Much of the sports world is focused on the World Cup right now, and with football in the dead zone and basketball and hockey into their offseasons, it’s one of the quieter times on the sports calendar. And so, sports folks are trying to work in some World Cup hooks.
Over the past two weeks, NFL.com writer Adam Rank has been going division by division and listing out the top 11 players for each NFL team. Soccer teams use XI when they discuss 11 players (starting lineup, all-time best, etc), and so Rank decided to do that with each team’s franchise history.
Rank posted the San Francisco 49ers and the rest of the NFC West Thursday afternoon.
1) Joe Montana, QB (1979-1992)
2) Jerry Rice, WR (1985-2000)
3) Ronnie Lott, DB (1981-1990)
4) Steve Young, QB (1987-1999)
5) Terrell Owens, WR (1996-2003)
6) Jimmy Johnson, DB (1961-1976)
7) Joe Perry, FB (1948-1960, 1963)
8) Bob St. Clair, OT (1953-1963)
9) Hugh McElhenny, RB (1952-1960)
10) Leo Nomellini, DT (1950-1963)
11) Roger Craig, RB (1983-1990)
Coach: Bill Walsh (1979-1988)
I am not all that surprised by the names on the list, but obviously this is open to plenty of debate. In some ways, you almost have to have a modern day list and an older list given the difficulty in comparing between eras. But all things considered, the list makes sense. Frank Gore will be someone who could work his way onto this at some point, and there are arguments to include him now.
The 49ers are most known for their work in the 80s and 90s, but the team had some all-time greats back in the day. Jimmy Johnson is one of the more underrated. I honestly would not be surprised if some of it came from people now automatically thinking of the other Jimmy Johnson when the name comes up. But Johnson was a beast of a cornerback, and when you can put in 16 years of work, something’s going right for you.
What does your “All-time XI” look like?