I don’t know to what extent the entire set of 1997 through 2002 49er teams are considered part of the 49ers dynasty, but here’s a look at how those Mariucci-coached teams did, after looking at the 10 Walsh-coached teams and the 8 Seifert-coached teams.

In the 1997 through 2002 seasons, the 49ers went 60-43, including a 3-4 record in the playoffs. The 49ers scored 2472 points in the six years, for an average of 24 points per game, and the opposition scored 2287 points, for an average of 22.2 points per game.

In their 60 wins, the 49ers scored 1698 points, or 28.3 per game, and their opposition scored 946 points, or 15.8 per game.

In their 43 losses, the 49ers scored 774 points, or 18 per game, and their opposition scored 1341 points, or 31.2 per game. In terms of scoring points, the Niners peaked in 1998, with 479 points, and in terms of allowing points, the Niners bottomed the next year, when their opponents scored 453 points.

From ’97 through ’02, the 49ers gave up 40+ points in a game 7 times, while scoring 40+ points in a game 5 times.


In the 1989 through 1996 seasons, the 49ers went 108-35. This includes the Niners’ 15 playoff games during the 8-year span. The 49ers scored 3900 points in the 143 games; the opposition scored 2329 points. This works out to an average of exactly 27.27 points per game for the 49ers, 16.3 points per game for the opposition.

In their 108 wins, the 49ers scored 3332 points, or 30.85 per game, and their opposition scored 1523 points, or 14.1 per game.

In their 35 losses, the 49ers scored 568 points, or 16.2 per game, and their opposition scored 806 points, or 23 per game.

During these years, the 49ers gave up as many as 40 points in a game once, to Philadelphia in 1994, the game that preceded the 49ers winning 13 of 14 games to close the season and win the Super Bowl. The Niners allowed 35 to 39 points four times. They scored 40+ points 23 times. They scored 50+ points in a game five times, most famously in the 1990 Super Bowl vs. Denver.

You can compare the performance of the Seifert-coached 49ers to the performance of the Walsh-coached 49ers, with the clear caveat that Seifert had the advantage of inheriting a Super Bowl winner instead of a team that had just gone 2-14 and hadn’t made the playoffs in six years.

In the 1979 through 1988 seasons, the 49ers went 102-63, with one tie, a 10-10 game in Atlanta on October 19, 1986. This includes the Niners’ 14 playoff games during the 10-year span. The 49ers scored 4073 points in the 166 games; the opposition scored 3174 points. This works out to an average of 24.5 points per game for the 49ers, 19.1 points per game for the opposition.

In their 102 wins, the 49ers scored 2994 points, or 29.4 per game, and their opposition scored 1526 points, or 15 per game.

In their 63 losses and 1 tie, the 49ers scored 1079 points, or 16.9 per game, and their opposition scored 1648 points, or 25.75 per game.

I could pick through the ’79 through ’88 seasons for trivia for a long time, but I’ll limit it to this: during these years, the 49ers gave up 50+ points in a game once, to Dallas on Oct. 12, 1979. A week earlier, they allowed 48 to the Rams.

They scored 50+ points once, in a 51-7 win over Minnesota on Dec. 8, 1984. They scored 45 to 49 points in a game five times, and allowed 45 to 49 points in a game twice, most infamously in the 49-3 playoff loss to the Giants to end the 1986 season.

The game summary below is taken from my e-book chronicling the 10 Bill Walsh 49ers teams, especially the championship ’81, ’84, and ’88 teams. If you’re interested, that project is available for about $10, and smaller e-books are also available covering, for example, just the ’84 season and the 1982 NFC title game. Well, here is my summary of what at the time was the 49ers’ most memorable win in many years, and a game that set the stage for the start of the franchise’s long dynasty.

The 1980 Niners’ 3-0 start had turned into a 5-8 record, but one might have expected a win at home, against an 0-13 Saints team, on Sunday, December 7, the Pearl Harbor anniversary. It isn’t at all promising early in the game: the Saints, led by Archie Manning, get 324 yards in the first half, have the ball two-thirds of the time, and score five touchdowns on 20 first downs. While the Niners gain 21 yards and get two first downs in the half, the Saints are compiling five lengthy, productive drives. Freddie Solomon provides the one saving grace with a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown halfway through the second quarter. Montana, who had begun starting games after a 59-14 debacle at Dallas in the fifth game, goes 8-12 but is sacked three times, with seven net passing yards. It’s 35-7 at the half. Walsh rallies the troops in the locker room, telling his players to keep themselves in the game even though it’s probably out of reach.

After the half, James Owens fumbles the opening kickoff and recovers it, but only gets to the 49er 12. Nonetheless, the Niners go 88 yards in nine plays, featuring a 48-yard pass to Clark, and Montana runs in the ball from a yard out. Just a few minutes later, the Niners start from their 18. After getting a first down, Montana throws a crossing pattern pass to Clark, who keeps running after the catch, gets past Dave Waymer, and runs it in for a 71-yard score. The Saints come back with a strong drive, but Jimmy Rogers fumbles the ball at the Niner 17, Gerard Williams recovers, and the Niners keep their comeback going. An 83-yard drive ends with a 14-yard throw to Solomon, and it’s 35-28. One last fourth quarter drive takes the ball 78 yards in eight plays after a second Saints fumble, and Lenvil Elliott pushes the Niners to a tie with 1:50 left on his 7-yard run into the end zone.

The Saints get the ball to begin overtime, but are stopped after getting one first down: Dwight Hicks intercepts a deep throw down near his goal line. After the exchange of a couple punts, the Niners take over at their 26, and are stopped on third down at their 39. But a late hit penalty on Steve Parker hands them a first down and the ball at the Saints 46. From there, the Niners move the ball enough to set up Ray Wersching for the game winner, a 36-yard field goal with 7:40 gone in the period.

