Question:

Who is the team to beat in the upcoming NFL season?

Answer:

Right now the San Francisco 49ers have the most wins of anyone, so I'd say they are the team to beat.

More Info:

The 1983 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 34th year with the National Football League. Head Coaches Offensive Coaches Special Teams Coaches Strength and Conditioning December 31, 1983 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California
Attendance: 58,286 January 8, 1984 at RFK Stadium, Washington, DC
Attendance: 55,363
The 1989 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 44th season in the National Football League. The 49ers franchise cemented their reputation as the best team of the decade. After going 14-2 in the regular season, the 49ers completed the season with the most dominant playoff run in NFL history, outscoring opponents 126-26 and winning their fourth Super Bowl victory. In 2007, ESPN.com's Page 2 ranked the 1989 49ers as the greatest team in Super Bowl history. Quarterback Joe Montana had one of the greatest passing seasons in NFL history in 1989. Montana set a then-NFL record with a passer rating of 112.4, with a completion percentage of 70.2%, and a 26/8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In the playoffs, Montana was even more dominant, with a 78.3% completion percentage, 800 yards, 11 touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 146.4 rating. Cold Hard Football Facts calls Montana's 1989 season "the one by which we must measure all other passing seasons." Head Coaches Offensive Coaches Special Teams Coaches Strength and Conditioning Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends Defensive Linemen Defensive Backs Special Teams
Practice Squad

Rookies in italics
Active, Inactive, Practice Squad The 49ers offense was just as dominating as it was during the previous regular season. Quarterback Joe Montana threw for 3,512 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions, giving him what was then the highest quarterback rating in NFL history (112.4). Montana also rushed for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns, and earned both the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award. Wide receiver Jerry Rice had another outstanding season, catching 82 passes for 1,483 yards and 17 touchdowns. Running back Roger Craig was the team's leading rusher with 1,054 yards and 6 touchdowns, and he recorded 49 receptions for 473 yards and another touchdown. But other stars on the 49ers offense began to emerge, enabling the team to spread the ball around. After being used primarily as a punt returner during his first 2 seasons, wide receiver John Taylor had a breakout season, catching 60 passes for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also returning 36 punts for 417 yards. Tight End Brent Jones recorded 40 receptions for 500 yards. Fullback Tom Rathman had the best season of his career, rushing for 305 yards and catching 73 passes for 616 yards. Even Montana's backup, quarterback Steve Young had a great year, throwing for 1,001 yards and 8 touchdowns with only 3 interceptions, while also rushing for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns. With all of these weapons, San Francisco's offense led the league in total yards from scrimmage (6,268) and scoring (442 points). The 49ers Defense was ranked #3 in the NFL. Three starters from the Defense made the 1989 All-Pro Team: (Ronnie Lott, Don Griffin, and Michael Walter)
Joe Montana threw for 428 yards and five touchdowns.

