The San Francisco 49ers is an American football team based in San Francisco California. It was created in 1946, and played in the All-American Football Conference before the leagues were merged together. The 49ers are known for winning a total of five Super Bowl Championships. They have produced top players who then on became inductees of the Football Hall of Fame. The San Francisco 49ers remains to be one of the oldest major sports team based in California. They have surpassed their football rival Dallas Cowboys when it comes to winning the most Super Bowls. Here are the top 10 greatest players of the San Francisco 49ers who have made such huge influences not just on the team itself, but also in the history of football.
10. JERRY RICE
Born as Jerry Lee Rice, he began his football career when he was still in high school. He made his professional football career debut on 1985, playing for the San Francisco 49ers. To date, he still holds the records of the statistics for football receivers. He has been ranked by NFL.com as the #1 NFL Player of all Time. In his career with the 49ers, he has received various awards, such as being the Pro Bowl MVP for the year 1995, he is a two time AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and a three time NFC Offensive Player of the Year. He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the year 2010.
9. JOE MONTANA
Born as Joseph Clifford Montana, Jr., he had his professional football career debut in year 1979, playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Joe Montana is one of the players comprising the Super Bowl Team who led the 49ers to win four Super Bowl Championships during the 1980’s. He played for the 49ers for thirteen years, and in those years, he has earned various awards. Montana is a three time Super Bowl MVP, received the Bert Bell Award in 1989, and is ranked by the NFL.com as the fourth among 100 greatest players of all time. He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on year 2000.
8. RONNIE LOTT
Born as Ronald Mandel Lott, he made his professional football career debut on 1981, playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Lott is considered to be the best defensive backs in the history of NFL. He played for the 49ers for nine years, and earned the team four Super Bowl Championships. He is ranked #11 NFL player of all time by NFL.com, he retired his #42 jersey in the 49ers, and is an inductee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in year 2000.
7. STEVE YOUNG
Born as John Steven Young, he made his debut in professional football on 1984, playing for the Los Angeles Express. He played for them for a year, and later on played for the Buccaneers, wherein he suffered a bad season. 49ers coach saw his natural abilities, and he was later on signed in with the team, serving as back-up for Joe Montana. He was the MVP during Super Bowl XXIX, he is two time receiver of the Bert Bell Award, also a receiver of the Davey O’Brien Award in 1983. He retired his #8 jersey in the 49ers, and was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
6. JIMMY JOHNSON
Now, you might mistake him as the Jimmy Johnson who happens to be the former coach of the Miami Dolphins, but no. Born as James Earl Johnson, he had his debut in professional football on 1961 with the San Francisco 49ers. In his entire professional football career, he has played for the same team. Johnson was named as the best cornerback in the history of NFL. He was a five time Pro-Bowl player, and four time first team All-Pro player. He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the year 1994.
5. LEO NOMELLINI
Born as Joseph Leo Nomellini, he made his debut in professional football on 1950. He was the first ever NFL draft picks of the San Francisco 49ers. He served in U.S. Military before he played football. He is a two time Consensus All-American, played Pro-Bowl ten times, a nine times All-Pro player, he was part of the 1950’s All-Decade Team. He played for the 49ers in his entire football career, and has already retired his #73 jersey. By 1977, he was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He died on October 17, 2000, he was 76 years old.
4. DAVE WILCOX
Born as David Wilcox, he made his debut in professional football on 1964 with the San Francisco 49ers. In his entire professional football career, he only played for the 49ers, staying with them since his debut until 1974. He played Pro-Bowl seven times, and played All-Pro five times. In 2000, he was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
3. HUGH McELHENNY
Born as Hugh Edward McElhenny, he made his professional football debut on 1952 with the San Francisco 49ers. He was nicknamed as “The King”, and “Hurryin’ Hugh” because of his amazing running style. He played Pro-Bowl six times, played All-Pro five times, and was part of the 1950’s All-Decade Team. He has retired his 49ers #39 jersey, and was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970.
2. BOB ST. CLAIR
Born as Robert Bruce St. Clair, he was nicknamed as “The Geek” due to his eccentricities. He was a great player, who happens to eat raw beef. He is one of the few players who have spent their playing career in the same city. He was good at playing football when he was in high school, then in college, then he was drafted to the 49ers. In his career, he has played Pro-Bowl five times, All-Pro nine times, and was part of the 1950’s All Decade Team. He retired his 49ers #79 jersey, and was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in year 1990.
Another Young in the football industry, not to mention also from the San Francisco 49ers, Bryant Young was born as Bryant Colby Young. He made his debut in professional football on 1994 with the San Francisco 49ers. He played for the same team in his entire football career. Overall, in his career, he played Pro-Bowl four times, All-Pro four times, won one Super Bowl Championship which was Super Bowl XXIX, part of the NFL 1990’s All Decade Team, awarded as Rookie of the Year by UPI NFL-NFC in year 1994. He was nominated to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.