The twenty-first century hasn’t been kind to the San Francisco 49ers. Two Super Bowl appearances, which ended in defeat, and not a whole lot else. Six playoff appearances in twenty seasons isn’t what San Francisco fans of my age group are accustomed to.
When I was growing up, the 49ers were a constant presence at the top of the NFL. They dominated the 1980s, winning four Super Bowls during the decade. They “only” won one Super Bowl during the 1990s, but were still a top contender in the NFC up until Steve Young’s retirement early in the 1999 season. Bengals fans slightly older than I am still haven’t forgiven Joe Montana for ripping two championships from Cincinnati. Fortunately, my bitter memories don’t extend that far, so I can rank this set of quarterbacks without throwing up in my mouth a little bit.
5. Jeff Garcia
Garcia went undrafted by NFL teams in 1994 because he was seen as being too small. Like others facing similar biases, Garcia took his talents to the CFL & joined the Calgary Stampeders. Garcia ended a five year run in Calgary by leading the Stampeders to a Grey Cup, and San Francisco took notice. Garcia had grown up in the Bay Area, and now had the opportunity to lead his hometown team after Steve Young’s retirement. He would later admit that the pressure of following in Young’s & Montana’s footsteps got to him, as did dealing with his top receiver Terrell Owens.
Garcia still had a good run though, and even if TO was a pain in the butt off of the field, he was very helpful to Garcia’s cause on the field. Garcia went to three straight Pro Bowls, setting a 49ers single season record with 4,278 passing yards in 2000. He led the 49ers to the playoffs in 2001 & 02, including a victory over the Giants in the 02 playoffs where the 49ers came back from a 38-14 deficit. Things between Garcia & Owens went south after that season, and San Fran’s coaching change from Steve Mariucci to Dennis Erickson didn’t help matters. Garcia’s time in San Francisco could have been better, but it was a heck of a job by him just to get there.
4. Y.A. Tittle
Tittle arrived in San Francisco in 1951, after the original Baltimore Colts folded and their players were dispersed in a draft. He became part of the Million Dollar Backfield, which included Tittle, fullback Joe Perry & halfbacks Hugh McElhenny & John Henry Johnson. While the 49ers didn’t win any championships with this group, all four members were still inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Tittle was selected to four Pro Bowls during his time with the 49ers. However, the last few years of Tittle’s time in San Francisco saw him sharing time with Earl Morrall & John Brodie. The 49ers traded him to New York, which would give Tittle a chance to elevate his game even further.
3. John Brodie
Brodie was the third overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft, and spent his first several seasons backing up Y.A. Tittle. He showed enough for the 49ers to trade Tittle in 1961, and was the 49ers starting quarterback for most of the next decade. It wasn’t the most competitive decade for the 49ers, but Brodie was one of the best passers. He led the NFL in passing yards three times & touchdowns twice. He was selected to two Pro Bowls and was named MVP in 1970, leading the 49ers to their first ten-win season since 1948. (In fairness, there were fourteen games in a season back then, so it was a little tougher in those days.)
1970 & 71 saw the 49ers make the NFC Championship Game two seasons in a row, losing to the Dallas Cowboys each time. Brodie retired in 1973, at the time he ranked third overall in passing yards & eighth in touchdown passes. He’s still considered one of the best quarterbacks to not be elected to the Hall of Fame.
2. Steve Young
There was a period of time in the late 1980s & early 1990s where some believed the 49ers had the two best quarterbacks in football on their roster. Of course, Joe Montana was the superstar of the league, but Steve Young was gaining some attention as well. His stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a disaster, but 49ers coach Bill Walsh believed that was due to the franchise’s ineptitude. Young saw limited time his first four seasons, getting an occasional start when Montana was banged up.
