Super Bowl 2013: Joe Montana and 1989 San Francisco 49ers Better than 2012 Group

By Chris Katje
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

At the NFL Honors ceremony, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana had some harsh words of reality for the 2012 49ers squad. Montana was asked who would win in a battle of the two teams from different eras. Montana’s initial response was that the game “would be bad” for this year’s squad that takes on the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.

I agree completely with Montana and think the 1989 squad would dominate the 2012 squad. Back in 1989, the 49ers posted a 14-2 record and are considered to be one of the greatest teams of all time. In the playoffs that year, the 49ers outscored its opponents 126-26, including a romp over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV. The 49ers defeated the Broncos 55-10 in the most lopsided Super Bowl ever. Montana, who was one of my top 10 playoff QBs, was named Super Bowl MVP with a dominating 297 yard five touchdown performance.

During the 1989 season, the 49ers ranked first in points scored (442), third in points allowed (253) and first in points differential (189). In the season, the 49ers also ranked second in passing yards, 10th in rushing yards, 11th in passing yards allowed and third in rushing yards allowed. Montana said about that year’s squad, “That was one of, I think, our more explosive teams all around, offensively and defensively.

The 2012 49ers are also a great squad, but failed to put up the numbers from that past team. The 49ers enter the Super Bowl, outscoring opponents 73-55 in the Playoffs, which is not exactly dominating in two contests. The 2012 49ers ranked 11th in points (397), second in points allowed (273) and fourth in points differential (124), all falling short of the 1989 team. An 11-4-1 record was led by a strong defense that ranked fourth in both passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed. On offense, the 49er ranked 23rd in passing yards and fourth in rushing yards.

Back in 1989, there wasn’t a discussion of whether Montana was an elite quarterback. This year’s 2012 squad is being led in the big game by backup Colin Kaepernick, who isn’t yet elite. Montana was one of four players that made the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Steve Young were the others. Can you think of anyone from the 2012 49ers that is a clear Hall of Famer?

The matchup will never happen and is strictly hypothetical, but Montana is right about the outcome. This year’s 2012 49ers would be blown out of the building against the 1989 49ers.

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