Who are your top 10 49ers all time? The very 1st Niners game I ever watch was Super Bowl XIX and I was hooked since so for my top 10 Niners I’m going to limit it down to 49ers that I’ve seen played, hence no Joe Perry, Jimmy Johnson, or I can’t even say Fred Dean since I don’t have a true recollection of his game. For the most part I think the top 6 to 7 will be very common (maybe not in the same order)to fans that are in the same time span (85 – present). So here are my picks:
1) Jerry Rice aka the GOAT – Well that’s only obvious if I started watching in 85. But if you were watching back in 85, like me, you probably hated Flash 80. With all those wide open drops I hated #80 but on that Monday Night vs the Redskins, I did a complete 180 and took #80 to the top of my list.
2) Patrick Willis - This might be a little surprise to some since this is an all time list but just after 3 years #52, to me, is a reincarnation of J Rice, in a LB’s body. Only time will tell if he can be another greatest of all time, but in my ranking he’s already a HOF.
3) Joe Montana – Unfortunately my true appreciation to his game grew more after he left the 49ers. My criticism of all the Niner QBs after Montana might not be fair since he set the bar so high but that’s the expectation of all the fans in the Bay, me included.
4) Ronnie Lott – Just with pure intensity I love #42. One of the games that really sticks to my mind was a ProBowl game where Lott was with the Raiders and he’s poppin everyone like it was a regular season game and in one play the NFC QB throws this out route high to J Rice and Rice had to jump to go get it and Lott clearly had the angle to deliver his Ronnie Lott hit, but instead he pulls up and gently push Rice out-of-bounds. 49ers for life!!!
5) Steve Young – One of the reasons I feel bad for A Smith or for anyone that will play after him is the expectation to continue the lineage of Montana and Young (sorry Garcia). But to his testament to even have a lineage someone had to follow up the greatest QB ever. And #8 followed up like no other.
6) Bryant Young – The heart and class of the 49er pride. If it wasn’t for that Monday Night injury he would have been the best DT ever. #97 was my favorite of the BY and Stubby wall.
7) Roger Craig – The original Marshall Faulk, #33 was Bill Walsh’s secret weapon of Super Bowl XIX. Still the best receiving RB ever to play. My question is why is Thurman Thomas in the HOF and not Roger Craig? It did take a while for me to forgive him for that fumble.
8) Frank Gore – Just the best runner the 49ers ever had (again only speaking post 85’). This lone bright star in the offense, until the emergence of V Davis last year, has kept the Niners Faithful in their right minds; hopefully he keeps it going for a couple more years.
9) Garrison Hearst - #20 was actually my favorite Niner RB when he was playing until Gore came along and until I forgave R Craig for that fumble. That Jets OT run was the best run ever outside of the 88’ season.
10) Merton Hanks – The original Ed Reed. He was just a ball hawk and that chicken dance was awesome. Can anyone remember who Hanks replaced in the starting lineup in 94’? Who was opposite of McDonald before Hanks was inserted in the lineup?
Here are a few that almost made the cut in no particular order. John Taylor, Tim McDonald, Wendell Tyler, Eric Wright, and yes I’ll say it T.O. Here are some that I’m hoping will eventually be in the list. T Mays, V Davis, M Crabtree, A Brooks, M Iupati. I hope these players will be with the Niners for the rest of their careers like P Willis. I will be watching their careers in the future and hopefully a couple will make my list one day. It’s a tough list to crack but I think these players mentioned has it in them to do some great things in the future. Until then who’s in your top 10?