Montana missed the entire 1991 season after getting injured in the 1990 NFC Championship Game, but Young’s season in relief came as a mild disappointment. 1992 saw Young step his game up as Montana remained on the shelf. He led the 49ers to a 14-2 record & led the league in touchdowns & passer rating. Young won his first MVP award, went to his first Pro Bowl and put to rest any doubts about who the 49ers QB of the future was. Young went on to lead the NFL in completion percentage five times, touchdown passes four times, QB rating six times, and won another MVP award during the 1994 season, which ended with the 49ers’ fifth Super Bowl championship.
Young was a dominant passer, and could get it done on the ground as well. He’s second all-time in QB rushing touchdowns, and fifth in rushing yards. There wasn’t much he couldn’t do.
Honorable Mention: Frankie Albert
Albert led the 49ers during their early years in the All-America Football Conference, where they finished second to the Cleveland Browns four seasons in a row. Albert was named co-MVP with Otto Graham in 1948, led the AAFC in touchdown passes twice, and made the Pro Bowl in his first NFL season. His touchdown/interception rate of 115/98 definitely stands out in the time period. He’s considered the best left-handed quarterback of his generation & is credited for inventing the bootleg.
1. Joe Montana
Up until Tom Brady existed, Joe Cool was the prototypical quarterback that had the most legendary career & created the most memories for fans. He went to Notre Dame & won a championship in 1977, while leading the team to a number of dramatic come from behind victories. It was a skill that carried over to the NFL, as Montana became known as “The Comeback Kid” for his ability to grab victory from the jaws of defeat. Bengals fans old enough to remember Super Bowl XXIII still gripe about it. Cowboys fans old enough to remember the 1982 NFC Championship Game still gripe about it. I think most fans of other teams during Montana’s era have at least one thing to gripe about with Joe.
Montana won four Super Bowls with the 49ers (3 game MVPs), earned two regular season MVP awards, was selected to seven Pro Bowls and led the league in completion percentage five times. Pretty much any ranking of “clutch athletes” includes him somewhere. He missed some time due to multiple injuries considered career-ending, but came back each time to re-establish himself at the top of the heap. He still leads the 49ers in most passing statistics, with a slight edge over Steve Young.
Honestly, if a franchise ever has somebody like this guy throwing the ball to somebody like Jerry Rice at some point, I can’t feel bad for any misery they might go through in the future.
Thanks for reading! Join us next time when we look at the Seattle Seahawks!
Cook’s 2021 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 2
Cook brings the rest of the Week 2 Gambling picks! Have you been making out better than he has with picks?
Hi, hello & welcome to Week 2 of the National Football League! Hopefully you read the TNF column on Thursday and got some good money out of it. Now we’re running through the rest of the games! Odds provided by Vegas Insider. (We use the consensus line on the far right.)
Sunday, September 19
New Orleans (-3) vs. Carolina
Panthers when they seen the Saints are up next on their schedule, pic.twitter.com/DZ6bs1Jl8M
— Saints4lyfe (@Nawlins4lyfe) September 14, 2021
The most impressive showing of Week 1 had to be that of the Saints, who made Aaron Rodgers look like an old QB that wasn’t exactly focused on football during his off-season. Jameis Winston was very effective, pretty much everything went right for the Saints in their temporary home of Jacksonville. This week they visit the other 1995 expansion team, who took care of business against the Jets but weren’t quite as impressive in the process. A win is a win though, and the Panthers have a chance to start the Sam Darnold Era 2-0.
Unfortunately for the Saints, they lost some key pieces this week in Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Davenport & Erik McCoy. They also have some illness issues regarding the coaching staff, with seven coaches in total out this week due to virus. I can see the Saints overcoming the issues and winning, but the Panthers should be able to keep things close.
Houston vs. Cleveland (-13)
— DollarDog Nick (@DollarDogSports) September 16, 2021
The Texans got an easy win over a Jaguars team that might somehow be worse than people expected, while the Browns came up just a bit short against a Chiefs team that seems destined for another Super Bowl run. While the way the Browns lost had to be a bitter pill to swallow, they should feel good about their future prospects. They’ll win this game, the question is if they can cover the spread here.
