Kurt Warner

49ers' NFC West rivals make case for Bryant Young in Hall of Fame

49ers' NFC West rivals make case for Bryant Young in Hall of Fame

MIAMI, Fla. -- The Rams have two high-profile representatives among the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And while Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk are actively campaigning for former Rams wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt to make it to Canton, Ohio, both also recognize the greatness of their former NFC West rival.

Defensive tackle Bryant Young is one of the most respected players in 49ers history. His talent and class also made him respected around the NFL.

“Many battles, many battles, tough guy,” Faulk told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Oh, my, relentless, strong. I did not like playing against him, but I appreciated him as a competitor.”

Young is a first-time finalist for the Hall of Fame in his eighth year of eligibility. The Class of 2020 will include up to five modern-era inductees on Saturday. The list of finalists includes 49ers general manager John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl safety with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.

Young is the 49ers’ career-leader in quarterbacks sacks with 89.5. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1990s while being a two-time first-team All-Pro and a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Young was on the 49ers' Super Bowl champion as a rookie in 1994. he won Comeback Player of the Year in 1999 after a broken leg ended his previous season after 12 games.

“He was just a beast,” Warner said. “You always say as a quarterback, the hardest thing to deal with is an interior pass rush. You know, guys who can create quick pressure up the middle against you. And that’s who Bryant Young was.

“Probably my greatest rivalry, whether I was with the Rams or the Cardinals, was the 49ers. I remember going against Bryant so many times, and he was just one of those transcendent guys, the interior of the defensive line. You just don’t see them very often. So I think he has a great case to make it into the Hall of Fame, as well.”

The Hall of Fame selection meeting will take place on the eve of Super Bowl LIV, matching the 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs. It could be a big weekend for Lynch, who is in his third season as 49ers general manager and his seventh time as a Hall of Fame finalist.

Warner and Faulk fully support their teammates, Bruce and Holt, for induction. The Rams teams, known as the "Greatest Show on Turf," have Warner, Faulk and offensive tackle Orlando Pace in the Hall of Fame.

[RELATEDWhy Lynch believes 49ers' adversity makes Super Bowl run sweeter]

Bruce, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, finished his career with a two-season stint with the 49ers after playing his first 14 seasons with the Rams. He ranks 13th all-time with 1,024 receptions and fifth with 15,208 receiving yards.

Holt is also a finalist after a career in which he made the Pro Bowl seven times in 11 seasons. Holt ranks 21st all-time with 920 receptions and 16th all-time with 13,382 yards.

How Kurt Warner believes Jimmy Garoppolo, Patrick Mahomes are similar

How Kurt Warner believes Jimmy Garoppolo, Patrick Mahomes are similar

MIAMI, Fla. -- Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl with his strong and accurate throwing arm.

Jimmy Garoppolo repeatedly handed the ball off during the 49ers’ postseason run.

But both quarterbacks in Super Bowl LIV have succeeded in accomplishing the same thing for their team, Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner said in an interview Tuesday with NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Whether you throw eight passes in a championship game or you bring your team back from 24 points down, you have to do whatever you have to do at the quarterback position to win,” Warner said.

“I believe both of these guys have done that this year. There’ve been huge moments for Jimmy Garoppolo. The win down in New Orleans is one that jumps out to me. Hey, we got to go score 40 points? I can score 40 points. We got to hand the ball off every time and I throw eight passes? I can do that and I’m fine with that, as long as we win football games.”

Mahomes and Garoppolo did it in different ways, but they have proven to be the right quarterbacks for the Chiefs and the 49ers.

There are a lot of differences, but there is a similarity, too, Warner pointed out. Both players were backups for at least one season behind respected veteran quarterbacks. Alex Smith set a great example for Mahomes, while Garoppolo spent three-and-a-half seasons behind Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

“I think there’s a maturity to understand what goes into being an NFL quarterback and handling everything that comes with that,” Warner said. “Both of those guys got to learn from really good NFL quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Tom Brady.

“So you learn something from them on how you lead a franchise. I think both of them have done a tremendous job early in their careers at doing just that. And, now, early in their starting careers, they’re in the Super Bowl.”

Warner said he believes the key matchup of Sunday’s game will be the 49ers’ pass rush against Mahomes. The 49ers must find a way to get Mahomes out of rhythm and prevent him from connecting on big plays down the field.

The 49ers’ offense has to control the clock and keep Mahomes on the sideline. Then, the pass rush has to make it difficult for Mahomes to have time to get the ball down the field to the Chiefs’ speedy wide receivers.

“A lot of that is going to fall on those pass-rushers up front,” Warner said. ‘Can they get quick pressure on Patrick Mahomes. What do we know about the Kansas City Chiefs? They want to throw the ball down the field, and they want to make big plays. You have to force them to go away from what they do really well.”

[RELATED: Reid 'wouldn't slight Jimmy' when discussing 49ers weapons]

Meanwhile, Garoppolo has to enter this game expecting to put the team on his back after playing an auxiliary role in the 49ers’ 17-point victories over Minnesota and Green Bay in the playoffs.

“If you’re a quarterback and you’ve dreamed of playing in this big moment, you want to be a huge part of why you win, and that’s what you prepare for this week,” Warner said.