In their first five appearances in the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers won the NFL championship five times, with Joe Montana winning four titles, and Bill Walsh winning three times. The Niners failed to win in their last appearance, when they lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. The new incarnation of the 49ers, led by coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, are trying to secure the franchises’ sixth championship when they battle the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2020 Super Bowl.
Every dynasty is built around a head coach and quarterback. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana come to mind. They won three Super Bowls together when the Niners dominated the 1980s.
Walsh relied on a very young quarterback to lead his team to the championship. This was an era when quarterbacks were middle-aged men, and young QBs under 30 years old were holding the clipboard. Montana was the perfect quarterback to bring Walsh’s West Coast offense to life.
49ers Super Bowl Appearances
XVI San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21
XIX San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16
XXIII San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16
XXIV San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10
XXIX San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26
XLVII Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31
LIV San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Although the 49ers won consecutive titles at the end of the 1980s, Walsh only won the first one. His protege, George Seifert, won the Super Bowl in his first season as head coach during the 1989 season. It marked the fourth championship for the 49ers, and their fourth title with Joe Montana.
It would take five more years before Seifert returned to the Super Bowl. That time, he had a different quarterback with Steve Young.
Three Rings with Walsh
In Super Bowl XVI, the 49ers faced the Cincinnati Bengals and legendary coach Forrest Gregg. The Niners jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead. The Bengals rallied back with two touchdowns to cut the lead to 20-14 in the fourth quarter. The Niners defense shut down the Bengals, and added two field goals to secure a 26-14 victory in their first Super Bowl.
The 1984 49ers went 15-1 and were the first team to win 15 games since the NFL expanded the schedule from 14 to 16 games. They faced a stellar Miami Dolphins squad that went 14-2. Super Bowl XIX was hyped as a battle between the NFL’s two best quarterbacks, with Dan Marino taking on Joe Montana. The Niners smoked the Dolphins 38-16 to secure Walsh and Montana their second Super Bowl victory.
Super Bowl XXIII featured a rare rematch, with the Cincinnati Bengals seeking revenge. The game was tied 3-3 at halftime. The Bengals led 13-6 going into the fourth quarter before Montana worked his magic. He found Jerry Rice in the end zone to tie the game. The Bengals kicked a field goal to regain the lead 16-13. With three minutes remaining, Montana led the 49ers on a 92-yard touchdown drive. To calm the team in the huddle, he pointed to the crowd and asked, “Is that John Candy?” It chilled everyone out before the final play. Montana found John Taylor in the end zone for the game-winning score. It marked a third title for Walsh and Montana.
Two Rings with Seifert
The 49ers won two championships in a row during a coaching change. Walsh retired and assistant coach, George Siefert, took over. Although Montana was no longer in his prime, he was still Joe Montana. In Super Bowl XXIV, the 49ers destroyed the Denver Broncos and their stud QB John Elway. Montana threw five touchdowns, including three to Jerry Rice in a 55-10 blowout. That victory marked a fourth championship for the 49ers and Montana.
It would take five years before Siefert had a chance to prove his first victory wasn’t a fluke because it happened in Walsh’s wake, with Walsh’s players, philosophy, and playbook.
In Super Bowl XXIX, Steve Young was running the team. He had won titles as Montana’s backup, but now it was his turn to lead the 49ers back to the championship. The Niners beat down the San Diego Chargers, 49-26. Young won the MVP and threw six touchdowns, including three to Jerry Rice. The win marked a fifth championship as the 49ers went a perfect 5-for-5 in their first five Super Bowl appearances.
The San Francisco 49ers are a 1-point underdog in the 2020 Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are appearing in their first Super Bowl in 50 years.