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA Scoring Summary 1st Quarter MIN- Rich Karlis 38-yard field goal MIN 3-0 SF- Jerry Rice 72-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick) SF 7-3 2nd Quarter SF- Brent Jones 8-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick)SF 14-3 SF- John Taylor 8-yard pass from Joe Montana (kick failed)SF 20-3 SF- Jerry Rice 13-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick)SF 27-3 3rd Quarter MIN- Rich Karlis 44-yard field goal SF 27-6 4th Quarter SF- Ronnie Lott 58-yard interception return (Mike Cofer kick)SF 34-6 SF- Roger Craig 4-yard rush (Mike Cofer kick)SF 41-6 MIN- Rick Fenney 3-yard rush (Rich Karlis kick)SF 41-13 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco Scoring Summary 1st Quarter LA- Mike Lansford 23-yard field goal LA 3-0 2nd Quarter SF- Brent Jones 20-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick)SF 7-3 SF- Roger Craig 1-yard rush (Mike Cofer kick)SF 14-3 SF- John Taylor 18-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick)SF 21-3 3rd Quarter SF- Mike Cofer 28-yard field goal SF 24-3 4th Quarter SF- Mike Cofer 36-yard field goal SF 27-3 SF- Mike Cofer 25-yard field goal SF 30-3 at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana Scoring summary 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
The 2009 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 64th season, and the first full year with Mike Singletary as head coach after being named interim head coach in 2008. It is the seventh year in which the 49ers have their seventh offensive coordinator. They were looking to improve upon their 7–9 record from 2008 with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, The 49ers started the 2009 season hot by winning three of the first four games. Their only loss in that span was against the Minnesota Vikings on a last-second, 32-yard touchdown from QB Brett Favre to WR Greg Lewis. With that, and a week-5 blowout loss against the Atlanta Falcons, the team got a bad omen for the remainder of the year. The 49ers' defense, led by linebacker Patrick Willis, kept the 49ers in games, while their offense was inconsistent. Most of the blame was due to their weak offensive line, namely, the injury of left tackle Joe Staley in a week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers won a week 12 home game over the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20–3. The win helped keep the 49ers' season alive. Going into week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers were heavily favored to win the game; however, critical mistakes in the game cost them the win and gave the team a huge blow of any chances of making the playoffs. The following week on Monday Night Football, the 49ers played the Arizona Cardinals, who were trying to clinch the NFC West. The 49ers' defense came out and exploded on the Cardinals top-ranked offense, causing them to turn over the ball 7 times. This was the first time San Francisco caused 7 or more turnovers in a game since forcing eight against the New Orleans Saints on September 14, 1997. The 49ers won the game 24–9, keeping their very slim playoff hopes alive. The next week they were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles. The loss officially wiped out the 49ers from playoff contention. Despite being benched for 5 and a half games, Alex Smith came in and threw for a career-best 2,350 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Frank Gore rushed for 1,120 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was awarded his second Pro Bowl appearance. Tight end Vernon Davis turned his career around by leading the team with 965 yards and 13 touchdowns – which tied the single-season record for most touchdowns by a tight end. Rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who held out the first four games of the season, was able to put up solid numbers, with 625 receiving yards, 48 receptions, and 2 touchdowns. On defense, Patrick Willis, for the second time in his first three seasons in the league, led the NFL with 152 tackles and helped the 49ers become one of the best defensive units in the NFL. He was awarded his third straight Pro Bowl appearance. The 49ers released Mike Martz on December 30, 2008. One day following the firing of Martz, the 49ers released quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner and running backs coach Tony Nathan. "To get where we needed to go, I felt those decisions needed to be made at this time," said Mike Singletary. Tony Nathan's replacement came on January 7, 2009 when former 49ers' fullback Tom Rathman agreed to become the new running backs coach. Before the 49ers found a new quarterbacks coach, they introduced two new coaching positions on January 12, 2009. Mike Singletary's nephew Vantz Singletary became the 49ers' inside linebackers coach, while Al Harris was signed as the 49ers' pass rush specialist coach. One month after the firing of Martz, Jimmy Raye was finally hired as offensive coordinator, making him the seventh offensive coordinator in seven years for the 49ers. Along with the hiring of Raye, Ted Tollner's replacement Mike Johnson was signed as the 49ers' quarterback coach. The 49ers' next coaching addition would be Jason Michael as an offensive assistant on March 6, 2009. [Mike Singletary and I] had a shared vision of how you play the game and what we would like to see when the game is played ... His passion for football is kind of contagious. That started the mutual understanding between the two of us. Two days after Mike Singletary was hired as San Francisco's head coach, Singletary fired offensive coordinator Mike Martz. "I am not what he is looking for offensively. I understand that," said Martz in a statement released by the club. With the firing of Martz, the 49ers guaranteed themselves their seventh offensive coordinator in seven years. Possible replacement candidates included Colts wide receivers coach Clyde Christensen, former Rams head coach Scott Linehan, Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. After a second interview with the 49ers, Linehan was offered the position; however, he declined the position stating that it was not right for his family. Soon after, Linehan accepted the offensive coordinator position for the Detroit Lions. Following, the 49ers interviews Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski, and Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson. In the same day as the interview with Jackson, the 49ers flew in former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Reeves for an interview for the position. Following the Reeves interview, the 49ers interviewed Hue Jackson a second time. One day after Jackson was interviewed, former New York Jets' running back coach Jimmy Raye II was interviewed, making him the eighth offensive coordinator candidate to be interviewed by the 49ers. After interviewing with the 49ers, Raye was named the new offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers; coincidentally, Raye’s first NFL job was the wide receivers coach for the 49ers under Ken Meyer in 1977. Raye stated that he and Mike Singletary shared a belief on how football should be played, that being a ground-based, physical football team. Raye has had successful years as a run-based offensive coordinator, namely with the 1984 Los Angeles Rams, when Eric Dickerson rushed for a league-record 2,105 yards. However, his recent success has been questionable. While being the Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator from 2004 to 2005, the Raiders were 32nd and 29th in rushing offense, respectively. Nonetheless, while Raye was running backs coach for the New York Jets over the past two years, Jets' running back Thomas Jones has finished each season with over 1,000 yards rushing. In the 2008 season, Jones finished the season with the 5th most rushing yards, behind only Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, and Clinton Portis. In 1996 the 49ers changed their uniforms to a darker cardinal red, with the most recent change being updating their pants back to gold in 1998. Eleven years later, the 49ers decided to once again modify their uniform. The uniform change rumors were confirmed by Andy Dolich at the 49ers' State of the Franchise. When asked when they were going to change their uniforms "back to normal", Dolich replied, stating, "Stay tuned. Don’t be surprised if you see championship colors back". The uniforms were revealed on April 25, 2009 during the first day of the draft. 49ers players Patrick Willis, Josh Morgan, Dashon Goldson, Joe Staley, and Moran Norris displayed the new jerseys and pants at the 49ers draft party. The new jerseys are very similar to the classic design, with minor changes to the sleeve stripes, the moving of secondary numerals to the top of the shoulders, and the inclusion of a "49ers" ligature below the neck. The shade of red is also arguably slightly darker than the scarlet of classic jerseys, but significantly lighter than the cardinal red used in the 1996–2008 designs. The following are players signed by the 49ers in the 2009 off-season: † College football team
