During his 10 seasons with the 49ers, running back Frank Gore accomplished just about everything.
The 49ers’ all-time leading rusher, however, will always be bothered that the powerhouse teams under coach Jim Harbaugh that made it to three consecutive NFC Championship Games never won a Super Bowl.
“We were like a family, like a college team,” Gore said in a conversation this week with NBC Sports Bay Area analyst and former 49ers teammate Donte Whitner.
“We all cared for each other. I just wish we would’ve gotten that opportunity. We should’ve at least won one.”
Said Whitner, “I say we should’ve had two.”
“We should’ve had two, but, man, we should’ve won one,” Gore said. “That’s the one thing I regret we didn’t do, because we were so tight as a team. . . . how much respect we had for each other.”
In Harbaugh’s first season, the 49ers lost the NFC Championship Game to the eventual Super Bowl-champion New York Giants when Kyle Williams muffed two punts, including one in overtime that led to the deciding field goal.
The 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31, the next year in Super Bowl XLVII. The 49ers failed to get into the end zone after a first-and-goal from the 7 late in the fourth quarter. Gore, who had 110 yards rushing in the game, did not touch the ball during that sequence.
The next year, the 49ers lost the NFC Championship Game to the Seattle Seahawks, 23-17, when Richard Sherman broke up a Colin Kaepernick attempt for Michael Crabtree in the end zone that linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted in the closing minute. The Seahawks went on to win the Super Bowl.
Gore, 37, is still playing the game he loves. In his 16th NFL season, he is now with the New York Jets.
Gore will be in the starting lineup on Sunday against the 49ers in a Week 2 game featuring two 0-1 teams.
Gore said he is impressed by this current 49ers defense.
“They got a bunch of guys who respect the game and play it the right way,” he told Whitner.
“I’m going to try to be me. They got a good defense. Those boys are fast and they play well together. You can see why they were successful last year. The only thing, they’re not how y’all boys were.”
Whitner asked Gore if he believes he could have rushed for 100 yards against the old 49ers’ defense – a unit that featured Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, Dashon Goldson and Whitner.
“It would’ve been tough,” Gore said. “Y’all boys were for real.
“This generation of football . . . man, you boys couldn’t even play right now. I’m not going to lie. Too physical. . . We were a special team.”