Ranking the Bay Area’s Pro Sports Teams Part II
Dec 14, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; The San Francisco 49ers celebrate after San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) ran the ball in for a touchdown during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
#1. San Francisco 49ers
If you did the math and process of elimination, you probably could have figured out that the San Francisco 49ers are number one on my list of Bay Area teams. Of the eight Bay Area professional sports teams, the 49ers have the most championships with five Super Bowl victories.
Not only have the 49ers been extremely successful, but they were the first professional sports team to come to the Bay Area. Also, they and the Los Angeles Rams were the first franchises ever of the “big four” sports to move to the West Coast, which was in 1946. The 1950s is when the 49ers got their first taste of success, as they lost in their first Divisional Playoff game against the Detroit Lions 31-27. The 49ers “Million Dollar Backfield” of quarterback Y.A. Tittle and running backs John Henry Johnson, Hugh McElhenny, and Joe Perry would become the only “full-house” backfield to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Then came the arrival of coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana. The first-ballot Hall of Famers Montana and Walsh used their “west coast offense” to reach their first Super Bowl in 1981. With 4:56 remaining, Montana marched down the field with an 89-yard drive, and, with the Cowboys defense draped over him, he would hit tight end Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone with what will forever be known as “The Catch”. With similar assets and players, 1984 ended with the same result as Super Bowl XIX gave the 49ers their second championship. With multiple injuries and quarterback controversy, Montana and newly added wide receiver Jerry Rice would find the heart and perseverance to win their third Super Bowl of the decade in 1988 after Montana would lead the 49ers one more time 94 yards down the field to score with 34 seconds remaining. After coach Bill Walshe’s retirement, the following year Montana and Rice managed to win back-to-back Super Bowls, and their fourth in just nine seasons. Elbow injuries to Montana brought the rise of Steve Young and he would eventually lead the 49ers to one more Super Bowl victory in 1994.
Pablo Sandoval must have thought he looked good in red
A change in owners in the early 2000s and an eight year playoff drought between 2003-2010 began to diminish the 49er franchise. However, coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers would reach two consecutive NFC championship games in 2012 and 2013. Today, new coach Jim Tomsula has already had to deal with Aldon Smith DUI issues, problems that Harbaugh left with the team, and the challenge of filling the shoes of retired linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland and offensive lineman Anthony Davis.
Tomsula has a rough road to travel, but the additions of former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and Super Bowl champion Torrey Smith and the amount of talent that quarterback Colin Kaepernick possesses is scary in itself. After what has been considered one of the most unfortunate and random off-seasons in football history, the 49ers have a lot of work to do because the San Francisco Giants are knocking on their door to take their number one spot.
Until then, the San Francisco 49ers’ rich history and five Super Bowl rings are enough to distinguish them as the number one Bay Area professional sports team.
#1. San Francisco 49ers
#2. San Francisco Giants
#3. Oakland Athletics
#4. Oakland Raiders
#5. Golden State Warriors
#6. San Jose Earthquakes
#7. San Jose Sharks
#8. San Jose SaberCats