San Francisco 49ers History:
The San Francisco 49ers started as a football club in 1946, playing for the All-America Football Conference. The 49ers would become the second best team in the league until it dissolved after the 49ers first season, and they joined the NFL ranks along with the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts. The San Francisco 49ers get their name from the California gold-seekers who stampeded the area in 1849.
The 49ers struggled during their first few NFL seasons, but would enjoy success as early as 1957, securing an 8-4 record and heading to the divisional playoffs for the first time. However, the 49ers would be overcome by the Lions and would sit out of the playoffs for another 13 years.
Over the course of 13 years from 1957, the 49ers only averaged .500 for wins. One important detail from these years, however, is that the team incorporated the shotgun formation into plays for the first time ever. In 1961, the 49ers got off to a 4-1 start using the formation. However, teams eventually put more players on the line of scrimmage to rush the quarterback, combating the quarterback's extra throw time. The shotgun formation has been used in football ever since, and is a standard formation for any level of play.
1970 saw the 49ers win their first ever divisional title against Oakland. The 49ers would go on to defeat the Minnesota Vikings, and would meet Dallas for the NFC Championship game. San Francisco lost the match, 17-10, giving the Cowboys their first conference championship. Following the 1970 season, the 49ers moved from Kezar Stadium to Candlestick Park. In 1972, the 49ers would again covet the divisional title. Over the next eight years, the 49ers would not make the playoffs.
In 1981, the 49ers would break out of the mold and play like champs. They breezed through the regular season and faced the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship. In the fourth quarter of the game with only minutes remaining, Joe Montana threw a pass to Dwight Clark that would be remembered for decades as "The Catch." The catch made by Clark - a leaping, masterful play - would give the 49ers the points necessary to take out the Cowboys and head to their first ever Super Bowl game.
The 49ers would dominate the league in the 1980's and early 1990's, winning Super Bowls in 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1994. Wide receiver Jerry Rice and cornerback Ronnie Lott, as well as QB Montana, carried the team to repeated success. From this 1980's and 1990's dynasty, the 49ers have become one of the most successful teams in the NFL.
Since the early 1990's, the 49ers have failed to post a solid winning record. In the 2000's, the team has been in the process of rebuilding its offense to its former glory.