I don’t think they do. Tyrod Taylor might not be the sexiest QB choice out there, but he doesn’t make mistakes and can keep the Texans close in games like this one where they’re out-manned.
Cincinnati vs. Chicago (-2.5)
Ja'Marr Chase can catch the ball
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 12, 2021
The most encouraging development from the Bengals’ Week 1 victory over the Vikings? Ja’Marr Chase catching the football. It seemed like that was going to be an issue during an unimpressive training camp & preseason for the rookie, and he admitted to having problems seeing the football. He didn’t last Sunday. While it took overtime to get the job done, Cincinnati actually finishing a job is a good sign. The less said about Chicago’s Week 1, the better. I told you about Prime Time Andy Dalton, and the Bears laying an egg in the evening certainly wasn’t anything new.
Things will be better this week. The Bears will be back home, Dalton will be in a more friendly setting, and the Bears defense should be able to get to Joe Burrow more often than they got to Matthew Stafford. We know good things don’t last for the Bengals, & I think they lose by at least one field goal.
Las Vegas vs. Pittsburgh (-6.5)
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) September 16, 2021
You gotta love it when football players remember history, right? Derek Carr knows that the Steelers have always been favored by NFL management, while the Raiders are typically on the wrong end of league decisions. Indeed, that “Immaculate Reception” was actually an incomplete pass. People outside of Pittsburgh know this. People inside Pittsburgh, well they’re not very happy when the truth gets pointed out.
Unfortunately, the Raiders/Steelers rivalry from back in the day hasn’t been too active recently. They haven’t met in the playoffs since 1984. The Steelers have certainly been in the playoffs more often recently, and a win on the road in Buffalo has given their fans hope. They’ll need to win games like this one, which I do see happening this week. However, I’ll take the six points and count on the Raiders keeping things close. They’ll be feeling good after that win over Baltimore on Monday night.
Buffalo (-3) vs. Miami
— Bradley Gelber (@BradleyGelber) September 15, 2021
These teams also faced off in Week 2 last season. If this season’s game is anything like that one was, we’ll be in for a treat. The Bills won 31-28, with Josh Allen throwing for 415 yards & 4 touchdowns in a performance that was a sign of things to come. Stefon Diggs had 153 yards and a touchdown. As for Miami, Ryan Fitzpatrick had a FitzMagic kind of day & Mike Gesicki put up 130 yards and a touchdown.
The Dolphins were looking forward to Will Fuller debuting this week, but that won’t happen due to a “personal issue”. That’s rarely good. They got a narrow win over the Patriots last week, I see them narrowly losing to the Bills this week. Feels like a three-point game, so keep an eye on that spread.
LA Rams (-3.5) vs. Indianapolis
A reminder: Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James will receive their Hall of Fame rings during halftime of Sunday's Colts-Rams game. Both were inducted in August. pic.twitter.com/fRKpGJ5VRJ
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) September 14, 2021
Here’s a secret that might affect your opinion of my NFL fandom & expertise: I really don’t care about Hard Knocks except when my favorite team is on it. In-season might make things different, but the fact it’s the Colts…eh. They don’t seem like the most interesting bunch, but maybe they’ll surprise us. Carson Wentz might be fun, we don’t really know.
What we think we know? The Rams will win this game by a decent margin. They’re got the better roster by a wide margin at most areas of the ball.
San Francisco (-3) vs. Philadelphia
"If the 49ers lose to the Philadelphia Eagles, I'll shave my eyebrow off."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) September 16, 2021
I’m not sure what Bart Scott’s issue with Philadelphia is. Could be he just knows how over-sensitive & easily riled up Eagles fans can be, and trolling them is a good way to generate interest. The Eagles looked pretty good in Week 1, so I wouldn’t feel as confident about the 49ers as Bart obviously does.
