1989 49ers ranked 3rd best Super Bowl champs of all time

Feb 5, 2024, 3:25 PM | Updated: 3:33 pm

Joe Montana #16, Quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers calls the play on the line of scrimmage du...

Joe Montana #16, Quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers calls the play on the line of scrimmage during the National Football League Super Bowl XXIII game against the Cincinnati Bengals on 22 January 1989 at the Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida, United States. The 49ers won the game 20 - 16. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Allsport/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rick Stewart/Allsport/Getty Images)

Ahead of Super Bowl LVIII, ESPN ranked every team that has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. With the San Francisco 49ers having won five Super Bowl titles, which was the best and which was the worst?

Let’s start with the lowest, which ESPN’s Aaron Schatz decrees was in 1981 when the 49ers beat the Bengals 26-21. The team that featured “The Catch” may have been more lucky than good.

This team was less impressive than you might think, considering it finished the regular season 13-3. As with the Patriots, the first championship team of the 49ers’ dynasty was clearly the weakest. The 49ers were 7-2 in one-score games in the regular season and finished only 10th in DVOA. They were in the top eight for both offense and defense, dragged down by an awful special teams unit.

Schatz defines DVOA as “a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent.”

The remaining titles are inside Schatz’s Top 30 with the highest coming in at third. In 1989, the 49ers’ “average margin of victory off 33.3 points is the biggest for any Super Bowl champion.” San Francisco would go on to dominate in the big game, with eventual MVP Joe Montana leading the team to a 55-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.

That’s 55 points — five passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns — against the defense that ranked second in DVOA and allowed the fewest points during the regular season.

Curious about where the Chiefs and Ravens win over the 49ers in Super Bowls XLVIII and LIV, click here.

Upcoming dates for the NFL

  • Sunday, Feb. 11th – Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas
  • Tuesday, Feb. 20th – Teams can begin franchising players until Tuesday, March 5th
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 – NFL Combine begins

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1989 49ers ranked 3rd best Super Bowl champs of all time