Chicago Bears

49ers' preseason schedule: Dates, times announced for all four games

49ers' preseason schedule: Dates, times announced for all four games

The 49ers’ four-game preseason schedule is set, highlighted with an Aug. 21 game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Levi’s Stadium.

It took the Raiders moving to Southern Nevada for the teams to renew their preseason series.

The clubs have not met in the preseason since Aug. 20, 2011 – a night that was marred by fan violence at Candlestick Park. Two men were victims of a non-fatal shooting, another man was beaten unconscious in a restroom and numerous fights erupted in the stands.

The teams met twice in the regular season since the preseason series was postponed. The 49ers won the last meeting, 34-3, on Nov. 1, 2018, at Levi's Stadium.

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The 49ers are scheduled to open the exhibition season on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the Denver Broncos.

In a normal summer, the 49ers’ trip to Colorado would have presented the teams with an opportunity to hold joint practices during training camp. But with uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, such an arrangement would add another level of complications and concerns.

The 49ers are scheduled to return home for a Friday, Aug. 21, game against the Raiders at 7 p.m.

In Week 3 of the exhibition season, the 49ers are slated to travel to face the Chicago Bears on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 10 a.m. (PT). The 49ers’ final tune-up game is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3, against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium.

[RELATED: Way-too-early 2020 NFL predictions: Will 49ers finish job?]

If all things go as the NFL has planned, the 49ers will open the regular season on Sunday, Sept. 13, against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium.

How NFL history would change if Bears, not 49ers, drafted Joe Montana

How NFL history would change if Bears, not 49ers, drafted Joe Montana

Joe Montana led the 49ers to four Super Bowl titles, becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time along the way.

The tandem of Montana and legendary coach Bill Walsh is one of the most successful pairings in sports history, along the lines of Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and Derek Jeter and Joe Torre.

But Montana almost didn't call the Bay home. In a story chronicling the Chicago Bears' decades-long search for a franchise quarterback, The Athletic's Dan Pompei notes the Bears planned on taking Montana in the third round of the 1979 draft. 

“For a month prior to the draft, whenever we would do a mock, we’d get to the third round, and if Montana was there, we were going to take him,” Jerry Vainisi, who was the Bears’ treasurer at the time and later became general manager, told Pompei. “There was no other possibility.”

When the Bears' pick came, Montana was still on the board. But general manager Jim Finks had reservations about taking another quarterback. With Bob Avellini, Vince Evans and Mike Phipps on the roster, Finks worried about "muddying the waters" with another quarterback.

So, instead, the Bears drafted Georgia running back Willie McClendon to back up Walter Payton. McClendon tallied 369 rushing yards and two touchdowns in four NFL seasons.

Of course, the 49ers drafted Montana later in the third round and a dynasty was born.

But how would things have changed had Finks, the eventual Pro Football Hall of Famer, not slipped on the banana peel?

Down the rabbit hole we go.

First of all, there's no telling if Montana becomes Montana if he isn't paired with Walsh. Walsh was one of the most innovative offensive minds in NFL history and his West Coast offense fit Montana like a glove. But, for argument's sake, let's say Montana is suiting up for the Bears in the 80s.

In Montana's first two seasons, he rode the bench behind Steve DeBerg, so it's likely nothing changes in those two seasons. The 49ers go 2-14 and 6-10 respectively and still draft future Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott in the 1981 NFL Draft.

Of course, without Montana running the show in 1982, there's no Super Bowl championship and "The Catch" is wiped from the football memory banks. With the 49ers toiling in mediocrity without Montana, the Bears, under Mike Ditka, start to tick upward with Payton still carrying a heavy load. Montana leads the Bears to the NFC Championship Game where they lose to the Dallas Cowboys, who go on to Super Bowl glory.

The 49ers enter the 1982 NFL Draft in need of a quarterback and they select Jim McMahon with the No. 7 overall pick.

McMahon takes over and takes off under Walsh's tutelage and the 49ers meet Montana and the Bears in the 1984 NFC Championship Game.

McMahon and Montana duel late into the night, but Montana engineers a game-winning drive. On third-and-10 from the 49ers' 12-yard line, Montana rolled right and delivers a strike to Willie Gault in the corner of the end zone for a play that later would be dubbed "The Grab" in Chicago sports lore.

