Harbaugh a Colt, Kaepernick was 7: 25 NFL Facts since '95
- Published: Jan. 24, 2013 at 10:46 p.m.
- Updated: Jan. 29, 2013 at 02:50 p.m.
Sometimes it seems like only yesterday the 49ers were at the top of the NFL. But it’s been nearly two decades, and you might not realize just how much the NFL has changed during that time. Here’s a look at some of the biggest changes.
Steve Young gets the monkey off his back
Success in the 49ers organization is measured in Super Bowl titles. Steve Young was able to win passer titles and MVP awards, but the Lombardi Trophy eluded him until he led the 49ers to victory in Super Bowl XXIX.
49ers were the first franchise to win five Super Bowl titles
The win broke a tie between the Steelers and 49ers, as both franchises held perfect 4-0 marks during the Super Bowl. But after Super Bowl XXIX, the 49ers claimed the title "First to Five."
The Steelers were undefeated in Super Bowl titles
The Steelers were undefeated, but that streak would come to an end the following year when the Cowboys avenged two previous losses with a victory in Super Bowl XXX. The Steelers have lost two Super Bowls now (included Super Bowl XLV), but can claim to be the first team to win six Super Bowls.
The Patriots had a forgettable Super Bowl history
When it came to Super Bowl appearances, the Patriots had one embarrassing loss to the Bears in Super Bowl XX. The Patriots would fall to the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, but the team eventually became a dynasty when Bill Belichick and Tom Brady came of age in 2001.
The Ageless Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice still played for the 49ers in 1994 (he would go on to play for the Raiders and Seahawks). He would go on to have 729 receptions for 9,620 receiving yards and 66 touchdowns after Super Bowl XXIX. That's a like a Hall of Fame career just in that time span alone.
Los Angeles had pro football
Most kids graduating high school now might not realize this, but the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders concluded their final seasons in 1994. The Raiders played in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (where USC plays) and the Rams called Anaheim home (in Angel Stadium).
The 1995 expansion
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers kicked off their inaugural seasons in 1995. Both teams found themselves in the conference title games in 1996.
Love ya Blue
The football team in Houston was known as the Oilers, and Tennessee had no professional teams. The Oilers moved to Tennessee after the 1996 season and played in the Liberty Bowl (1997) and Vanderbilt Stadium (1998) before they eventually opened up LP Field. The Houston Texans began play in 2002.
Ray Lewis, Hurricane
Ray Lewis prepared for his junior season at the University of Miami during January of 1995. Lewis, of course, will play in his final NFL game in Super Bowl XLVII.
Twenty new stadiums have been built
Including the expansion teams, the NFL has ushered in 20 new stadiums since the last time the 49ers won the Super Bowl. The 49ers are expected to open a new stadium in Santa Clara in 2014.
Colin Kaepernick was 7
Colin Kaepernick was just a youngster who dreamt of playing in the NFL the last time the San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl.
Get ready to feel real old
Robert Griffin III (4), Andrew Luck (5) and Russell Wilson (6) might have been a little too young to dream of playing in the NFL.
Thank goodness for Google Maps
If you ever wanted to use the NFL as a geography lesson, good luck. In 1995, the expansion Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons were members of the NFC West.
East is finally East
And to make matters worse, in 1995 the Arizona Cardinals were members of the NFC East, where they were a division mainstay for a number of years. The NFL officially adopted the current divisional alignment in 2002.
Coach on the field
Jim Harbaugh joined the Indianapolis Colts in 1994, and he led the team to the 1995 AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But his bid for a Super Bowl berth failed when his desperation heave at the end of the game fell on the Three Rivers turf.
Peyton Manning had just finished his freshman year at the University of Tennessee when Super Bowl XXIX kicked off.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wore gaudy orange uniforms through the first two decades of the team's existence. The current look for the Buccaneers was unveiled in 1997.
The Denver Broncos also dumped their orange jerseys for navy blue in 1997. But the orange has come back to the Broncos for the 2012 season. Will the Buccaneers follow their lead? (Don't count on it.)
Walter Payton was still the NFL's all-time rushing leader, with 16,726 career yards. His eventual successor, Emmitt Smith, was still a long way off after the 1994 season.
You know who was the NFL's all-time leader in passing yardage? Nope, it wasn't Dan Marino. He wouldn't break Fran Tarkenton's record until the 1995 season.
Eric Dickerson held the single-season rushing leader in 1994. Oh wait, nobody has broken the record yet, though Adrian Peterson did come close in 2012.
The Miami Dolphins were the only team to go undefeated in the regular season of the modern NFL, until the New England Patriots of 2007. Note the use of the word "modern NFL" so we give our due love to the Canton Bulldogs.
No team had ever suffered the indignity of an 0-16 season (the Buccaneers went 0-26 to start their franchise history, but were 0-14 in their inaugural season). The Detroit Lions changed all of that in 2008.
Believe it or not, in 1995 people were rooting for Brett Favre who had yet to win a Super Bowl. When the San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XXIX, Favre was still two years away from winning his first and only Super Bowl title.
This one's for John!
John Elway also didn't have a Super Bowl win at this point. Elway and his Denver Broncos finally broke through the year after Favre won his title by beating him and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.