miss the playoffs for the second season in a row. They also finished last in the NFC West for the first time in a decade, and marked the 31st consecutive year in which the Super Bowl did not include the team in whose region the game was being played – a feat that never has been achieved since themselves in 1984.
The 2019 season was the San Francisco 49ers' 70th in the National Football League (NFL), their 74th overall and their third under the head coach-general manager tandem of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. They finished their 2019 season with a 13–3 record, their best finish since 2011. Starting the season 8–0 for the first time since 1990, the 49ers surpassed their win totals from the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons combined. The 49ers were the second straight NFC West team to start 8–0, with the other being the Rams. With a Week 11 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers clinched their first winning season since 2013. Despite a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15, the 49ers clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2013 with a Los Angeles Rams loss. The 49ers beat the Cardinals for the first time since 2014, won in Seattle for the first time since 2011, and beat the Panthers in the regular season for the first time since 2001.