In the second half, aside from the Jimmy Rogers fumble, the Saints have Henry Childs fumble at the Niner 13 after a 30-yard catch, and, at the end of the third quarter, with the wind at their back, the Saints fail to call timeout on fourth down at the SF 28 to kick a field goal. When the fourth quarter started, they decide to punt. Those three lost opportunities cost New Orleans the game. The Niners’ 409 yards after halftime compares to the Saints’ 195, and they have a 22-7 advantage in first downs. Elliott gains 111 yards after the half, and 125 for the game, in his best NFL performance. Ninety-one of his yards come on the Niners’ last two touchdown drives. The 38 points are the 49ers’ most since 1973, in a 40-0 defeat of the Saints.

John Brodie: “I’ve never enjoyed a football game that much.”
Saints safety Tom Myers: “This was the worst ever—worse than the Monday night last year when we blew a 35-14 lead. It was worse because that wasn’t Kenny Stabler and the Oakland Raiders out there.”
Walsh, looking back on his coaching career: “There were only two games that produced absolute euphoria—this one and the 1987 game at Cincinnati, when we scored on the very last play.”
Cross on the reason for the poor opening: “What do you think? I’ve never seen us so flat.”

Tackle Ron Singleton: “After we got those two quick touchdowns, I think they started questioning themselves. Once you get into that losing syndrome, you start doing that. You could see it on the field.”
And, on the opening of the game: “We came out thinking we were just gonna line up and do it to them. Offensively, we got surprised, and defensively, they just started taking it to us. They shocked us.”

Walsh: “I think that was an experience for all of us. I’ve never been associated with a game where a team came back so strong.”

Steve Young’s first professional contract was with the Los Angeles Express of the USFL. He made his debut with the Express on April 1, 1984 at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, against the New Jersey Generals. New Jersey’s most recognizable player was Herschel Walker; Jojo Townsell was probably the best Express player besides Young. The Generals won, 26-10, before just 19,853 at Memorial Coliseum. The Express went to 2-4.

Here’s how one newspaper reported Young’s performance: “He completed 19 of 29 passes for 163 yards and at times ran the offense as if he had been a part of it for years. . . . Young, who signed a contract in early March worth more than $40 million over 43 years, took advantage of a breakdown in coverage to pass 9 yards for a touchdown to Jojo Townsell, a former draft choice of the Jets. During one stretch over the second and third quarters, he completed 9 consecutive passes before Kerry Justin, the Generals’ cornerback, made a good play to break up a pass intended for Anthony Allen.”

Steve said: ”I think it’s just a matter of time. I felt pretty comfortable out there. I was throwing the ball pretty well. We just have to get the continuity going. I feel comfortable with what I’ve done, but I’ve got to get better.”

His coach, John Hadl, made an accurate prediction: “Steve is going to be a great quarterback. He went up against one of the best defenses in the league and performed well. I like his leadership. He saw some things on the field that another quarterback wouldn’t see for a year.”

By the way, Brian Sipe, longtime quarterback with the Browns, led the Generals to victory in his fourth start of the USFL season. He said: “This was probably my best game. I felt more comfortable than I have felt so far. And it was nice to see us do a lot of different things. My knee injury was a real setback to me, but each week, I seem to feel more and more comfortable.”

As a service to 49er fans, Steve Young fans, and USFL fans, I’ve hunted down the stats for this game from the L.A. Times archives. Here’s a rundown of the scoring:


And here’s the team box score:


And, here’s the individual stats:


In February I talked with long-time 49ers reporter Kevin Lynch, now with the San Francisco Chronicle, about the 49ers’ dynasty, especially the 1988 49ers. The full interview is in the appendix to my e-book about the ’88 49ers. You can buy that e-book through Lulu.com here. In these excerpts, we talked about Bill Walsh and George Seifert:

Arne: Seifert was hired to replace Walsh very soon after that Super Bowl against the Bengals.
Kevin: He was flying to an interview in Cleveland, they caught him in Dallas waiting for his connecting flight. The record of coaches succeeding Super Bowl coaches is very poor, and Seifert doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. His teams had something like a 75% winning percentage. One of the big reasons Seifert was successful right away was that he told the players they were the reason for the wins. He didn’t have the personality of Walsh, he was quieter, low-key, very humble. He always thought it was the players’ team. Seifert felt a lot of people were trying to undermine him as coach. Later on, in ’94, when Young was screaming at him on the sidelines during the Eagles game, he liked that. Seifert said it showed how much the team had developed, for Young to be so passionate about the team.

Arne: Walsh has that whole image of “The Genius,” but do you think he made some mistakes as a coach, had some weaknesses?
Kevin: He was often very, very unpopular. He had a huge ego. But as a coach he was pretty flawless. Mostly his style worked. That thing he’d say about trying to get rid of players before they hit their downside, it did work, usually. Of course it created a lot of insecurity. But with Montana in ’88, he was motivated, wanted to prove he could fill that starting role still. He’d won the two Super Bowls, but he still had motivation. The flaw in Walsh maybe was that he really believed his system was so good, he could throw in almost any player and it would work. He didn’t give the players their due. He could be distant. Toward the end of his life he really connected with the players, he reversed all that distance.

The 49ers’ 28-3 win over the Chicago Bears at a frigid Soldier Field in January 1989 was one of the great games in 49ers history, and it set up the memorable Super Bowl XXIII vs. Cincinnati to close out Bill Walsh’s career as coach with a triumph. Here, Jerry Rice runs by Bears cornerback Vestee Jackson on his way to the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown in the first quarter: