The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time

Over 6.4K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
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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.
Ranked by
  • Joe Montana
    3,531 votes
    • Birthplace: USA, New Eagle, Pennsylvania
    • Age: 67
    • Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs

    When discussing legendary quarterbacks, Joe Montana's name is always at the forefront of any conversation. Masterfully orchestrating the West Coast offense under Bill Walsh's guidance, Montana became synonymous with poise and clutch performances, helping to forge the 49ers dynasty in the '80s. His ability to read defenses, remain calm under pressure, and deliver pinpoint passes set the standard for future generations, with many aspiring to emulate his unparalleled success and leadership.

  • Jerry Rice
    Wide receiver
    3,562 votes
    • Birthplace: USA, Mississippi, Crawford
    • Age: 60
    • Teams: Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils football, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers

    Undoubtedly one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history, Jerry Rice's impact on the sport is nearly immeasurable. Known for his incredible work ethic and unmatched route-running precision, Rice played a pivotal role in the 49ers' numerous championships and was instrumental in transforming the team into a dominant force throughout the '80s and '90s. His relentless pursuit of excellence and remarkable consistency have inspired countless future athletes, solidifying his legacy as an all-time great.

  • Ronnie Lott
    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back
    2,411 votes
    • Birthplace: Albuquerque, USA, New Mexico
    • Age: 64
    • Teams: USC Trojans football, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs

    A fearsome safety and definitive leader, Ronnie Lott's tenacity and hard-hitting style of play left an indelible mark on the NFL. With a penchant for delivering bone-crushing hits and showcasing unrivaled versatility, Lott's presence on the field struck fear into the hearts of opponents while galvanizing his teammates. His unwavering commitment to winning and unmatched intensity continue to serve as a blueprint for aspiring defensive players.

  • Steve Young
    2,528 votes
    • Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    • Age: 61
    • Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Following in the footsteps of Joe Montana, Steve Young faced lofty expectations as the new face of the 49ers franchise. However, he embraced the challenge, evolving into one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in league history with his exceptional arm talent and ability to extend plays with his legs. Young's dual-threat capabilities and innate understanding of the West Coast offense allowed him to lead the team to continued success, further cementing the 49ers' reputation as a powerhouse.

  • Bill Walsh
    968 votes
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
    • Age: Dec. at 75 (1931-2007)
    • Teams: San Jose State Spartans football

    As the architect of the West Coast offense, Bill Walsh's innovative and cerebral approach to football revolutionized the way the game was played. His strategic acumen and unparalleled ability to develop talent transformed the 49ers from a struggling franchise into a perennial contender. Walsh's influence will forever be ingrained in the sport, as countless coaches continue to adopt his principles and utilize his teachings in today's NFL.

  • Dwight Clark

    Dwight Clark

    Tight end, Wide receiver
    1,466 votes
    • Birthplace: USA, North Carolina, Kinston
    • Age: 66
    • Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Clemson Tigers football

    Forever immortalized by "The Catch," Dwight Clark's presence on the field was nothing short of captivating. His exceptional hands, football IQ, and crisp route-running helped establish him as a go-to target for Joe Montana. Clark's contributions to the 49ers' success are undeniable, with his clutch playmaking and unwavering determination serving as an essential component of the team's rise to prominence.