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1989

Record: 17-2
Super Bowl XXIV champions

Just four days after their Super Bowl XXIII victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the 49ers announced that defensive coordinator George Seifert would replace Bill Walsh, who was retiring as head coach.

Seifert rejected overtures from the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers to become the head coach of his hometown team.

Here's how he describes hearing about the job, en route to an interview with the Browns:

"I flew out of San Francisco and was supposed to change planes in Dallas to go to Cleveland. We were stacked up over Dallas because of a storm, so to pass the time I made a call on an airplane phone to my wife, Linda. She said that Carmen Policy had called and said not to make any commitment without talking to him first. Well, I knew what that meant, so when I got to Dallas, I called Carmen, and he told me to come to San Francisco, which I did."

The official announcement of Seifert's hiring came the next day -- Jan. 26, 1989 -- in Carmel, Calif. (A photo from the press conference is above.)

In Seifert's first season, the 49ers finished the regular season 14-2, cruised to a 41-13 playoff victory over Minnesota, beat the Rams 30-3 in the NFC Championship game, and then obliterated the Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV.

During 1989, the Niners accumulated more yardage than any other NFL team. Joe Montana had the best season of his career. He was consensus player of the year and capped it with Super Bowl MVP honors.

Seifert's 14 regular-season victories were more than any other rookie head coach in NFL history, and he is just the second NFL rookie head coach to win a Super Bowl. (Don McCafferty of the Baltimore Colts was the first, in 1970). Seifert was named NFL coach of the year by Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Weekly and Football Digest.

As a rookie head coach, but a veteran of the 49er system, Seifert made the 49ers the first repeat champion in 10 years. The 49ers gave Denver the worst beating in Super Bowl history.

On Super Bowl eve, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz reflected on Seifert's skill:

Most new coaches attempt to redefine a team in their own image. They attempt to fix things that aren't broken.

''Putting my 'stamp' on the team wasn't one of my goals,'' Seifert said. ''My goal was one of continuity. I've been with this club for 10 years, and I'm familiar with the organization. I know the offense and defense. I know how we handle personnel.''

... He has perfected Walsh's machine. He has not asked to be called a genius.

 

 1989 Results

W at Indianapolis 30-24
W at Tampa Bay 20-16  
W at Philadelphia 38-28
L L.A. Rams 13-12  
W at New Orleans 24-20  
W at Dallas 31-14  
W New England 37-20  
W at N.Y. Jets 23-10  
W New Orleans 31-13  
W Atlanta 45-3  
L Green Bay 21-17  
W N.Y. Giants 34-24  
W at Atlanta 23-10  
W at L.A. Rams 30-27
W Buffalo 21-10  
W Chicago 26-0

 Playoffs

W Minnesota 41-3  
W L.A. Rams 30-3

 Super Bowl XXIV

W Denver 55-10

The Seifert Era
continues: 1990