1988 San Francisco 49ers season

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1988 San Francisco 49ers season
Head coach Bill Walsh
Owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr.
Home field Candlestick Park
Results
Record 10–6
Division place 1st NFC West
Playoff finish Won Divisional Playoffs (Vikings) 34–9
Won Conference Championship (Bears) 28–3
Won Super Bowl XXIII (Bengals) 20–16
Uniform
49ers84 88.png
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1987 1989 >

The San Francisco 49ers 1988 season was their 43rd season in the National Football League. The season was highlighted by their third Super Bowl victory. In 1988, the 49ers struggled. At one point, they were 6–5 and in danger of missing the playoffs but rose to defeat the Washington Redskins on a Monday night, eventually finishing the season at 10–6. They gained a measure of revenge by thrashing the Minnesota Vikings 34–9 in the first round. The 49ers then traveled to Chicago's Soldier Field, where the chill factor at gametime was 26 degrees below zero. They defeated the Chicago Bears 28–3 in a NFC Championship game upset.

For the 49ers, it was their first Super Bowl appearance since they defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX. They had made the playoffs in the three seasons between Super Bowl XIX and Super Bowl XXIII, but were eliminated each time in the first round, primarily because of the poor performances by their offensive stars in those games; quarterback Joe Montana, receiver Jerry Rice and running back Roger Craig all failed to produce a single touchdown.

The 49ers alternated quarterbacks as Montana and Steve Young both started at various points of the season. The broadcast booth of the 49ers radio network also saw change, as Joe Starkey substituted for longtime 49ers play by play announcer Lon Simmons during several games, mostly in October. The 1988 season was the last for Simmons as 49ers broadcaster. With the regular season and postseason, the 49ers compiled a total of 13 victories (a .684 win percentage) on the season, a record-low for Super Bowl champions. In 2011, the New York Giants would tie this record (but with a .650 win percentage as they suffered seven losses as opposed to the 49ers six).

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

Round # Pick # Player Position College
? 33 Danny Stubbs Outside Linebacker Miami
? 39 Pierce Holt Defensive Tackle Angelo State
? 80 Bill Romanowski Outside Linebacker Boston College
? 102 Barry Helton Punter Colorado
? 191 Kevin Bryant Linebacker Delaware State

Personnel[edit]

Staff[edit]

1988 San Francisco 49ers staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams – Lynn Stiles

Strength and conditioning

  • Physical Development Coordinator – Jerry Attaway

Roster[edit]

1988 San Francisco 49ers final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists



Practice squad



Rookies in italics
Active, Inactive, Practice squad

1988 Team Starters

Offense

16 Joe Montana                   QB
33 Roger Craig                   RB
44 Tom Rathman                   FB
85 Mike Wilson                   WR
80 Jerry Rice                    WR
89 Ron Heller                    TE
74 Steve Wallace                 LT
61 Jesse Sapolu                  LG
64 Randy Cross                   C
62 Guy McIntyre                  RG
79 Harris Barton                 RT

Defense

91 Larry Roberts                LDE
95 Michael Carter               NT
75 Kevin Fagan                  RDE
94 Charles Haley                LB
50 Riki Ellison                 LB
99 Mike Walter                  LB
58 Keena Turner                 LB
22 Tim McKyer                   LCB
21 Eric Wright                  RCB
49 Jeff Fuller                  SS
42 Ronnie Lott                  FS

Kicking Team

6 Mike Cofer                    K
9 Barry Helton                  P
82 John Taylor                  PR
25 Doug DuBose                  KR

Regular season[edit]

In the 1988 season, San Francisco won the NFC West with a 10–6 regular season record, but it was a long uphill battle; the Niners, Rams, and Saints all finished 10–6 with the Niners winning the division on tiebreakers. The team had a quarterback controversy with Montana and Steve Young each starting at quarterback during the season. But after a 6–5 start, Montana led the 49ers to win 4 of their final 5 regular season games.

Montana finished the regular season with 238 completions for 2,981 yards and 18 touchdowns, and also added 132 rushing yards. His favorite target was Rice, who recorded 64 receptions for 1,306 yards (a 20.4 yards per catch average) and 9 touchdowns. Craig was also a key contributor with a total of 2,036 combined rushing and receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, earning him the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award. Fullback Tom Rathman also made a big impact, rushing for 427 yards and catching 42 passes for 387 yards. The 49ers defense was led by defensive backs Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Jeff Fuller, and Tim McKyer, who recorded a combined total of 18 interceptions. McKyer led the team with 7, while Lott recorded 5. Linebacker Charles Haley was also a big contributor with 11.5 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries.

