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San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers, one of four teams in the NFC West. The 49ers play in Monster Park (formerly Candlestick Park), renamed for its corporate sponsor. The team, which takes its name from the gold rushers who flooded California in the late 1840s, wears jerseys of scarlet and gold.

Few NFL teams can boast the individual stars and strong teams that made the 49ers a dominant power in the 1980s and 1990s. While on their way to capturing five Super Bowl titles, the 49ers fielded such players as running back Roger Craig, wide receiver Jerry Rice, defensive end Fred Dean, and quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young. Earlier stars include Hall of Fame members quarterback Y. A. Tittle and running backs Joe "The Jet" Perry and Hugh McElhenny.

The arrival of head coach Dick Nolan in 1968, the development of a sophisticated defense and the experience of quarterback John Brodie helped San Francisco reach the playoffs for three straight seasons beginning in 1970. In 1979, new head coach Bill Walsh and a brash rookie quarterback from Notre Dame named Montana ushered in an era of unprecedented stability and success for the 49ers. Two years after the team posted a league-worst 2-14 record, Walsh won coach of the year honors for steering San Francisco to 13 regular season wins and a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. Carrying San Francisco into the Super Bowl was a last-minute touchdown pass from Montana to Dwight Clark that resulted in an NFC championship; it became known in football history as "The Catch." George Seifert, the 49ers defensive coordinator since 1983, became head coach in 1989 and the second rookie head coach in NFL history to lead a team to the Super Bowl. Under Seifert's leadership, Montana had his best season ever, winning an NFL Most Valuable Player award, his second of two league passing championships, and his league-record third Super Bowl MVP award.

Steve Young took over for Montana as San Francisco's starting quarterback in 1991, capturing the NFL passing title for the first of a league-record four consecutive times. Young's streak culminated in a Super Bowl XXIX victory over the San Diego Chargers, and his 112.8 passer rating in 1994 broke Montana's league mark.

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