In fact, I’ll take the Eagles here. Waiting to see that Super Bowl contender people tell me that San Francisco is.
Denver (-6) vs. Jacksonville
How Urban Meyer pulling up to the Jags halloween party pic.twitter.com/A7rgmh9DeO
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) September 15, 2021
Denver’s had their first two games on the road, which would normally be tough except they’re visiting some of the worst teams in football. Can you believe the Jags were favored on the road last week? I still don’t get that one. The most interesting thing in Jacksonville this season will be when Urban Meyer decides to pull a Bobby Petrino and get outta there.
Am I going to take Teddy Bridgewater on the road two weeks in a row? You know I am! Broncos will take care of business here.
New England (-6) vs. NY Jets
Este domingo los Patriots enfrentan a los Jets.
We shall never forget. pic.twitter.com/sbr4Tv5GgB
— 🇹🇭SOY PATRIOTA🇹🇭 (@SoyPatriota_) September 15, 2021
It feels like these Patriots/Jets games are always closer than one thinks they will be, so it’s tempting to just take the Jets and the points. Then you think about Zach Wilson against a Bill Belichick defense, and you wonder if the Jets will score six points. It’s a good question, but I’ll stick with my initial feeling on the matter. Wilson will at least get a few moments to shine.
As long as he doesn’t run into a lineman’s butt, things should be ok.
Minnesota vs. Arizona (-3.5)
Gus Johnson at all times pic.twitter.com/kSmlUfEhsJ
— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) September 11, 2021
Games that Gus Johnson calls seem to lend themselves to excitement. This has been proven time & again through the years, so it’s a good thing that Fox has him calling a number of NFL games this season. He’ll be joined by Aqib Talib, who people either think is very entertaining or can’t understand. Doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground there.
The Cardinals looked much better in Week 1 than the Vikings did, but this game needs to be close since that’s when Gus is at his best. So hopefully the Vikings at least keep it close.
Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay (-12.5)
— Sara Walsh (@Sara_Walsh) September 16, 2021
We got bit by the Bucs and a high point spread in Week 1. Are we going to do it again? Of course we are, we don’t bet against Tom Brady. Also, the Falcons looked dreadful against the Eagles, and I’m going to need to see something of value from them to pick them here.
Tennessee vs. Seattle (-6.5)
#NFL Week 2 broadcast maps (CBS Late)
🔴 Cowboys @ Chargers
🔵 Titans @ Seahawks pic.twitter.com/MVEgI4MZXH
— 🏈 404 LEGION 🏈 PITTS SZN (0-1) (@CantGuardPitts) September 17, 2021
The Titans were probably the biggest disappointment of Week 1, getting owned by the Cardinals in Nashville and not looking like the playoff contender we thought/think they were/are. I don’t think the Titans are as bad as they looked in Week 1, but it’s not going to get any easier for them in Week 2.
That being said, I like the number for the Titans. We know the Seahawks are all about those games are closer than you think they should be. Also, as the maps show, not many people will actually see this game, so there’s no reason for Russell Wilson to get too excited.
Dallas vs. LA Chargers (-3.5)
I'm really looking forward to watching the Chargers vs. the Cowboys next Sunday! Justin Herbert vs. Dak Prescott, Keenan Allen vs. Amari Cooper, and Joey Bosa vs. Jaylon Smith…it looks to be one of the most entertaining games of the season!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 14, 2021
The Cowboys have themselves a pretty tough opening schedule, following up Week 1 in Tampa with a trip to LA to take on the Chargers. There should be plenty of Cowboy fans at the new stadium, so that’s nice. Dallas’s performance against Tampa was pretty nice as well, and gives on some hope for their chances in the NFC East.
It’s just too bad they’ll be starting off 0-2. Justin Herbert should be able to have a big game against the Cowboys secondary, and I’m pretty sure all his receivers are healthy. There’s a bonus. Chargers take this one.
