Last week we wrapped up the offensive line with the #2 guard, won by Randy Cross. With that completed I thought we'd wrap up the offense as a whole with the fullback position. I think this position creates an area of debate that I'd like to resolve for future ballots. Joe Perry is currently the 49ers all-time leading rusher. I didn't include him in the running backs because he's always been listed as a fullback. Of course, offenses operated differently back then so it creates a whole bunch of confusion. One option is develop two teams: one pre-Walsh, one Walsh forward. Thoughts?
Tom Rathman (1986-1993): Simply put, Rathman was a beast of a fullback. While leading the way for Roger Craig, Rathman was a member of the 1988 and 1989 Super Bowl champions. In Super Bowl XXIV, Rathman finished with 81 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. Aside from being a great blocker, Rathman fit perfectly into the West Coast offense as a receiving back. In 1989, Rathman led all NFL running backs with 73 receptions for 616 yards. After spending time as the Raiders running back coach, he returned home this year as Mike Singletary's running back coach. Considering Singletary wants the whole physical with a F thing, Rathman is the perfect guy.
Joe Perry (1948-1963): Perry is the 49ers all-time leading rusher and a Hall of Famer. The 49ers clearly used the fullback position in a different manner at that point, but considering the team also had Hugh McElhenny at halfback, I decided Perry would go here. On those teams, the backfield was referred to as the Million Dollar Backfield and consisted of Perry, Y.A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny and John Henry Johnson, all futureHall of Famers. Perry was the first back to gain 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons and when he retired, he was second on the NFL's all-time rushing list to Jim Brown. He finished his career with 12,505 combined yards.
Ken Willard (1965-1973): Willard finished as the 49ers #3 all-time rusher, and like Perry was still listed as a fullback. Willard was a 4-time Pro Bowler who finished his 49ers career with 6.105 yards and 45 touchdowns. Willard won 3 division titles with the 49ers and was actually drafted ahead of Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers. Willard was also drafted twice in the MLB draft and currently works in North Carolina.
William Floyd (1994-1997): Floyd only spent 4 years with the 49ers but emerged as a fan favorite (well at least I was a fan). Floyd was a first round pick of the 49ers and against Chicago he became the first rookie to score 3 touchdowns in a playoff game. In that year's Super Bowl he had 58 total yards and a touchdown. For this particular position, Floyd would fall into the "just happy to be nominated" category.
Honorable Mentions: John Henry Johnson (1954-56): Only 3 years and his one Pro Bowl year was actually as a halfback; Fred Beasley (1999-2004): Should be in the poll just for punching Kevan Barlow, but actually came down to him or William Floyd; J.D. Smith (1958-1964): Fifth All-Time 49er rusher but wanted to keep this as
a 4-back poll.
Who should be our all-time fullback?
Tom Rathman (489 votes)
Joe Perry (125 votes)
Ken Willard (14 votes)
William Floyd (36 votes)
664 total votes