Eddie DeBartolo: These 49ers Are Better than ’81 Super Bowl Winning Team
The 49ers have stunned the NFL by going 10-3. They’ve clinched the NFC West, and they’re trying to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs. As good as they were during their eight-game winning streak, they’ve lost two of three. They have an excellent defense, but most people wouldn’t view them as a Super Bowl favorite.
Not Eddie DeBartolo.
The former Niners owner says this 49ers team is better than his ’81 Super Bowl winning team.
“They are so much better than our 1981 team,” DeBartolo told the Mercury News.
“All in all, they’re a better team than ’81.
“Our ’81 team, Joe was just a kid then. Ronnie (Lott) and those guys, they were good, but they didn’t have the experience that this defense has. And the offense, too.
“This team has Frank Gore. We had Lenvil Elliott, we had Earl Cooper — good solid players but nowhere near Frank Gore. My god, he just broke the (franchise all-time rushing) record.”
The ’81 49ers started off 1-2 before winning 15-1 over their next 16 games. They also had Joe Montana at quarterback, not Alex Smith. The parallel between the teams, aside from their similar records, is that they each had relatively new former Stanford coaches running the team. DeBartolo could be right that this is a Super Bowl type of team, but I have my doubts. If they win it all, you’ll hear plenty of apologies from me.