Current 49ers not all that familiar with glory days
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org January 27, 2013 10:51PM
Jim Harbaugh, Colin Kaepernick
RAVENS VS. 49ERS
5:30 Sunday, Ch. 2
Updated: March 1, 2013 7:15PM
NEW ORLEANS — Only one franchise has more Super Bowl victories than the 49ers, yet San Francisco’s dynasty days are a distant memory.
Ten of the current players were preschoolers when the 49ers last won the Super Bowl nearly 18 years ago at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami.
“I wasn’t really in tune when they were out there killing people,” said 49ers safety Dashon Goldson, who grew up in Carson, Calif., about six hours south of San Francisco. “But I definitely remember Ricky Watters out there and Garrison Hearst.
“Couple of snippets, but not so much.”
Goldson was born on Sept. 18, 1984, about nine months after the 49ers won the second of their four championships in the 1980s. On Jan. 29, 1995, when the franchise won its last title, Goldson was 10, which is why he dated himself by mentioning Watters and Hearst, as opposed to Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott or even Jerry Rice.
Starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick grew up a 49ers fan, but his recall of his favorite playoff moment is telling.
“My biggest playoff memory is when the 49ers beat the Packers on the pass to [Terrell Owens],” Kaepernick said, referring to Owens catching the game-winning pass in the final seconds of the NFC divisional playoffs after the 1998 season.
Center Jonathan Goodwin, 34, is one of the 49ers’ oldest players, and, like Kaepernick, he was a fan of the team as a kid.
“I think I remember it pretty well,” Goodwin said, recalling Super Bowl XXIX when Steve Young threw a record six touchdown passes in a 49-26 defeat of the Chargers. “Steve Young had a Super Bowl ring. That’s the main thing that stands out to me. Back then, each and every year, they had a shot at going to the Super Bowl.”
But they haven’t been to a Super Bowl since, enduring a dark period from 2003 to 2010. During that eight-season stretch, their best record was 8-8.
Then came Jim Harbaugh, the former Bears quarterback who replaced ex-Bears linebacker Mike Singletary as coach. On Monday, Harbaugh recalled facing some of those brilliant teams. He was a backup when the 49ers traveled to Soldier Field on Jan. 8, 1989, for the NFC Championship Game and thumped the Bears 28-3. In Super Bowl XXIII, the 49ers edged the Bengals 20-16.
Harbaugh, though, isn’t living in the past.
“This is new business,” he said. “Our team is focused on winning a championship.”
The 49ers went 13-3 last season, reached the NFC title game but lost in devastating fashion, largely because of special-teams gaffes. But they overcame a slow start in the NFC title game this season in Atlanta, rallying for a 28-24 victory over the Falcons.
Goodwin isn’t sure why it has taken the 49ers so long to get back here, but he’s glad to be a part of it.
“This league is a tough league, and it changes from year to year, and every team gets better,” Goodwin said. “I’m not going to say I’m surprised, but I’m glad it’s happening.
“You get to go to the Super Bowl with your childhood team, so that’s something that’s special to me. Hopefully, I can find a way to win the Super Bowl with my childhood team.”