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Style and Superstitions

George Seifert hates socks, sports a faded sunglasses strap around his neck and used to wear his lucky blue sweater every Monday, regardless of whether it matched what he was wearing.

But his style and superstitions often coordinate.

When he mistakenly forgot to bring that lucky blue sweater to Super Bowl XXIV in New Orleans, his players sent for it and presented it to him as a gift. Seifert won that game, and many more.

But are there more secrets to his success?

Blowing three times on his Lifesavers before popping them into his mouth? Refusing to step on the helmet painted on the practice field? Eating Chinese food every Tuesday? Arranging his napkin and silverware in precise but mysterious ways? His pre-game, shirtless lap around the lockerroom?

George calls these his "quirks."

''He has this coin he keeps flipping,'' offensive tackle Steve Wallace has said. ''You'll be in the huddle at practice and you'll hear this kind of ringing sound. I used to wonder what it was, and then I noticed it was him, flipping this coin. He keeps it in his pocket and flips it at certain times. ... He also wears the same clothes a lot. Did you ever notice?''

And, finally, a brief, private peek at the coach from a Jan. 17, 1995, New York Times article commenting about the Super Bowl coach:

"He is a 49er all the way down to his post-game wine cooler. ... This is a man who wears 49er boxer shorts."


That hair! Those clothes!

The September 2000 issue of GQ magazine asked the burning question: "How GQ is the NFL Coaching Corps?" The answer is "not very," with one notable exeption: George Seifert, the magazine's pick for the Most GQ Coach.

Some highlights:

  • "The best hair in the league, hands down, belongs to...Seifert, whose dignified white coif wouldn't look out of place in a Merchant Ivory film."
  • "Whether he's wearing his hair longish or close-cropped, whether he's prowling the sidelines or steppin' out in black tie, this man, the NFL coach with the best winning percentage ever, has the best lookin'-good percentage ever, too."

This, of course, isn't the first time Seifert's style has drawn national attention. After sporting the slicked-back, Pat Riley look during his early years as 49ers head coach, Seifert finally let his hair down. TV commentator John Madden telestrated the new, combed-forward 'do during a game broadcast.

In the waning moments of Super Bowl XXIX, Seifert donned a jazzy championship jacket (above) figuring, "Aw, for a moment I can be out of character. I can put on the polka-dots instead of the beige."

Later, President Clinton called to congratulate the 49ers. His special praise for the coach? "I like seeing George without his glasses," Clinton said on national TV. "He looks good.''