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Record Attendance Time Network National Radio
1 September 4, 1988 at New Orleans Saints W 34–33 1-0
66,357
2 September 11, 1988 at New York Giants W 20–17 2-0
75,943
3 September 18, 1988 Atlanta Falcons L 17–34 2-1
60,168
4 September 25, 1988 at Seattle Seahawks W 38–7 3-1
62,382
1:00 PM PDT CBS
5 October 2, 1988 Detroit Lions W 20–13 4-1
58,285
6 October 9, 1988 Denver Broncos L 13–16 (OT) 4-2
61,711
1:00 PM PDT NBC Mutual
7 October 16, 1988 at Los Angeles Rams W 24–21 5-2
65,450
8 October 24, 1988 (Mon) at Chicago Bears L 9–10 5-3
65,293
9 October 30, 1988 Minnesota Vikings W 24–21 6-3
60,738
10 November 6, 1988 at Phoenix Cardinals L 23–24 6-4
64,544
11 November 13, 1988 Los Angeles Raiders L 3–9 6-5
54,448
12 November 21, 1988 (Mon) Washington Redskins W 37–21 7-5
59,268
13 November 27, 1988 at San Diego Chargers W 48–10 8-5
51,484
14 December 4, 1988 at Atlanta Falcons W 13–3 9-5
44,048
15 December 11, 1988 New Orleans Saints W 30–17 10-5
62,977
16 December 18, 1988 Los Angeles Rams L 16–38 10-6
62,444

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1 at New Orleans Saints[edit]

The Saints, fresh off the first winning season in franchise history, clawed to a 17–7 halftime lead in the second quarter, but Joe Montana erupted in the third with three touchdown throws. Coach Bill Walsh, wanting to get playing time for backup Steve Young, put Young in for the fourth quarter; Young was sacked in the endzone for a safety and the Saints scored ten more points after that, nonetheless coming up short 34–33 to the 49ers.

Week 2 at New York Giants[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• 49ers 0 10 3 7 20
Giants 7 3 0 7 17

[1]

Concerned over Montana's health, coach Walsh started Steve Young in his place against the Giants; Young's rawness to the Niners offensive system showed in he was limited to 115 yards passing and the Niners trailed 17–13 in the fourth. Montana came in and fired a 77-yard touchdown in the final minutes to Jerry Rice and a 20–17 Niners win.


Week 3 vs. Atlanta Falcons[edit]

The 49ers lost to the Falcons for only the fourth time since 1981 as Joe Montana was intercepted three times and sacked three times in a 34–17 rout. Gerald Riggs of the Falcons rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Week 4 at Seattle Seahawks[edit]

The Niners rebounded by putting up 580 yards of offense in a 38–7 rout of the Seahawks. Joe Montana threw four touchdowns and Steve Young added a fifth while Roger Craig and Tom Rathman accounted for 186 rushing yards. The Seahawks Jeff Kemp was intercepted three times and Kelly Stouffer added a fourth pick.

Week Four: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 7 10 14 7 38
Seahawks 0 0 7 0 7

at The Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

Game information
First Quarter
Second Quarter
Third Quarter
Fourth Quarter
49ers
Seahawks

Week 5 vs. Detroit Lions[edit]

Week 6 vs. Denver Broncos[edit]

Joe Montana threw for 191 yards and an interception; he was replaced by Young as John Elway tied the game 13–13 on a touchdown to Vance Johnson. Wind gusts up to 40 MPH suddenly hit Candlestick Park and made passing more difficult; in the overtime a Steve Young pass was intercepted, setting up Rich Karlis' winning field goal (16–13 final for the Broncos).

Week Six: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 OT Total
Broncos 0 3 3 7 3 16
49ers 3 7 3 0 0 13

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

Game information
First Quarter
Second Quarter
Third Quarter
Fourth Quarter
Overtime
Broncos
49ers

Week 7 at Los Angeles Rams[edit]

Roger Craig had one of his greatest games in a 199-yard stampede where he scored three touchdowns, highlighted by a dramatic 46-yard score in the first quarter. Despite three Jim Everett touchdowns the Rams fell to San Francisco 24–21, the tenth 49ers win in the rivalry's previous 14 games.