Kansas City (-4) vs. Baltimore
Lamar Jackson: “It’s not about me and Mahomes. It’s about the Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs.” pic.twitter.com/nZFAMh5tiJ
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) September 15, 2021
It absolutely is about Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson. Not like that’s different from pretty much any other NFL game. Things are always about the quarterbacks, and when you have two of the best in the game in the same game, that’s where our minds are going to wander to. However, since Lamar wants us to talk about the rest of his team, it’s worth pointing out that the rest of his team has issues. We got every washed running back in the league lining up to get carries for this team. You saw how they fell apart late against the Raiders. That defense doesn’t look like a typical Ravens defense.
The Chiefs took awhile to get going against the Browns, but you knew they’d get it done eventually. They’ll get it done here too.
Monday, September 20
Detroit vs. Green Bay (-11.5)
Just got off the phone with Davante Adams. Asked him if he had a message for those who are worried after the Packers' Week 1 loss and he pulled out the classic Aaron Rodgers quote:
"Just to relax, as 12 said years ago. There's a lot of football left." pic.twitter.com/bybg2SzmXF
— Jordan Dajani (@JordanDajani) September 15, 2021
R-E-L-A-X. We remember Aaron Rodgers telling everybody to do just that after fans got uneasy over some Green Bay early season struggles. Sure enough, the Packers righted the ship. I have no doubt they’ll do just that here against a Lions team that historically has had problems winning in Lambeau Field and looked pretty abysmal for most of their Week 1 meeting with the 49ers.
That being said, I can easily see Detroit doing the same darn thing they did last week, making things close late & getting within that 11.5 number. Maybe another one of those backdoor covers will be in line for us on a Monday night. That would be fun for everybody, especially if you take my advice and put yo money on the Lions.
- Week 1 Record: 7-8-1
- Overall Record: 8-8-1
Cook’s TNF Week 2 Gambling Pick
Thursday Night Football kicks off Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season! Steve Cook’s got the gambling line, I wonder if there’s a conditional bet involving Daniel Jones and getting tackled by the turf monster?
Hey friends! I was wondering last week when I did the first picks column if I should just do a Thursday pick column and then do the rest of the picks later. For Week 1, I felt good doing them all at once, and it ended up working out if you bet on the 49ers & Lions on Thursday based off of what I said. At the time I told you the 49ers would cover, the spread was 7.5. It got up to 9 on Sunday, and everybody told me how the Lions made an incredible cover. They did, for slackers that waited until 12:59 on Sunday.
As it turns out, I needed to do a lot of wrestling reviews this week since people that wrestling readers actually care about weren’t available. So my time ended up occupied, and the best thing I can do right now is give you my Thursday pick.
Thursday, September 16
NY Giants vs. Washington (-3)
Sterling Shepard on adding to offensive production
— GiantsTV (@GiantsTV) September 15, 2021
So this is the one season I don’t have Sterling Shepard in any fantasy leagues. That pretty much guarantees it will be his breakout season, right? As breakout a season as one could have on a Giants team that is going absolutely nowhere. Some people possibly thought that they would show some fight against the Broncos in their home opener. Those people were disappointed. The only reason the Giants even have a snowball’s chance in Stamford of winning this Thursday night doohickey is because of their opposition.
The Football Team has Taylor Heinicke quarterbacking them now that Ryan Fitzpatrick fell down and broke his hip. A common ailment for old folks, sad to say. This is why I don’t understand the current trend of NFL teams not investing in backup quarterbacks, or quarterbacks in general in the case of this Football Team. Y’all had Ryan Fitzpatrick running your offense, which was cute because we all love FitzMagic. But when he goes down, this is what you’re running out there and telling us it’s ok? Jeez Louise.
I want nothing to do with either of these teams going forward. I’ll take the Giants just because they’re getting 3 points. Just two messes right here that we’ll watch because there’s only Impact Wrestling on otherwise.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back before Sunday with the rest of the Week 2 picks!
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