Sports

The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time 

Ranker NFL
Originally by
Updated May 21, 2020 47.1k votes 5.5k voters 129.9k views 99 items

List Rules Please vote on the players based only on their time with the 49ers

A list of the best San Francisco 49ers of all time. The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most successful and popular NFL teams during the Super Bowl era. The team has gone to six Super Bowls, winning five of them. The San Francisco teams of the past four decades have had some of the best players in football history. These players are widely considered the best players at their position and are easily the greatest 49ers ever. Every conversation about the greatest 49ers begins with Joe Montana. Drafted in the third round in 1979, Montana was an integral player in the 49ers dynasty of the 1980s and 1990s. The team won four Super Bowls with Montana as its quarterback, confirming his status as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Next in line was another superstar quarterback: Steve Young. A worthy successor, Young was an NFL MVP and led the 49ers to the Super Bowl title after the 1994.

You can't talk about the greatest 49ers players of all time without mentioning the best wide receiver ever. Jerry Rice had the most storied career of any receiver in NFL history. Rice holds nearly every receiving record in NFL history and is by far and away the best 49ers receiver of all time.

The 49ers defense has featured the iconic Ronnie Lott and more recently, superstar linebacker Patrick Willis.

This is the list of the best San Francisco 49ers of all time. If you see someone missing from this list, feel free to add him. Vote or rerank this list according to who you think is the greatest San Francisco 49ers player of all time.
list ordered by
1
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Quarterback from New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Age: 59

Teams: Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs

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#15 of 252 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #10 of 1,820 The Best Athletes Of All Timelisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

2
Jerry Rice is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Wide receiver from Crawford, Mississippi, United States of America

Age: 53

Teams: Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils football, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers

More Jerry Rice 

#553 of 1,820 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time #5 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

3
Ronnie Lott is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Cornerback and Safety from Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America

Age: 56

Teams: USC Trojans football, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs

More Ronnie Lott 

#8 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History #15 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #4 of 104 The Best USC Trojans Players of All Time

4
Steve Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Quarterback from Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America

Age: 54

Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, BYU Cougars football, Los Angeles Express

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#7 of 252 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #945 of 1,820 The Best Athletes Of All Timelisted on College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon

5
Frank Gore is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Running back from Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida, United States of America

Age: 32

Teams: Buffalo Bills

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#18 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #136 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #8 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time

6
Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Linebacker from Bruceton, Tennessee, United States of America

Age: 34

Teams: San Francisco 49ers

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#69 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History #166 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #42 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

7
Dwight Clark is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Dwight Clark Tight end and Wide receiver from Kinston, North Carolina, United States of America

Age: 58

Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Clemson Tigers football

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#33 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time #254 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #20 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '70s

8
Roger Craig is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Running back and Fullback from USA, Davenport, Iowa

Age: 55

9
Charles Haley is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Defensive end and Linebacker from Gladys, Virginia, Virginia

Age: 51

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#40 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History #138 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #23 of 154 The Greatest Linebackers of All Time

10
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Wide receiver from USA, Alabama, Alexander City

Age: 42

Teams: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Texas Revolution, + more

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#7 of 292 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #15 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Timelisted on The Best 'Dancing With The Stars' Contestants, Ranked

11
Joe Staley is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Joe Staley Tackle from Rockford, Michigan

Age: 31

Teams: San Francisco 49ers

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#263 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #11 of 61 The Best NFL Players From Michigan #18 of 22 Every Player Injured During The 2019-20 NFL Season (So Far)

12
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Cornerback and Punt returner from Fort Myers, Florida, United States of America

Age: 48

Teams: Florida State Seminoles baseball, Washington Redskins, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, + more

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#1,031 of 1,820 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 81 The Best Florida State Football Players of All Time #649 of 708 The Best Hitters in Baseball History

13
Bryant Young is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Bryant Young Defensive tackle and Defensive end from Chicago Heights, Illinois

Age: 43

14
John Taylor is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
John Taylor Return specialist and Wide receiver from Pennsauken Township, New Jersey

Age: 53

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#84 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #38 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time #252 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

15
NaVorro Bowman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
bigulcards added Linebacker from District Heights, Maryland

Age: 27

Teams: San Francisco 49ers

16
Justin Smith is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Defensive tackle from Jefferson City, Missouri

Age: 39

Teams: San Francisco 49ers

17
Vernon Davis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Tight end from Washington, D.C.

Age: 31

Teams: Washington Redskins

18
Y. A. Tittle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Quarterback from Marshall, Texas, United States of America

Age: 89

Teams: Baltimore Colts, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants

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#7 of 73 The Best Quarterbacks to Never Win a Super Bowl #31 of 252 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time #10 of 146 The Best LSU Football Players of All Time

19
Brent Jones is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Tight end from Santa Clara, California

Age: 52

Teams: San Francisco 49ers

20
Tom Rathman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
21
Merton Hanks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Cornerback and Safety from Dallas, Texas

Age: 47

22
Ricky Watters is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
willyboymcoy added Running back from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Age: 46

Teams: Seattle Seahawks

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#50 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time #75 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #237 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

23
Bill Walsh is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Tom Derr added

Age: Died at 76 (1931-2007)

Teams: San Jose State Spartans football

24
Garrison Hearst is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Garrison Hearst Running back from Lincolnton, Georgia

Age: 44

Teams: Arizona Cardinals, Georgia Bulldogs football team

25
Dana Stubblefield is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
Defensive tackle and Defensive end from Cleves, Ohio, United States of America

Age: 45

Teams: San Francisco 49ers