Montana and the Bears stroll into Super Bowl XIX but are unprepared for the onslaught that await them as MVP Dan Marino shreds them, throwing for 397 yards in a 34-17 win for the Miami Dolphins. With a Super Bowl title in his pocket early, Marino would go on to win two more titles, never being mentioned in the greatest-to-never-win conversation.

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The 49ers enter the next season in search of firepower. With Walsh eyeing Jerry Rice, the Cowboys trade up to No. 14 and select the wide receiver. The Bears move up via trade with the New England Patriots to make sure they draft William Perry. The Super Bowl Shuffle lives on as Montana leads the Bears to Super Bowl title in 1986, while McMahon suffers a season-ending injury in Week 4 and the 49ers bottom out at 2-14.

By virtue of their league-worst record, the 49ers got the No. 1 overall pick and drafted running back Bo Jackson out of Auburn.

With Jackson now aboard and a new quarterback in mind, Walsh elected to continue coaching the 49ers believing the team was headed toward glory. In 1987, the 49ers traded for Steve Young who immediately took the job from McMahon and the 49ers are back on their expected course.

With Montana in charge, the Bears win titles in 1987 and '88.

The 1989 season sees Montana come back to the scene of his most famous moment to face the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. This time, the 49ers pounce on the Bears, with Young throwing for three touchdowns in a 34-14 win. The 49ers would go on to beat the Denver Broncos to claim a Super Bowl title with Jackson winning MVP.

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The 49ers would go on to win two more title, with Rice signing on as a free agent in 1990 to don the colors he was meant to.

Montana would win finish his career with three titles but a host of questions about what his career would have been had he been paired with a genius mind like Walsh.

How 49ers-Bears 2017 trade looks with Mitchell Trubisky option declined

How 49ers-Bears 2017 trade looks with Mitchell Trubisky option declined

Both of the centerpieces of the 49ers’ blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bears in 2017 have uncertain futures with their respective teams.

The 49ers traded the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to the Bears for the No. 3 pick, a third-rounder (No. 67), a fourth-rounder (No. 111) and a 2018 third-round pick (No. 70). San Francisco picked defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, and Chicago selected quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

It turned into a deal that both teams would mostly like to forget. The Bears and 49ers reportedly declined each player’s fifth-year option within a day of one another.

Trubisky was selected before elite QBs Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, both of whom would’ve been far better choices for the 49ers and Bears. San Francisco did manage to select a defensive staple with one of Chicago’s picks, but general manager John Lynch’s maneuvering during his first draft ultimately didn’t turn into much -- with one notable exception.

The 49ers used the 2018 third-round pick to select linebacker Fred Warner. Warner has been a starter since Day 1, compiling 242 total tackles -- good for 11th in the NFL -- over the last two seasons. He has been a key pieces of the 49ers’ defense that grew into one of the league’s best, and figures to be a long-term fixture at linebacker.

Warner was a Pro Bowl alternate last season, but the remainder of the 49ers’ 2017 haul hasn’t come close to those heights.

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The 49ers traded the Bears’ third-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for a 2018 second-round pick (No. 59) and a 2017 seventh-rounder (No. 229). San Francisco picked Adrian Colbert in the seventh round in 2017, using the 2018 second-rounder to trade up in a deal with Washington to select wide receiver Dante Pettis. Colbert was waived in 2019, while Pettis fell far down the depth chart.

Meanwhile, the Saints used the 2017 third-rounder the 49ers dealt to pick running back Alvin Kamara, who has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three NFL seasons. Washington selected running back Derrius Guice with the 2018 second-rounder, who has only played five NFL games due to knee injuries.

The 49ers used the Bears’ 2017 fourth-rounder to trade up into that year’s first round to draft Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster. San Francisco cut Foster after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. He landed with Washington, which reportedly declined his fifth-year option. Foster was reinstated from the Commissioner’s Exempt List in April, but he missed the 2019 season after tearing his ACL last May.

[RELATED: Which 49ers' undrafted rookies have chance to contribute?]

While the 49ers still have hope for Thomas and Pettis to take strides next season, you can add Kamara to a list of growing “what-ifs” for San Francisco’s 2017 draft. The aforementioned misses didn’t set the 49ers back in returning to prominence, and they did also land All-Pro tight end George Kittle in the fifth round.

Franchise quarterbacks are hard to find, however, especially on cost-controlled rookie deals. Although the 49ers will take Warner’s production any day of the week, the Bears reportedly declining Trubisky’s fifth-year option is the latest reminder for both teams of what could’ve been.