The pride from winning a Lombardi Trophy doesn’t fade easily. Just ask former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.
Eddie D presided over five Super Bowl-winning teams with the 49ers during his tenure from 1977 to 2000, but it’s clear the 1989 team holds a special place in his memory. DeBartolo said Tuesday on "The Eye Test for Two" podcast that the 1989 49ers would beat each of this year’s Super Bowl squads.
“I think we’d have kick their a--, the both of ‘em,” DeBartolo said of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs. “Because it was just a great, great team. It’s a different type of football now, but I’ll tell you something, player-for-player we would have given them all they wanted.”
While DeBartolo certainly is a bit biased in his assessment, NFL.com ranked the 1989 49ers as the fifth-best team of all-time, so there is some credence to what he’s saying.
Can you imagine prime Joe Montana dueling with Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady? That would be quite the spectacle.
“Montana’s got more of Mahomes’ style,” DeBartolo said.
Montana went 11-2 in his 13 starts that year with 3,521 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns in an era before teams aired it out as regularly. Some backup named Steve Young helped lead the 49ers to a 3-0 record in his three starts.
Perhaps it’s no surprise the 49ers had the league’s top-ranked offense with Jerry Rice and John Taylor at receiver and Roger Craig and Tom Rathman rumbling in the backfield. San Francisco also had an elite defense with players like Charles Haley, Bill Romanowski and Ronnie Lott laying big hits on that side of the ball.
San Francisco went on to rout the Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV.
As DeBartolo noted, it was a different game back then. Montana only attempted at least 40 passes in two different contests during the 1989 campaign, something that Mahomes did 10 times this season.
Perhaps the only way we could see this matchup now would be via a Madden video game simulation, but it’s always fun to think about one of football’s greatest teams.