‡ Arena Football League team The following are players who were released by the 49ers in the 2009 off-season: The following are players whose contracts expired at the end of the 2008 season: *RFA: Restricted free agent, UFA: Unrestricted free agent, ERFA: Exclusive rights free agent After finishing the 2008 season with a 7–9 record, the 49ers held the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Surprisingly, the Oakland Raiders opted to choose WR Darrius Heyward-Bey at the 7th pick instead of WR Michael Crabtree, who was considered the top wide receiver in the draft. Because of this, the 49ers were able to pick Crabtree at the 10th selection. "Once we got to 10 and Crabtree was there, it was over," said general manager Scot McCloughan, "... this is great, this is outstanding." Additionally, the 49ers traded their 2009 2nd- and 4th-round picks to the Carolina Panthers for their 2010 1st-round pick. At the start of the 2008 season, JT O'Sullivan was named the starting quarterback of the 49ers, beating out the injured Alex Smith and third-string Shaun Hill. However, after a performing poorly for the first half of the season, O'Sullivan was benched and Hill became the starting quarterback. By the season's end, Hill's numbers were solid; however, even with a career passer rating of 91.6 going into 2009, Mike Singletary has stated that Hill will not be named the starting quarterback for the 49ers. "There’s going to be competition for that spot," said Singletary the 49ers' State of the Franchise Meeting, "If Alex is back, there will be competition for that spot." Just hours after Kurt Warner decided to sign with the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers signed a one-year deal with quarterback Damon Huard. The signing of Huard brings veteran experience to the 49ers' quarterback corp. On March 10, Smith accepted a pay cut to stay with the 49ers.][ On top of the release of JT O'Sullivan, last year's starting quarterback, to the Cincinnati Bengals, Hill, Smith, Huard, and draft pick Nate Davis will be competing for the starting quarterback position. Heading into the 2005 season, Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Kurt Warner became a free agent. After being offered a two-year, $20 million contract by the Cardinals, Warner declined. Following, Warner decided to take a visit to the 49ers on March 2, 2009. The 49ers sent a private jet for Warner and his wife Brenda; a limousine brought the couple to Silicon Valley, where the 49ers' training complex is located. However, on March 4, Warner resigned to the Cardinals for a two-year, $23 million deal. Many believe that the visit to California was a way to gain leverage on the Cardinals in order to raise the contract deal; although Warner and his agent insists that was not the case. "There's definitely a different feeling around the facility with coach (Mike) Singletary here, with some of the new people he's brought in ... It's kind of a fresh attitude. I feel like I get a chance to start fresh and try to become the player I know I can be." – Alex Smith Alex Smith, the number one overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft by the 49ers, was scheduled to make $9.625 million going into the 2009 season. However, with one-and-a-half seasons on the Injured reserve list, the 49ers asked Smith to renegotiate his contract. After returning from his honeymoon in the Maldives, Smith agreed to a pay cut at an undisclosed amount. With the cut, Smith says that he is ready to compete for the starting quarterback spot, primarily against Shaun Hill. "I’m glad it’s against Shaun," Smith said, "He’s a great guy. I can’t think of a better guy to compete against." On September 11, 2009, head coach Mike Singletary announced the 2009 season captains for the 49ers. They were center Eric Heitmann and tight end Vernon Davis for the offense; linebacker Patrick Willis, linebacker Takeo Spikes and defensive end Justin Smith for the defense, and running back Michael Robinson for special teams. The captains were chosen by Singletary himself. Davis' selection as captain represented a turnaround after he was benched during Singletary's first game as head coach in 2008. Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends Defensive Linemen Defensive Backs Special Teams Practice Squad 53 Active, 7 Inactive, 8 PS at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona The 49ers flew to Arizona for a week 1 opener against the team that had swept them the previous season. 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill made his season-opening debut, hoping to redeem himself for letting a close game slip through his fingers the previous year. The first half was largely a defensive struggle. With 5:26 remaining in the first half Frank Gore, the 49ers feature back and offensive focal point the last three seasons, had been held to negative one yard rushing on six carries. Arizona's offense, known in 2008 for their great passing attack, was forced to punt after going 3 and out on three separate occasions, was held to only 3 first downs, and turned the ball over once on an interception by Patrick Willis at this point in the game. After trading field goals, the 49ers were up 6-3 when Frank Gore pounded his way through for a 6-yard score. Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers would kick a 45-yard field goal to close out the first half to make the score 13-6. In the third quarter, Kurt Warner led the Cardinals on a long drive capped off with a quick touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald, a score that would tie the game at 13-13. Despite the small momentum the 49ers had gained by the end of the first half, in the third quarter the 49ers were held to all of 4 yards total Offense. All of the momentum was going Arizona's way after forcing the 49ers to zero first downs and three punts in as many drives. Not long thereafter, the Cardinals took the lead with a Rackers field goal to get the score to 16-13. In 4th quarter, Shaun Hill lifted his demons by responding on the following drive leading the 49ers offense on a long drive lasting 15 plays that was capped off with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Frank Gore. More tension was yet to come as the 49ers defense stopped the Cardinals hurry-up offense on two consecutive drives, one ending on a failed 4th and 5 from the 49ers 33 yard line with 1:51 left in the game. After forcing the Cardinals to burn up their final two time outs with consecutive runs the 49ers were forced to punt giving Arizona one last chance with only 43 seconds left to play from their own 12. Defensive end Justin Smith would make the game winning sack. With the win, led primarily by the 49ers outstanding defensive effort, the 49ers started their season 1-0. Wide receiver Isaac Bruce (4 receptions, 74 yards) would join Jerry Rice as the only receivers to surpass 15,000 career receiving yards. at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California Coming off their upset road win over the Cardinals, the 49ers would play their Week 2 home opener against another NFC West foe, the Seattle Seahawks. San Francisco would get off to a fast start in the first quarter as kicker Joe Nedney got a 37-yard field goal, followed by running back Frank Gore getting a 79-yard touchdown run. The Seahawks would answer in the second quarter as kicker Olindo Mare made a 36-yard field goal. The 49ers would reply with Nedney making a 42-yard field goal, while Seattle closed out the half with quarterback Seneca Wallace completing a 1-yard touchdown pass to running back Julius Jones. On the first play of the 3rd quarter, the Niners struck back as Gore would break an 80-yard touchdown run. Afterwards, Nedney closed the game out in the fourth quarter as he nailed a 39-yard field goal. With the win, the 49ers improved to 2-0. Gore (16 carries, 207 yards, 2 TDs) would join Barry Sanders and Maurice Jones-Drew as the only running backs in history to have two 75+ yard runs in one game. at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota Coming off an impressive divisional home win over the Seahawks, the 49ers flew to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for a Week 3 duel with the Minnesota Vikings. San Francisco would trail early as Vikings quarterback Brett Favre completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Sidney Rice. Minnesota would increase their lead in the second quarter with kicker Ryan Longwell's 40-yard field goal. The 49ers would answer with quarterback Shaun Hill's 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis. The Vikings struck back with Longwell's 52-yard field goal, yet the Niners would take the lead prior to halftime as cornerback Nate Clements returned a blocked field goal 59 yards for a touchdown. San Francisco would increase their lead in the third quarter with kicker Joe Nedney's 37-yard field goal, but Minnesota replied with wide receiver Percy Harvin returning a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, the Niners got the lead again Hill hooking up with Davis again on a 20-yard touchdown pass. However, the Vikings would snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as Favre completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Lewis with 2 seconds left in the game. With the loss, the 49ers fell to 2-1. at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California The 49ers stayed home and looked to continue their undefeated streak against their divisional opponents with the St. Louis Rams coming to San Francisco. In the first half both teams would sputter offensively. Finally, the 49ers would receive some encouragement from special teams as rookie linebacker Scott McKillop recovered a muffed punt for a touchdown. After halftime, the 49ers were finally able to get some headway offensively as Shaun Hill completed an 18-yard touchdown to Vernon Davis. Not long after that, the 49ers defense cemented the victory with an interception returned for a touchdown by third-year linebacker Patrick Willis, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Ray McDonald. Shaun Hill put the final touches on as he completed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan to complete the blowout of 35–0. With the win, the 49ers improved to 3–1 for the first time since 2002. Patrick Willis had an excellent day, getting 2.5 sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown. This also was the 49ers' first shutout win since 2002. at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California Coming off their shutout home win over the Rams, the 49ers stayed at home for