Almost no team in the NFL can boast the historical brilliance of the San Francisco 49ers. And absolutely no team in the NFL suffers under the gap between past glories and present gloom as those same 49ers. So it’s with good reason that newly minted 49ers general manager John Lynch is seeking to bring the 49ers legends back into the fold and re-connect with the franchise’s storied lineage.
Before he was named to the post, Lynch reached out to what he termed the 49ers’ Mount Rushmore—Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, and Jerry Rice—and began the process of reintegrating them into the 49ers’ daily existence. Since those legends’ heyday, the 49ers have abandoned the later-leveled Candlestick Park, and a new ownership team has taken the reins as the team now plays half an hour south in Santa Clara.
“I told them, ‘We understand that you guys are great role models for us,’” Lynch told a group of 49ers season ticket holders. “’You’re here. You’re part of our history. We understand we have to do it on our own and we’ve got to create it on our own. But we would sure like your example to be around this program and to be around our players.’”
The 49ers will begin honoring their five Super Bowl winning teams by reinstalling the 26-member ring of honor that had been present at Candlestick Park. On Oct. 22, the team will host “Dwight Clark Day,” honoring the other half of “The Catch” from 1981 … and guess who the 49ers are playing that day.
Lynch wants the team to embrace its history while also learning from it. “Those players, we’ve had to earn their trust and we continue to have to do that,” he said. “But they’re warming up to it. And that’s special for me. Because those guys deserve to be a part of [future success] and we want them to be, very much so.” Murals of the 49ers legends now decorate the players’ entrance at Levi’s Stadium. If the old guys could suit up, that’d be even better.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.