San Francisco 49ers
NFLbets doesn’t know for sure exactly who coined the term “franchise quarterback,” but sheer odds would say the utterance had to first come out of the Bay Area market, for the San Francisco 49ers’ history is a virtual “who’s who” of franchise quarterbacks.
The 49ers were one of three teams to make the jump to the NFL from the All-American Football Conference after the 1949 season, which San Francisco concluded with a loss to the dominant Cleveland Browns in the last-ever AAFC championship game. The Niners had some difficulty cracking the NFL’s upper tier during the 50s, despite having QB Y.A. Tittle at the helm for the bulk of his Hall of Fame career.
John Brodie took over the starting QB job in San Francisco beginning in 1960 and held the job for 11 straight years; only in the early 70s would the 49ers expand upon their 0-2 all-time postseason record, making the playoffs in ’70, ’71 and ’72. However, it was the 1980s when the 49ers offense would revolutionize football.
Bill Wash took over head coaching duties in 1979 and immediately went to work crafting what would become known as the “West Coast Offense” (a moniker Walsh reportedly hated). First trying out the pass-happy game plan with Steve DeBerg for a couple of seasons – in ’80, DeBerg set the record for pass attempts I a season, but the Niners went a limp 6-10 anyway – the system ballooned in 1981 once Joe Montana of Notre Dame arrived.
Montana, armed with Dwight Clark and later Jerry Rice, got the 49ers into the playoffs in all but one of his 10 seasons in San Francisco and bagged three Lombardi trophies. Coming over from the USFL by way of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to replace Montana was Steve Young. Young teamed with Rice and later Terrell Owens to make the playoffs eight times in his nine seasons and get one more Super Bowl win.
Following Young, the pursuit of the next San Franchise Quarterback has been elusive. Jeff Garcia had the leadership and smarts, but not much physical presence. Alex Smith was Alex Smith. And Colin Kaepernick for a season or two was the NFL’s most exciting player, even getting the 49ers to play well above their level to sneak into Super Bowl XLVII. But yeah.
And then … Jimmy G. Finally breaking himself free of the New England Patriots bench, Jimmy Garoppolo came to San Francisco and won the hearts of 49ers fans over faster than, well, essentially any Niners players ever. As a reward for his 6-0 effort down the stretch in 2018, Garoppolo was awarded the largest contract in history.
Like him or not (and we know most of you love him), Jimmy G. is your next franchise quarterback, Frisco fans. You’d just better hope he doesn’t get woke…
For the official San Francisco 49ers website, click here.
Sound of Championship Football: Super Bowl LIV 49ers vs. Chiefs: click here