a Week 5 duel with the Atlanta Falcons. The Niners would trail early in the first quarter as Falcons running back Michael Turner got a 7-yard touchdown run, followed by quarterback Matt Ryan's 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Roddy White. San Francisco would answer with a 2-yard touchdown run from running back Glen Coffee. After starting the second quarter with a 39-yard field goal from kicker Joe Nedney, Atlanta took over with Ryan hooking up with White again on a 90-yard touchdown pass and Turner's 3-yard & 1-yard touchdown runs. The Falcons would then close out the game with kicker Jason Elam's 40-yard field goal in the third quarter and Ryan's 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth. With the loss, the 49ers entered their bye week at 3-2. at Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas Coming off their bye week, the 49ers flew to Reliant Stadium for a Week 7 interconference showdown with the Houston Texans. San Francisco would find itself trailing early in the first quarter as Texans running back Steve Slaton got a 1-yard touchdown. Houston would add onto their lead in the second quarter with quarterback Matt Schaub hooking up with Slaton on a 9-yard touchdown pass and finding tight end Owen Daniels on a 42-yard touchdown pass. For the second half, starting quarterback Shaun Hill (6/11 for 45 yards) was benched due to poor performance and replaced with quarterback Alex Smith. It began to pay off in the third quarter as Smith completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis. In the fourth quarter, Smith and Davis would hook up with each other again on a 14-yard touchdown pass. However, the Texans answered with a 50-yard field goal from kicker Kris Brown. The Niners tried to rally as Smith found Davis again on a 23-yard touchdown pass, but that would be as close to a comeback that San Francisco would get as Houston's defense stiffened for the win. With the loss, the 49ers fell to 3-3. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree, in his NFL debut, would have 5 receptions for 56 yards. at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana Trying to snap their two-game losing streak, the 49ers flew to Lucas Oil Stadium for a Week 8 interconference duel with the Indianapolis Colts. This game would be quarterback Alex Smith's first start since November 12, 2007. In the first quarter, San Francisco struck first as running back Frank Gore got a 64-yard touchdown run. The Colts would answer with a 38-yard field goal from kicker Matt Stover. Indianapolis would begin the second quarter with Stover's 33-yard field goal, yet the Niners came right back with Smith's 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis. Afterwards, the Colts would close out the half with Stover nailing a 31-yard field goal. Indianapolis would take the lead in the third quarter as Stover nailed a 40-yard field goal, followed by running back Joseph Addai's 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Reggie Wayne to begin the fourth quarter (with a failed 2-point conversion). San Francisco tried to rally, but the Colts' defense would shut down any possible comeback attempt. With the loss, the 49ers fell to 3-4. at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California Trying to snap a three-game losing streak, the 49ers went home for a Week 9 interconference duel with the Tennessee Titans. In the first quarter, San Francisco struck first as kicker Joe Nedney made a 40-yard field goal. The Titans would respond with a 21-yard field goal from kicker Rob Bironas. Tennessee would take the lead in the second quarter as quarterback Vince Young got a 7-yard touchdown run, yet the 49ers regained the lead with running back Frank Gore's 3-yard touchdown run and quarterback Alex Smith's 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jason Hill. The Titans would tie the game in the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Chris Johnson. San Francisco would begin the fourth quarter with Nedney booting a 25-yard field goal, but Tennessee would take the lead with Johnson's 2-yard touchdown run, kicker Rob Bironas' 28-yard field goal, and cornerback Cortland Finnegan returning an interception 39 yards for a touchdown. The Niners tried to rally as Smith hooked up with Hill again on a 3-yard touchdown pass, but the Titans' defense would prevent further progress. With their fourth-straight loss, the 49ers fell to 3-5. at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California Hoping to snap a four-game losing streak, the 49ers stayed at home for a Week 10 Thursday night duel with the Chicago Bears, as head coach Mike Singletary prepared to face his former team. After a scoreless first quarter, San Francisco would strike in the second quarter with a 14-yard touchdown run from running back Frank Gore. The Bears would close out the half with kicker Robbie Gould getting a 50-yard field goal. Chicago would creep closer in the third quarter as Gould nailed a 38-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Niners would add onto their lead as kicker Joe Nedney booted a 21-yard field goal. The Bears would get a comeback drive going as they got inside San Francisco's redzone, yet safety Michael Lewis got the game-ending interception, which preserved the four-point lead. With their four-game losing streak snapped, the 49ers improved to 4-5. at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin With the loss, the 49ers fell to 4-6. at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California With the win, the 49ers improved to 5-6 and within two games of the Cardinals for the division lead. at Qwest Field, Seattle Washington With the loss, the 49ers dropped to 5-7. at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California Once again showing up on MNF, the 49ers came home to face off against the surging Cardinals. It was soon evident however, that the Cardinals were not playing their best, turning over the football 7 times, and to add to their troubles the 49ers capitalized on all of their mistakes. In the end, the 49ers' 3 touchdowns were too much for the Cardinals, and the 49ers not only prevented Arizona from clinching the NFC West, but also avoided getting eliminated from the playoff race, improving to 6-7. at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania With the loss, the 49ers fell to 6-8 and were eventually eliminated from the playoff contention. at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California For their last home game of the season, the San Francisco 49ers took on the visiting team the Lions. The Lions took an early lead midway through the 1st quarter with a 27 yard Jason Hanson field goal. The 49ers tied it up at the end of the 1st quarter with a 33 yard field goal by Ricky Schmitt. The only score of the 2nd quarter was a 39 yard 49ers field goal just before halftime. In the 3rd quarter came 2 San Francisco TD's. First a 2 yard catch by Vernon Davis, then a 1 yard run by Frank Gore. The Lions kicked their final field goal of the day in the 4th quarter from 38 yards. 49ers RB Frank Gore finished with 152 total yards (110 alone in the third quarter) and a touchdown. Gore carried 28 times for 71 yards to give him 1,013 for the year, making him the first running back in team history to record four straight seasons of over 1,000 yards rushing. Also with the win, the 49ers improved to 7-8 at Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri With the win, the 49ers were good enough to finish their season 8-8 and 2nd place in the NFC West.
The San Francisco 49ers entered the 1990 season heavily favoured to win their third consecutive Super Bowl. The season was highlighted by their defeat of the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Throughout the season, the 49ers and the Giants were the two best teams in the NFL. The 49ers would face off against the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. Between 1988 and 1990, the 49ers set a league record with 18 consecutive road victories. Jerry Rice had a career year by becoming the fourth receiver in the history of American football to have at least 100 receptions in one season. The 49ers won their fifth consecutive NFC West Division Title. Dating back to 1989, the 49ers completed a fifteen game unbeaten streak in the regular season (5 victories in the last 5 games of 1989 and 10 victories in the first ten games of 1990). Following the 1990 season, the 49ers left team stalwarts Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott unprotected and let them go to the Los Angeles Raiders via Plan B free agency. Head Coaches Offensive Coaches Special Teams Coaches Strength and Conditioning Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends Defensive Linemen Defensive Backs Special Teams
Practice Squad
Rookies in italics
Active, 4 Inactive, 2 Practice Squad at Candlestick Park, San Francisco at Candlestick Park, San Francisco Just like the regular season game between the two teams won by the 49ers 7-3 the championship game was mostly a defensive battle. San Francisco running back Roger Craig's fumble with 2:36 left in the game led to Giants kicker Matt Bahr's 42-yard game-winning field goal as time ran out. Bahr was New York's only scorer, as he made 5 out of 6 field goals. Despite not scoring a TD in eight quarters against the 49ers the Giants moved on to the Super Bowl with their victory.
