San Francisco 49ers: 5 Worst 49ers Teams in Franchise History

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San Francisco 49ers: 5 Worst 49ers Teams in Franchise History
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Former head coach Mike Nolan was brought in in 2005 to revitalize a floundering 49ers franchise. Yet his tenure only lasted less than four seasons.

When someone thinks about the legacy of the San Francisco 49ers, one recalls five Super Bowl championships in six appearances. The names of 49er greats also come to the forefront: Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott, supplemented by the newer generation of greats such as Colin Kaepernick, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore and Alex Smith.

There are the famous head coaches: Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Steve Mariucci, and now, Jim Harbaugh.

In spite of all that success, however, there have been some bad 49er teams...

...really bad 49er teams.

Such a list might not be popular among fans who have grown accustomed to a storied franchise, rich with history and success. Yet, the fact remains that the San Francisco 49ers have endured some very bad years, some of them in the not-so-distant past. Like most franchises in any sport, the 49ers have had their ups and downs, highlighting the team's progression over the years.

Fortunately, San Francisco fans can enjoy the fact that the team is entering a new phase of success.  Many can also look back to the 49ers' glory years that dominated football during the 1980s and early 90s. 

Yet before, and intermixed in between, were a number of 49ers teams that wound up becoming proverbial "laughingstocks" within the league. There were plenty of dark years that should be mentioned as well. 

For whatever the reasons, bad ownership, poor management, incompetent coaching, bad drafts or underachieving players, a number of 49er teams throughout the years have earned being labeled as atrocious. 

While these years of bad teams might be painful for fans to recall, they should be remembered. After all, how can one measure success without having visited the pits of despair?

Here are the top five worst San Francisco 49er teams in franchise history during the modern era (1970-present).


All records and statistics courtesy of

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