The San Francisco 49ers franchise history is built for many fans on the performance of the Bill Walsh and George Seifert led teams. For any fans born since the early 70s, it is easy to overlook what this team did prior to that given the team reached Super Bowl glory once Bill Walsh arrived.
However, plenty of the franchise's older fans remember how good some of the players on those older teams were. Earlier this week, Football Perspective had an interesting trivia question that brought up an older team. Chase Stuart posed the following question:
Since 1950, there have been just seven teams to rank in the top 3 in Y/A, Sack Rate, Touchdown Rate, and Interception Rate in the same season. Can you name them?
If you click on that link, you can get up to three hints to answer the question. There are some obvious recent teams including a pair of Peyton Manning teams, but there are several that most of us would not guess. The San Francisco 49ers have two teams represented. The 1984 49ers are included, which is not remotely surprising given how good that team was.
However, the second 49ers team is from before the Joe Montana and Steve Young years. The 1970 San Francisco 49ers, led by MVP quarterback John Brodie are one of those seven teams. The 1970 49ers finished second in yards per attempt, first in sack rate, third in touchdown rate and first in interception rate. According to FP, that 49ers team averaged 7.6 ANY/A, while the second-best team that was year at 5.7 ANY/A.
If you check out the 1970 Pro Football Reference page, the 49ers were first in points scored. They were first in traditional total passing yards, and 17th in total rushing yards. The team's leading rusher that year was Ken Willard, who finished with 789 rushing yards. Doug Cunningham was second on the team with 443 rushing yards.
For comparison's sake, the 1970 49ers finished the season 13th in points allowed. They finished the season 10-3-1, claiming the NFC West by one game over the Los Angeles Rams. It was odd that there were actually a lot of ties that year, with 9 games ending in ties. The 49ers won their divisional round matchup over the Minnesota Vikings by a final score of 17-14. They lost 17-10 to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game, who subsequently lost to the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl. 1970 was the first of three straight years in which the 49ers went to the playoffs and were eliminated by the Cowboys.
You can read more about the 49ers 1970 season in howtheyscored's year-by-year post on the season. Early in the site's life, howtheyscored put together a rundown of every single season, starting with 1946. You can read all of them HERE.