The San Francisco 49ers entered professional football in 1946 as a member of the All-America Football Conference. The team joined the NFL along with the Cleveland Browns and the original Baltimore Colts in 1950. The 49ers' first draft selection in the NFL was Leo Nomellini, a defensive tackle from the University of Minnesota; the team's most recent pick was Eric Reid, a free safety from Louisiana State University at number 18. Every year during April, each NFL franchise seeks to add new players to its roster through a collegiate draft known as "the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", which is more commonly known as the NFL Draft. Teams are ranked in inverse order based on the previous season's record, with the worst record picking first, and the second worst picking second and so on. The two exceptions to this order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion always picks 32nd, and the Super Bowl loser always picks 31st. Teams have the option of trading away their picks to other teams for different picks, players, cash, or a combination thereof. Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades. The 49ers have selected the number one overall pick three times: Harry Babcock in 1953, Dave Parks in 1964, and most recently Alex Smith in 2005. In the first three years as an NFL team, the 49ers picked three consecutive future Hall of Famers in the first round: Leo Nomellini, Y.A. Tittle, and Hugh McElhenny; since then, the team has picked four more future Hall of Famers in the first round (Jimmy Johnson, Lance Alworth, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice), making it seven in total. Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Arizona Cardinals
St. Louis Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
This is a list of seasons completed by the San Francisco 49ers American football franchise of the National Football League (NFL). The list documents the season-by-season records of the 49ers' franchise from 1946 to present, including postseason records, and league awards for individual players or head coaches. The San Francisco 49ers began play in 1946 as charter members of the All-America Football Conference. The 49ers won XVI, XIX, XXIII and XXIV, and Super Bowl XXIX The franchise has experienced major periods of success in their history from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, During this period, they had 16 straight winning season (all with 10 wins or more), they played in five Super Bowls, winning all five of them, and winning a total of 16 playoff games. The 49ers have also experienced failure in their history. When the 49ers joined the NFL after the AFL-NFL merger in 1950, they never won a division or conference title, and only finished as high as second once from 1950-1969, and after winning three consecutive division titles from 1970-1972, they would return to losing in 1973 capturing only one winning season for the rest of the decade. The only period, if any, that comes close to challenging this period of failure is the 49ers 2003–2010 playoff drought. This drought finally came to an end when the 49ers finally won their division with a 13-3 record in 2011 Statistics above are current as of February 5, 2012. An em dash (—) indicates that the category is not applicable. 1 Due to a strike-shortened season in 1982, all teams were ranked by conference instead of division. Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
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The 1946 Cleveland Browns season was the team's first in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). The Browns, coached by Paul Brown, ended the year with a record of 12–2, winning the AAFC's Western Division. Led by quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley and ends Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie, the team won the first AAFC championship game against the New York Yankees. The Browns were founded by Arthur B. McBride, a Cleveland taxi-cab tycoon, as a charter franchise in the new AAFC. McBride in 1945 hired Brown, a successful coach at the high school and college levels. Brown, who was serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, began to assemble a roster as the team prepared to begin play in 1946. After beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in an exhibition game, Cleveland opened the regular season against the Miami Seahawks at Cleveland Stadium on September 6, winning 44–0. The Browns proceeded to win six more games before losing for the first time in October against the San Francisco 49ers at home by a score of 34–20. Cleveland lost a second game in a row against the Los Angeles Dons the following week, but rebounded to win the final five games of the season, including a 66–14 victory over the Dodgers. Cleveland finished with the league's best record and a spot in the championship game against the Yankees. The Browns won the game 14–9. Lavelli led the AAFC in receiving with 843 yards and 8 touchdowns, while placekicker Lou Groza led the league in points scored, with 84. Graham had the league's best passing average, with 10.5 yards per attempt. His quarterback rating of 112.1 was the highest in professional football history until Joe Montana surpassed it in 1989. Cleveland played all of its home games in Cleveland Stadium. The 1946 Browns set a professional football record with 67 defensive takeaways; the record still stands as of 2013. In 1944 Arch Ward, the influential sports editor of the Chicago Tribune, started a new professional football league called the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). Ward, who had gained fame for starting all-star games for baseball and college football, lined up deep-pocketed owners including Arthur B. "Mickey" McBride, a Cleveland businessman who grew up in Chicago and knew Ward from his involvement in the newspaper business. McBride developed a passion for football attending games at Notre Dame, where his son went to college. In the early 1940s he tried to buy the NFL's Cleveland Rams, owned by millionaire supermarket heir Dan Reeves, but was rebuffed. Having been awarded the Cleveland franchise in the AAFC, McBride asked Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter John Dietrich for head coaching suggestions. Dietrich recommended Paul Brown, the 36-year-old Ohio State Buckeyes coach. After consulting with Ward, McBride followed Dietrich's advice in early 1945, naming Brown head coach and giving him an ownership stake in the team and full control over player personnel. Brown, who had built an impressive record as coach of a Massillon, Ohio high school team and brought the Buckeyes their first national championship, at the time was serving in the U.S. Navy and coached the football team at Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago. The name of the team was at first left up to Brown, who rejected calls for it to be christened the Browns. McBride then held a contest to name the team in May 1945; "Cleveland Panthers" was the most popular choice, but Brown rejected it because it was the name of an earlier failed football team. "That old Panthers team failed," Brown said. "I want no part of that name." In August, McBride gave in to popular demand and named the team the Browns, despite Paul Brown's objections. As the war wound down with Germany's surrender in May 1945, the team parlayed Brown's ties to college football and the military to build its roster. The first signing was Otto Graham, a former star quarterback at Northwestern University who was then serving in the Navy. The Browns later signed kicker and offensive tackle Lou Groza and wide receivers Dante Lavelli and Mac Speedie. Fullback Marion Motley and nose tackle Bill Willis, two of the earliest African-Americans to play professional football, also joined the team in 1946. Cleveland's first training camp took place at Bowling Green University in northwestern Ohio. Brown's reputation for winning notwithstanding, joining the team was a risk; the Browns and the AAFC were nascent entities and faced tough competition from the NFL. "I just went up there to see what would happen," center Frank Gatski said many years later. Almost all of the players Brown signed were war veterans. Gatski hitchhiked to Bowling Green from West Virginia in a military uniform. Once at training camp, the players faced intense competition for spots on the final roster. Rookies who had their college careers cut short by the war faced off against veteran players from NFL teams including the Chicago Cardinals and Chicago Bears. "It was a tough, dog-eat-dog situation, and you really had to hustle," Groza said later. Almost all of the men Brown signed had played for or against his teams at Ohio State and Great Lakes. Five former Rams players also jumped to the Browns in 1946: center Mike Scarry, tackle Chet Adams and backs Gaylon Smith, Tommy Colella and Don Greenwood. Their move gave rise to a legal battle with the Rams, who left Cleveland for Los Angeles shortly after winning the 1945 NFL championship rather than compete with the Browns. Reeves, the Rams' owner, filed an injunction against Adams in federal court after he signed with the Browns, claiming the tackle unlawfully broke his contract to play for the Rams. Adams argued he had no obligation under his contract to play for the Rams because the team had changed to the Los Angeles Rams following the move. At the end of August 1946, federal judge Emerich Freed denied the Rams' injunction, allowing Adams to play for the Browns. The judge rejected the Rams' contention that Adams had signed to play for Reeves, not a specific team. He ruled the Cleveland Rams had ceased to exist, and that Adams therefore was not bound to fulfill a contract with the Los Angeles Rams. In addition to the players, Brown hired a number of assistant coaches. John Brickels, an Ohio native, was brought in early on to sign players while Brown was still in the Navy. He later served as a backfield coach. Another hire was Blanton Collier, a high school coach for 16 years who had been an assistant to Brown at Great Lakes. Collier succeeded Brown in 1963 as the team's head coach. Fritz Heisler was brought in as a guard coach and stayed with the Browns until the 1970s. Quarterbacks Halfbacks Ends Tackles Centers Head Coach Assistants Rookies in italics (26)
35 Active, 2 Inactive
