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5.7k voters

The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time

Updated May 21, 2020 47.6k votes 5.7k voters 132.5k views99 items

List RulesPlease 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.
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  • Jerry Rice1
    2,724
    318

    Jerry Rice

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceCrawford, Mississippi, United States of America

    Age57

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

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    #303 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time#3 of 15 The Worst NFL Trades Ever Made

  • Joe Montana2
    2,705
    324

    Joe Montana

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceNew Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age59

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs

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    #19 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#255 of 568 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures

  • Ronnie Lott3
    1,789
    211

    Ronnie Lott

    Cornerback, Safety

    BirthplaceAlbuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America

    Age56

    TeamsUSC Trojans football, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs

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    #9 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History#2 of 104 The Best USC Trojans Players of All Time

  • Steve Young4
    1,879
    243

    Steve Young

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceSalt Lake City, Utah, United States of America

    Age54

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    #2 of 107 College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon#10 of 120 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time

  • Frank Gore5
    1,416
    327

    Frank Gore

    Running back

    BirthplaceCoconut Grove, Miami, Florida, United States of America

    Age32

    TeamsBuffalo Bills

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    #9 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time#16 of 53 The Most Likable Active NFL Players

  • Dwight Clark6
    1,032
    168

    Dwight Clark

    Tight end, Wide receiver

    BirthplaceKinston, North Carolina, United States of America

    Age63

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers, Clemson Tigers football

    More 

    #29 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time#27 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '70s

  • Joe Staley7
    758
    158

    Joe Staley

    Tackle

    BirthplaceRockford, Michigan

    Age36

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

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

  • Roger Craig8
    1,129
    275

    Roger Craig

    Running back, Fullback

    BirthplaceDavenport, Iowa, United States of America

    Age60

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    #11 of 57 The Best NFL Players From Iowa#3 of 30 The Best Nebraska Cornhuskers Running Backs of All Time

  • Patrick Willis9
    1,328
    339

    Patrick Willis

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceBruceton, Tennessee, United States of America

    Age35

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

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    #10 of 26 NFL Players Whose Careers Ended Too Soon#14 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • NaVorro Bowman10
    750
    160

    NaVorro Bowman

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceDistrict Heights, Maryland

    Age32

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • Tom Rathman11
    563
    88

    Tom Rathman

    Fullback

    BirthplaceGrand Island, Nebraska

    Age57

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    #17 of 69 The Best Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Players of All Time#25 of 26 The Best NFL Running Backs of the 80s

  • Bill Walsh12
    755
    30

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    AgeDied at 76 (1931-2007)

    TeamsSan Jose State Spartans football

  • Charles Haley13
    937
    241

    Charles Haley

    Defensive end, Linebacker

    BirthplaceGladys, Virginia, Virginia

    Age51

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    #21 of 154 The Greatest Linebackers of All Time#13 of 96 The Greatest Defensive Ends of All Time

  • John Taylor14
    716
    152

    John Taylor

    Return specialist, Wide receiver

    BirthplacePennsauken Township, New Jersey

    Age58

    More 

    #94 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame#20 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '90s

  • Terrell Owens15
    1,169
    333

    Terrell Owens

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceAlexander City, Alabama, United States of America

    Age46

    TeamsBuffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Texas Revolution

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    #11 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes#16 of 66 The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

  • Bryant Young16
    673
    154

    Bryant Young

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceChicago Heights, Illinois

    Age48

  • Deion Sanders17
    935
    223

    Deion Sanders

    Cornerback, Punt returner

    BirthplaceFort Myers, Florida, United States of America

    Age53

    TeamsFlorida State Seminoles baseball, Washington Redskins, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons

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    #132 of 149 The Greatest New York Yankees Of All Time#697 of 708 The Best Hitters in Baseball History

  • Brent Jones18
    511
    119

    Brent Jones

    Tight end

    BirthplaceSanta Clara, California

    Age57

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • Vernon Davis19
    688
    208

    Vernon Davis

    Tight end

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C.

    Age31

    TeamsWashington Redskins

  • Justin Smith20
    661
    199

    Justin Smith

    Defensive tackle

    BirthplaceJefferson City, Missouri

    Age40

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • Ricky Watters21
    487
    123

    Ricky Watters

    Running back

    BirthplaceHarrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age51

    TeamsSeattle Seahawks

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    #56 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time#12 of 82 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time

  • Y. A. Tittle22
    490
    139

    Y. A. Tittle

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceMarshall, Texas, United States of America

    Age89

    TeamsBaltimore Colts, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants

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    #13 of 146 The Best LSU Football Players of All Time#10 of 73 The Best Quarterbacks to Never Win a Super Bowl

  • Garrison Hearst23
    426
    106

    Garrison Hearst

    Running back

    BirthplaceLincolnton, Georgia

    Age44

    TeamsArizona Cardinals, Georgia Bulldogs football team

    More 

    #8 of 44 The Best University of Georgia Football Players of All Time#14 of 25 The Best College Running Backs of the 1990s

  • Ken Norton, Jr.24
    443
    114

    Ken Norton, Jr.

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceJacksonville, Illinois, United States of America

    Age54

  • Merton Hanks25
    465
    135

    Merton Hanks

    Cornerback, Safety

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas

    Age52