San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26 (XXIX)
It’s somewhat hard to believe, but this remains the franchise’s last Super Bowl victory. In 1993, the NFL embarked on real free agency. A year later, the salary cap kicked in. That offseason, the 49ers signed numerous veterans looking less for a payday and more for an opportunity to unseat the Dallas Cowboys as Super Bowl champions. The team had lost back-to-back NFC title games to Jerry Jones’ club.
It would prove to be future Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young’s finest moment, but it didn’t come without its rough spots. A loss at Kansas City in Week 2, with former teammate Joe Montana at the helm of the Chiefs, didn’t sit well. Three weeks later, an emotional Young didn’t finish a humbling 40-8 home loss to the Eagles which left the team 3-2 after five games.
However, George Seifert’s team would lose only one more game the rest of the season. That was a meaningless clash with the Vikings in Week 17.
Young would be the league’s Most Valuable Player, as well as Super Bowl XXIX MVP as he threw for 325 yards and a record six TD passes – three to Jerry Rice. He also led the team with (ironically) 49 yards on the ground. Ricky Watters scored three touchdowns as well. The Niners totaled 131 points in their three postseason contests, and became the league’s first franchise to win five Super Bowl titles.
Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31 (XLVII)
A mere 18 years after winning their fifth Lombardi Trophy, the 49ers were back in the Super Bowl and obviously, with a very new slate of players. The head coach was Jim Harbaugh, now back in the NFL with the Los Angeles Chargers. This match-up with the Baltimore Ravens would feature a first as the brothers Harbaugh would clash on Super Sunday at the Superdome.
It was a wild afternoon in the Crescent City. Baltimore got on the board first when quarterback Joe Flacco found Anquan Boldin for a 13-yard score. By halftime, the Ravens owned a 21-6 lead and things got worse for San Francisco when Baltimore speedster Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a score. It remains the longest play in Super Bowl history.
Inexplicably, the lights would go out at the Superdome. When power returned, Jim Harbaugh’s club, led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, would go on to score 17 straight points and trailed only 28-23 entering the final quarter. The Niners could not complete the comeback, and suffered its first-ever Super Bowl setback.
Kansas City Chiefs 31, San Francisco 49ers 20 (LIV)
In his third season as head coach, Kyle Shanahan led the 49ers to their seventh Super Bowl. With a victory, the franchise could tie the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the most Lombardi Trophies (6). The team began the season 8-0, finished 13-3 and pushed around the Vikings and Packers in the NFC playoffs.
The site was South Florida, where San Francisco had won Super Bowls XXIII and XXIX. This time, the opposition was Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs. It was a franchise making its first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years. 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spearheaded a power offense that was run heavy in the postseason victories over Minnesota and Green Bay.
In this contest, Garoppolo threw for 219 yards and one score, but he finished the game with a pair of interceptions. His team would take a 20-10 lead into the fourth quarter. However, it wasn’t meant to be as the Chiefs scored the final 21 points of the game to deny the Niners another chance of capturing a sixth NFL title.