The Browns' first and only preseason game took place at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Cleveland won the game 35–20. Brooklyn opened the scoring with a touchdown in the first quarter and another on the first play of the second quarter. Both touchdowns followed interceptions thrown by Otto Graham. Substituting for Graham, Cliff Lewis threw a short touchdown pass to Fred Evans near the end of the second quarter to give the Browns their first points. Cleveland scored again in the second half after John Rokisky picked up a fumble by Brooklyn halfback Glen Dobbs and ran it 55 yards for a touchdown, giving the Browns the lead. Graham threw a short pass to Mac Speedie for another touchdown in the third quarter, and added a 20-yard pass to George Young in the fourth quarter to widen the lead. In the same quarter, Evans intercepted a Dobbs pass and ran 83 yards for his second touchdown. Brooklyn had a touchdown near the end of the game to make the final score 35–20. Cleveland won the game despite trailing the Dodgers in rushing yards, 93 to 63. After the win, the Browns prepared to face the Miami Seahawks in their first regular-season game the following Friday. The Browns' first game, against the Miami Seahawks, took place on a warm late-summer evening in September. The crowd was the second-largest ever for a professional football game. The game was well-attended in part because of team owner Arthur B. McBride's promotion of the new team, but also because the Browns' two black players helped draw a large African-American crowd. Miami's team, drawn mainly from the Southern United States, was overmatched by Cleveland. The score was 27–0 at halftime and the final was 44–0. Browns end Mac Speedie scored the team's first points on a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cliff Lewis. Otto Graham came in at quarterback in the second quarter and threw a touchdown to Dante Lavelli. Placekicker Lou Groza kicked three field goals, and the Browns had two defensive touchdowns. Miami never advanced past the Browns' 39-yard line. In their second game, the Browns faced the Chicago Rockets at Soldier Field before a crowd of 51,962 people, an attendance record for a professional football game in Chicago. It was the first of many games during which Cleveland's two black players, Marion Motley and Bill Willis, endured racially charged verbal and physical abuse. Some of their white teammates, including Lou Rymkus, retaliated by dealing their own cheap shots. Motley opened the scoring with a 20-yard run for a touchdown, the first in his career. Lou Groza added two field goals in the third quarter, and halfback Don Greenwood ran for a 41-yard touchdown to make the final score 20–6. Chicago's only points came on a touchdown run by Billy Hillenbrand on the first play of the fourth quarter. Motley later said that racism on the field stopped after opponents saw how well he and Willis played: "They found out that while they were calling us niggers and alligator bait, I was running for touchdowns and Willis was knocking the shit out of them. So they stopped calling us names and started trying to catch up with us." The Browns next played the Buffalo Bisons in Buffalo, New York. Just over 30,000 people watched the game; while this was a lower total than the Browns' previous two games, it set a professional football attendance record in Buffalo. Playing in 80-degree heat, Browns quarterback Otto Graham threw two touchdowns in the first quarter to John Yonakor and Marion Motley. Cleveland scored for a third time in the first quarter when Cliff Lewis, substituting for Graham, pitched a lateral to Gaylon Smith, who ran it in for a touchdown. After neither team scored in the second and third quarters, the Browns added a fourth touchdown on Chet Adams' fumble return. Al Dekdebrun, Buffalo's second-string quarterback, fumbled at the Bisons' 34-yard line and Adams picked it up and ran for a touchdown. The Bisons were held scoreless despite having more first downs than the Browns. The team played without its primary rushing threat, Steve Juzwik, who was sidelined with a pulled leg muscle. Cleveland got off to a strong start against the New York Yankees, scoring two touchdowns in the first nine minutes. Interceptions by Don Greenwood and center Mike Scarry set up the scores. The Yankees came back with a touchdown of their own later in the first quarter after recovering a Graham fumble at Cleveland's 14-yard line. Neither team scored in the second and third quarters, but the Browns added to their lead in the fourth. Lou Groza kicked a field goal and Edgar "Special Delivery" Jones ran up the middle for a 43-yard touchdown with less than three minutes left in the game. The final score was 24–7; it was the Yankees' first loss of the season and left the Browns as the only unbeaten and untied team in the AAFC. After the game, Yankees coach Ray Flaherty criticized his team for losing to a "Podunk team with a high school coach". The threat of bad weather kept attendance down, but the gross ticket receipts of $138,673 still marked the third-best take for a professional football game in history. The Browns won their fifth game in a row against the Brooklyn Dodgers, 26–7. Halfback Don Greenwood scored two touchdowns, one in the first quarter and another in the second. Tommy Colella added a third touchdown in the final quarter on a four-yard rush. Groza added a field goal and made all of his extra points, bringing his season scoring total to 38 and his string of consecutive extra points without a miss to 17. Edgar "Special Delivery" Jones intercepted a pass thrown by Dodgers quarterback Glenn Dobbs, and Lou Saban intercepted two more. Both of Saban's interceptions led to Browns scores. The Browns' defense held the Dodgers to just 37 yards of rushing. Bob Steuber, a Browns halfback, suffered a rib injury in the game and was expected to be out for two weeks. The Browns won their second matchup against the Yankees 7–0 amid a heavy downpour. The weather kept attendance to 34,252, but raised Cleveland's season attendance total over 300,000 people including its preseason game at the Akron Rubber Bowl. The only score of the game came in the third quarter, when quarterback Otto Graham passed to Dante Lavelli for a 33-yard touchdown. Cleveland won despite being outplayed by the Yankees statistically. The Yankees had 10 first downs to the Browns' five, and had 237 yards of total offense to just 67 yards for the Browns. Cleveland was held to just 24 yards of rushing, and Marion Motley, the team's star fullback, rushed for minus eight yards in six attempts. The Yankees threatened to tie the game at the end of the fourth quarter, driving to the Cleveland 16-yard line. New York's pass attempts failed, however, giving the Browns the victory. It was Cleveland's sixth win in a row. The Browns next beat the Los Angeles Dons 31–14 in Cleveland to extend their winning streak to seven games. The crowd of 71,134 people who attended the game on a sunny October day was a professional football record. Cleveland got off to a slow start, falling behind 7–3 at halftime. The Browns' only score in the first half came on a 49-yard Lou Groza field goal, then the fourth-longest kick in professional football history. A flurry of scoring at the end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter, however, won Cleveland the game. Otto Graham passed 36 yards to end Dante Lavelli and then ran in a touchdown with less than three minutes left in the third. It was the first of four touchdowns in 14 minutes of play. Fullback Marion Motley ran in two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one of them a 68-yard run that tied an AAFC record for a rush from scrimmage. The Browns won despite a strong ground attack by the Dons, who gained 274 yards of rushing. The Dons had 21 first downs compared to Cleveland's 10. Groza made all of his extra point attempts, extending his streak to 22 in a row. The Browns suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers before a crowd of 70,385 in Cleveland. The 49ers led throughout the game, helped by three touchdown passes from left-handed quarterback Frankie Albert. Albert's main target was Alyn Beals, a former Santa Clara University star who caught two of his passes for touchdowns. Kicker Joe Vetrano added to the 49ers lead with a pair of field goals in the first half. Don Greenwood ran for a Browns touchdown in the second quarter, but the extra point was botched. The snap was high and went into kicker Lou Groza's arms. He tried to run with the ball but suffered a back injury when he was tackled short of the end zone. Cliff Lewis was also injured in the second quarter, twisting his knee badly. He was taken to a hospital. The Browns ran only 24 offensive plays in the first half, and the 49ers were ahead by 14 points by halftime. Despite losing 34–20, the Browns matched the 49ers statistically, with 338 total yards to San Francisco's 357. Marion Motley, who had been the AAFC's leading rusher before the game, was held to 22 yards. Cleveland next lost its second straight game, against the Los Angeles Dons in Los Angeles. The Dons opened the scoring on the first play from scrimmage after the Browns kicked off. Chuck Fenenbock ran the ball 75 yards for a touchdown. Cleveland came back to build a 16–7 lead at halftime, but Groza missed his first extra point in 24 tries after Bill Lund ran for a touchdown in the second quarter. The missed extra point proved to be the difference in the game. Los Angeles went back on top in the fourth quarter with a Dale Gentry run for a touchdown and a field goal by Joe Aquirre with just 18 seconds left and won by one point, 17–16. A fumble by Browns halfback Ray Terrell at the Los Angeles 35-yard line in the fourth quarter gave the Dons the ball and led to Aquirre's game-winning field goal. Cleveland's running game stalled