So what, exactly, is a dynasty?
In an NFL sense, we've been taught (or told) that a dynasty puts together a run of multiple Super Bowls in a finite window, with at least two Lombardi Trophies to show for it.
Well, after trying to put together an all-time team of San Francisco 49ers, it's clear to me that a "dynasty" should really be called "an embarrassment of riches," as San Francisco is so deep at so many different positions.
Quarterback: Joe Montana
Running back: Joe Perry
"The Jet" was The Man in the 1950s, becoming the first running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons in 1953 and 1954. At the time of his retirement, Perry was the NFL's second all-time leading rusher.
Fullback: Roger Craig
Craig's 1985 campaign -- in which he became the first player to have more than 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season -- is one of the most impressive of all time. And he played mostly fullback. A fine receiver, Craig caught more than 500 passes in San Francisco.
Wide receiver: Jerry Rice
Is Rice the best player of all time? That might be up for debate -- at least according to those who fight for Jim Brown -- but no one has been better since the AFL-NFL merger. The current all-time leader in catches (1,549), receiving yards (22,895) and receiving touchdowns (197), Rice was also MVP of Super Bowl XXIII, in which he posted 215 receiving yards.
Wide receiver: Terrell Owens
Tight end: Vernon Davis
Davis has been quite the clutch performer in San Francisco. In eight career playoff games, he's posted seven touchdowns while topping 100 receiving yards four times. He has 53 career touchdowns catches, notching 13 in both 2009 and last season.
Offensive tackle: Bob St. Clair
Offensive tackle: Joe Staley
It was difficult to go with Staley over longtime Niners tackle Steve Wallace. Yet, Staley has played at such a high level during this three-year run of NFC Championship Game appearances -- making the Pro Bowl each year -- that he can't be ignored.
Offensive guard: Guy McIntyre
Offensive guard: Randy Cross
Center: Forrest Blue
Blue, who anchored the 49ers' line from 1968 to 1974, was one of the best players on the forgotten San Francisco teams of the early '70s that went to back-to-back NFC Championship Games. Blue was named first-team All-Pro twice.
Defensive end: Cedrick Hardman
North Texas State (now the University of North Texas) must have had one heckuva defensive line in the late 1960s, between Hardman and "Mean" Joe Greene. Hardman played at a high level for a decade in San Francisco, making two Pro Bowls.
Defensive end: Justin Smith
Defensive tackle: Leo Nomellini
Defensive tackle: Bryant Young
Outside linebacker: Dave Wilcox
Finally enshrined in Canton in 2000 -- 26 years after he played his last snap -- Wilcox had long been considered an all-timer by 49ers fans and historians alike. His seven Pro Bowl appearances are a testament to that. Wilcox and Jimmy Johnson were the defensive cornerstones of the Niner teams that made it to the NFC Championship Game in 1970 and '71.
Outside linebacker: Charles Haley
Haley did two tours of duty in San Francisco, and his first was the one in which he was stellar. As George Seifert's "elephant" linebacker, Haley was the precursor to the hybrid DE/OLBs of today, racking up 63.5 sacks from 1986 to 1991.
Middle linebacker: Patrick Willis
I know you're not surprised; what a phenomenal player. Willis has been absolutely dominant since coming into the league in 2007, being named All-Pro or playing in the Pro Bowl every year. He's on pace to surpass 1,000 career tackles in 2014.
Cornerback: Jimmy Johnson
A lot of fans haven't heard of this Jimmy Johnson, who was a top-flight corner for 16 years. A starter from his rookie year on, Johnson ultimately picked off 47 passes before becoming the second 49er defender to make the Hall of Fame (after Leo Nomellini).
Cornerback: Eric Wright
Safety: Ronnie Lott
Safety: Tim McDonald
Both cerebral and physical, McDonald was one of the first big-name signings at the dawn of free agency in 1993. Eric Davis, his former teammate and my colleague on "NFL AM", called McDonald the "smartest player I played with."
Kicker: Ray Wersching
Punter: Andy Lee
Through 10 years of punting in San Francisco, Lee has established himself as one of the best punters in NFL history. He currently ranks fourth all-time in yards per punt at 46.1 and has been named first-team All-Pro three times.