The San Francisco 49ers are no strangers to boom-and-bust seasons in their long history as an NFL franchise. In 2021, they’ll be looking for another rise up the standings after a string of injuries in 2020 left them shorthanded and finishing with a 6-10 record.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst seasons and greatest comeback seasons in 49ers history.
What was the worst season in 49ers history?
The 49ers have never had the hardship of a winless or single-win season, but they have gone 2-14 four times in franchise history. Two of them were back-to-back in 1978 and 1979. However, San Francisco had the great fortune of picking up Joe Montana in the third round of the 1979 draft. The 1980s were thus the most successful decade in franchise history, with Montana leading the 49ers to four Super Bowl wins.
The 2004 team’s 2-14 record was the worst in the league, earning the 49ers the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, which they used on quarterback Alex Smith. But the 2005 team only managed four wins.
Meanwhile, the 2016 team improved by four wins to 6-10 in 2017, the first under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. The duo has restored respect to the franchise and now hopes that selecting Trey Lance in the 2021 draft to join Jimmy Garoppolo will bring success this season.
What was the 49ers’ best one-year turnaround in history?
The 49ers’ remarkable 2019 season, in which they appeared in the Super Bowl, represents San Francisco’s biggest bounce-back season ever, and one of the best one-year turnarounds in NFL history. They had finished with nine fewer wins in 2018, at 4-12.
On two other occasions (from 2010 to 2011 and from 1980 to 1981), the 49ers raised their record by seven wins, both times improving from 6-10 to 13-3.