for the second game in a row; the team gained only 43 yards rushing. Bill Willis, the Browns' defensive star, sat out the entire game with a strep infection. Two other Browns players, Bob Steuber and Alex Kapter, suffered leg injuries and were helped off the field. The Browns won their rematch with San Francisco 14–7 two weeks after losing to the 49ers at home. Cleveland rebounded from two poor rushing games. Runs by halfback Bill Lund and fullback Marion Motley set up touchdowns in the first half. Lund had a series of successful carries that set up the first touchdown in the first quarter, a short pass to Dante Lavelli from Otto Graham. Motley's 64-yard run in the second quarter was followed by a three-yard touchdown run by Gaylon Smith. Lund, however, turned his ankle in the first quarter and did not return to the game. Motley also suffered a pulled leg muscle in the second quarter and played sparingly thereafter. The 49ers came back in the fourth quarter with strong rushing from fullback Norm Standlee and Earle Parsons. Frankie Albert scored the team's lone touchdown on a one-yard run. San Francisco threatened to tie the game, reaching the Cleveland 19-yard line with five minutes to play, but the Browns defense stood firm and stopped the advance. The win put the Browns two games ahead of the 49ers in the AAFC's western conference with four games to play. Cleveland beat the Rockets 51–14 at home before a crowd of 60,457, the fourth time during the season that attendance at Cleveland Stadium surpassed 60,000 people. The Browns led from start to finish, and Lavelli and Speedie had two touchdown receptions each. Graham's four touchdown passes helped the Browns reach an AAFC scoring record. Bud Schwenk made his first appearance in the fourth quarter of the game, substituting for Graham as the game turned into a blowout. He threw for a fifth touchdown, a 20-yard pass to Bill Lund. Edgar Jones added to Cleveland's scoring with a touchdown run in the first quarter, and center Frank Gatski scored the team's final touchdown in the fourth quarter after intercepting a pass and running it back 36 yards. It was the only touchdown of Gatski's 12-year career. Groza made a 51-yard field goal, the longest of the year in either the National Football League or AAFC, and kicked through six of the team's seven extra points. The seventh extra point was blocked, only the second time he missed a conversion in 33 tries. The Rockets managed two touchdowns, the first by Elroy Hirsch on an 81-yard drive in the second quarter and the second on a 76-yard punt return in the third quarter. Cleveland clinched first place in the AAFC's western division and earned a spot in the championship game by beating the Bisons 42–17. The Browns fell behind 10–7 in the first quarter, but subsequently scored 35 unanswered points. Edgar Jones scored two touchdowns, while Motley ran 76 yards for another score. Al Akins and Bud Schwenk had their only touchdowns of the season, playing in the fourth quarter after the Browns amassed a large lead. Despite the Browns' large margin of victory, the game was evenly matched; Cleveland's scores came mostly on breakaway plays. The Bisons had 19 first downs, nine more than the Browns, although the Browns out-gained the Bisons with 455 total yards. The game was marred by numerous penalties against both teams for unnecessary roughness, and the Bisons' kicker Lou Zontini and Browns halfback Ray Terrell were ejected after getting into a fight at midfield in the second quarter. A total of 37,054 people attended the game, the lowest figure for a Browns home game at that point in the season. Cleveland beat Miami in a shutout for the second time in the season, winning 34–0. Otto Graham opened the scoring with a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown. Three other Browns players – Edgar Jones, Gaylon Smith and Gene Fekete – ran for touchdowns. Fekete's touchdown was the only one of his short professional career. Groza kicked two field goals, giving him 12 on the season and tying the all-time professional record set in 1926 by Paddy Driscoll. Cleveland led Miami in all phases of the game, amassing 159 yards rushing to Miami's eight and 233 yards of total offense. Miami gained a total of 46 yards rushing and passing. As the Browns prepared to face the Dodgers in the last game of the regular season, they looked ahead to a matchup in the AAFC championship in Cleveland on December 22 with the New York Yankees, the winners the eastern division. The last game of the Browns' regular season was a 66–14 win over the Dodgers. Nine different Cleveland players scored touchdowns in the game. The Browns' point total set an AAFC scoring record. Groza kicked a field goal to reach 13 for the season, exceeding Driscoll's all-time record. He also kicked four extra points, bringing his total for the season to 45 and beating the previous professional record of 42. Groza, however, injured his left ankle in the third quarter while making a tackle and had to be carried off the field. Substituting for Groza, Chet Adams kicked through five more extra points. Otto Graham played less than half of the game as Cleveland built a large lead, and Cliff Lewis and Bud Schwenk substituted for him in the second half. The Browns ended the game with several injured players at key positions. In addition to Groza, halfbacks Ray Terrell, Don Greenwood and Al Akins had to sit out because of injuries. The win gave Cleveland a 12–2 record as they prepared to face the Yankees in the championship game. A week before the championship game, three Browns players were arrested after a confrontation with Cleveland police. Team captain Jim Daniell, end Mac Speedie, tackle Lou Rymkus and halfback Edgar Jones were drinking and waiting for Speedie's wife to arrive on a flight from Utah. They dropped Jones off and came up behind a police car that was blocking their way. Daniell, who was driving the car, honked the horn, and an argument ensued that ended with the arrest of all three men. Daniell was booked on public intoxication, and Speedie and Rymkus were charged with creating a disturbance. Paul Brown fired Daniell after the incident, saying he had "a special obligation to be exemplary in his behavior" because he was the team captain. The first-ever AAFC championship took place on December 22, 1946 at Cleveland Stadium before a crowd of 41,181. Temperatures were in the 30s, which contributed to the low attendance numbers compared to other Browns home games, but the championship game drew more people than all but three NFL championship games up to that point. The Yankees were in close competition with the Browns as the AAFC's leading team, and finished the season by winning seven of their last eight games. The Browns and Yankees had different styles of play: while the Browns used a T formation offense, the Yankees had a single-wing formation. New York's roster included Spec Sanders, who led the AAFC with 709 yards of rushing and 12 touchdowns. The championship game was largely a defensive battle with little scoring from either team. New York scored the game's first points in the first quarter on a 21-yard field goal by Harvey Johnson, but the Browns went into the lead in the second quarter when Marion Motley ran for a touchdown after a 70-yard drive. The Yankees retook the lead in the third quarter, marching 80 yards down the field for a Sanders touchdown. Cleveland reached the New York 18-yard line at the end of the third, but the drive stalled and Lou Groza missed a short field goal, his third failed attempt of the game. Groza had suffered a sprained left ankle, and Chet Adams substituted for him. Adams, however, missed another field goal in the fourth quarter. The Browns took the lead again in the fourth quarter when Graham passed to Lavelli for a 16-yard touchdown. Groza came back in and kicked the extra point, giving Cleveland a 14–9 advantage with 4:31 to play in the game. Sanders returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards, and the Yankees started the drive at the Browns' 45-yard line. The Yankees appeared poised for a comeback, but Graham intercepted a pass on a third down and Cleveland was almost able to run out the clock. Time expired after a Tommy Colella punt and one short Yankees completion. Graham had 213 yards of passing in the championship game. Lavelli registered 87 receiving yards, and Speedie had 71. Motley was the team's leading rusher, with 98 yards on 13 carries. Cleveland's defense was able to hold Sanders and New York quarterback Ace Parker in check. Parker had only 81 yards of passing, and Sanders ran for just 55 yards. Graham had an average of 10.5 yards per passing attempt, the second-most in history at the time. He had a passer rating of 112.1, setting a single-season record not exceeded until Joe Montana eclipsed it in 1989. Motley finished the season with 601 yards rushing, the fourth most in the AAFC. Edgar Jones was the league's fifth-most-prolific rusher, gaining 539 yards. Greenwood had six rushing touchdowns, tying for the league lead. Lavelli tied for first place in receptions, with 40, and led the league in receiving yards, with 843. His eight receiving touchdowns gave him second place in the league. Speedie, meanwhile, led all receivers in yards per reception, with 23.5. On defense, Colella led the AAFC with 10 interceptions; as a team, the Browns were the league's interception leaders by a large margin, with 41. The Browns had 67 total defensive takeaways, a professional football record that still stands. Groza scored the most field goals and extra points and set a professional football record for a kicker by scoring 84 points. He was the first-ever kicker to make two field goals from beyond 50 yards in a season. A number of Browns players were named to sportswriters' All-Pro teams, including Motley, Speedie, Lavelli, Willis and Mike Scarry.
NFL

