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The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time

Updated May 21, 2020 49.5k votes 5.6k voters 130.9k 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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  • 1
    Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    2,845
    321

    Joe Montana

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceNew Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age64

    TeamsNotre Dame Fighting Irish football, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs

  • 2
    Jerry Rice is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    2,838
    335

    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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  • 3
    Ronnie Lott is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    1,879
    220

    Ronnie Lott

    Cornerback, Safety

    BirthplaceAlbuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America

    Age61

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

    More Ronnie Lott 

    #9 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History#2 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
    1,964
    258

    Steve Young

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceSalt Lake City, Utah, United States of America

    Age58

    TeamsTampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, BYU Cougars football, Los Angeles Express

    More Steve Young 

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  • 5
    Frank Gore is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    1,466
    343

    Frank Gore

    Running back

    BirthplaceMiami, Florida

    Age37

    TeamsBuffalo Bills

  • 6
    Dwight Clark is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    1,079
    166

    Dwight Clark

    Tight end, Wide receiver

    BirthplaceKinston, North Carolina, United States of America

    Age63

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers, Clemson Tigers football

    More 

    #235 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever#25 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time

  • 7
    Joe Staley is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    786
    158

    Joe Staley

    Tackle

    BirthplaceRockford, Michigan

    Age36

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

    More 

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  • 8
    Patrick Willis is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    1,371
    358

    Patrick Willis

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceBruceton, Tennessee, United States of America

    Age35

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

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  • 9
    Roger Craig is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    1,180
    292

    Roger Craig

    Running back, Fullback

    BirthplaceDavenport, Iowa, United States of America

    Age60

  • 10
    NaVorro Bowman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    779
    163

    NaVorro Bowman

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceDistrict Heights, Maryland

    Age32

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • 11
    John Taylor is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    749
    158

    John Taylor

    Return specialist, Wide receiver

    BirthplacePennsauken Township, New Jersey

    Age58

    More 

    #93 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame#13 of 36 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '80s

  • 12
    Tom Rathman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    585
    91

    Tom Rathman

    Fullback

    BirthplaceGrand Island, Nebraska

    Age57

    More Tom Rathman 

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  • 13
    Charles Haley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    983
    251

    Charles Haley

    Defensive end, Linebacker

    BirthplaceGladys, Virginia, Virginia

    Age56

    More Charles Haley 

    #20 of 154 The Greatest Linebackers of All Time#14 of 96 The Greatest Defensive Ends of All Time

  • 14
    Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    1,217
    352

    Terrell Owens

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceAlexander City, Alabama, United States of America

    Age46

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

  • 15
    Bill Walsh is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    777
    32

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    AgeDied at 76 (1931-2007)

    TeamsSan Jose State Spartans football

  • 16
    Bryant Young is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    695
    162

    Bryant Young

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceChicago Heights, Illinois

    Age48

  • 17
    Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    969
    234

    Deion Sanders

    Cornerback, Punt returner

    BirthplaceFort Myers, Florida, USA

    Age53

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

    More Deion Sanders 

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  • 18
    Brent Jones is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    534
    123

    Brent Jones

    Tight end

    BirthplaceSanta Clara, California

    Age57

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • 19
    Vernon Davis is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    714
    216

    Vernon Davis

    Tight end

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C.

    Age36

    TeamsWashington Redskins

  • 20
    Justin Smith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    686
    214

    Justin Smith

    Defensive tackle

    BirthplaceJefferson City, Missouri

    Age40

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • 21
    Ricky Watters is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    507
    127

    Ricky Watters

    Running back

    BirthplaceHarrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age51

    TeamsSeattle Seahawks

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  • 22
    Garrison Hearst is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    437
    110

    Garrison Hearst

    Running back

    BirthplaceLincolnton, Georgia

    Age49

    TeamsArizona Cardinals, Georgia Bulldogs football team

    More 

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  • 23
    Y. A. Tittle is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    502
    146

    Y. A. Tittle

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceMarshall, Texas, United States of America

    Age93

    TeamsBaltimore Colts, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants

    More Y. A. Tittle 

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  • 24
    Ken Norton, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    453
    120

    Ken Norton, Jr.

    Linebacker

    BirthplaceJacksonville, Illinois, United States of America

    Age54

  • 25
    Dana Stubblefield is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best San Francisco 49ers of All Time
    436
    114

    Dana Stubblefield

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceCleves, Ohio, United States of America

    Age49

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

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