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league composed of 32 teams divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The highest level of professional football in the world, the NFL runs a 17-week regular season from the week after Labor Day to the week after Christmas, with each team playing sixteen games and having one bye week. Out of the league's 32 teams, six (four division winners and two wild-card teams) from each conference compete in the NFL playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, played between the champions of the NFC and AFC. The champions of the Super Bowl are awarded the Vince Lombardi Trophy; various other awards exist to recognize individual players and coaches. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; some games are also played on Mondays and Thursdays during the regular season. There are games on Saturdays during the last few weeks of the regular season and the first two playoff weekends.

The NFL was formed on August 20, 1920, as the American Professional Football Conference; the league changed its name to the American Professional Football Association (APFA) on September 17, 1920, and changed its name to the National Football League on June 24, 1922, after spending the 1920 and 1921 seasons as the APFA. In 1966, the NFL agreed to merge with the rival American Football League (AFL), effective 1970; the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that same season in January 1967. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance (67,591) of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States. The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most-watched programs in American history. At the corporate level, the NFL is an nonprofit 501(c)(6) association. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner, who has broad authority in governing the league.

NFL

The All-America Football Conference (AAFC) was a professional American football league that challenged the established National Football League (NFL) from 1946 to 1949. One of the NFL's most formidable challengers, the AAFC attracted many of the nation's best players, and introduced many lasting innovations to the game. However, the AAFC was ultimately unable to sustain itself in competition with the NFL. Three of its teams were admitted to the NFL: San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Colts (not related to the later NFL team that would play in Baltimore from 1953 through 1983, now the Indianapolis Colts).

The AAFC was the second American professional sports league (the first being the third American Football League) to have its teams play in a double round robin format in the regular season: each team had a home game and an away game with each of its AAFC fellow foes.

Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees

American Football League (1936)
National Football League (1937–present)

              

The NFC West is a division of the National Football League's National Football Conference. It currently has four members: Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks.

The division was formed in 1967 as the National Football League Coastal Division, keeping with the theme of having all of the league's divisions starting with the letter "C." The division was so named because its teams were fairly close to the coasts of the United States, although they were on opposite coasts, making for long travel between division rivals. The NFL Coastal Division had four members: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Colts, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers. Los Angeles and San Francisco occupied the West Coast, while Baltimore and Atlanta occupied the East Coast.

The National Football Conference (NFC) Championship Game (also unofficially referred to as the NFC Title Game) is one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League, the largest professional American football league in the United States. The game is played on the penultimate Sunday in January and determines the champion of the National Football Conference. The winner then advances to face the winner of the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

The game was established as part of the 1970 merger between the NFL and the American Football League (AFL), with the merged league realigning into two conferences. Since 1984, each winner of the NFC Championship Game has also received the George Halas Trophy, named after the longtime leader of the NFL's Chicago Bears.

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league composed of 32 teams divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The highest level of professional football in the world, the NFL runs a 17-week regular season from the week after Labor Day to the week after Christmas, with each team playing sixteen games and having one bye week. Out of the league's 32 teams, six (four division winners and two wild-card teams) from each conference compete in the NFL playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, played between the champions of the NFC and AFC. The champions of the Super Bowl are awarded the Vince Lombardi Trophy; various other awards exist to recognize individual players and coaches. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; some games are also played on Mondays and Thursdays during the regular season. There are games on Saturdays during the last few weeks of the regular season and the first two playoff weekends.

The NFL was formed on August 20, 1920, as the American Professional Football Conference; the league changed its name to the American Professional Football Association (APFA) on September 17, 1920, and changed its name to the National Football League on June 24, 1922, after spending the 1920 and 1921 seasons as the APFA. In 1966, the NFL agreed to merge with the rival American Football League (AFL), effective 1970; the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that same season in January 1967. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance (67,591) of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States. The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most-watched programs in American history. At the corporate level, the NFL is an nonprofit 501(c)(6) association. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner, who has broad authority in governing the league.

American football (known as football in the United States and gridiron in some other countries) is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field 120 yards long by 53.33 yards wide with goalposts at each end. The offense attempts to advance an oval ball (the football) down the field by running with or passing it. They must advance it at least ten yards in four downs to receive a new set of four downs and continue the drive; if not, they turn over the football to the opposing team. Points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown, kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal or by the defense tackling the ball carrier in the offense's end zone for a safety. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sport of rugby football. The first game of American football was played on November 6, 1869 between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, under rules resembling rugby and soccer. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, eleven-player teams and the concept of downs, and later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone and specified the size and shape of the football.

All-America Football Conference (1946–1949)

National Football League (1950–present)

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