Week 8 at Chicago Bears[edit]

The Niners struggled to a 10–9 loss to the Bears on Monday Night Football. The Niners incurred ten penalties for 57 yards and Joe Montana was sacked four times.

Week 9 vs. Minnesota Vikings[edit]

The Vikings' playoff win at San Francisco the previous season hung over Candlestick Park as Coach Walsh started Steve Young in Joe Montana's stead. Young struggled and was booed repeatedly by the crowd ("They were running him out of town," lineman Harris Barton said). Late in the fourth quarter the Vikings led 21–17 with the Niners at Minnesota's 49-yard line; Young escaped a sack and ran in the game-winning touchdown, earning applause from the same audience that had been booing him; the NFL Films clip with Lon Simmons' call of the score is among the most replayed in retrospectives on Young's career.[2]

Week 10 at Phoenix Cardinals[edit]

With Young still starting, the 49ers raced to a 23–0 lead in the third quarter, and Coach Bill Walsh felt it was the sharpest the offense had looked all season. The Cardinals, however, began clawing back as Neil Lomax rifled a pair of touchdowns; making matters worse for San Francisco was a whopping 14 penalties for 106 yards. On a kick return Walsh was blindsided by a runner and suffered two cracked ribs; he then had to watch as the Cardinals raced down field in the final minute and scored on a nine-yard Lomax score to Roy Green.

Week 11 vs. Los Angeles Raiders[edit]

The low point for the 49ers season came against the Raiders as Joe Montana started despite continuing concern by Walsh over his health. Montana was held to 160 passing yards as the Raiders clawed out a 9–3 win. The 49ers had all the chances to win this one with a final drive that was stalled by a poor non-call by the officials on a pass interference penalty to Jerry Rice inside the 10 yard line making it the 2nd game of the season they didn't score a touchdown. Following the loss amid chatter from players interpreted as them giving up on the season Ronnie Lott called a players-only meeting; Harris Barton said that it worked to refocus the players on playing better ("They usually don't work, but this one did.")

Week 12 vs. Washington Redskins[edit]

The refocused Niners erupted on the defending champion Redskins, racing to a 23–7 halftime lead and winning 37–21. Joe Montana threw two touchdowns (including an 80-yarder to Jerry Rice) and ran in a third. Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams of the Redskins threw three touchdowns while Timmy Smith was held to just six rushing yards.

Week 13 at San Diego Chargers[edit]

The Niners' scoring explosion continued at Jack Murphy Stadium as Joe Montana threw three touchdowns (the first a 96-yarder to Jerry Rice) and Roger Craig had two rushing scores and a touchdown catch, while Doug DuBose added a rushing score. Four Niners backs plus both quarterbacks (Montana and Steve Young) rushed for 203 yards crushing the Chargers 48-10.

Week 14 at Atlanta Falcons[edit]

The Niners traveled to Fulton County Stadium and limited the Atlanta Falcons to 177 yards of offense in a 13–3 win.

Week 15 vs. New Orleans Saints[edit]

The Niners hosted the Saints with both teams at 9–5. Led by Roger Craig's 115 yards, the Niners rushed for 152 yards and two scores while Joe Montana threw for 233 yards and a score in San Francisco's 30–17 win.

Week 16 vs. Los Angeles Rams[edit]

The Niners clinched the NFC West despite a three-way tie with the Rams and New Orleans (all finishing 10–6) and despite a 38–16 slaughter by the Rams that put them into the playoffs. Jim Everett threw four touchdowns while Montana and Young combined for 291 yards but no scores. San Francisco won the division on tiebreakers and the Rams were the wild card, while the 10–6 Saints were eliminated from playoff contention.

Standings[edit]

NFC West
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(2) San Francisco 49ers 10 6 0 .625 4–2 8–4 369 294 L1
(5) Los Angeles Rams 10 6 0 .625 4–2 8–4 407 293 W3
New Orleans Saints 10 6 0 .625 3–3 6–6 312 283 W1
Atlanta Falcons 5 11 0 .313 1–5 4–8 244 315 L3

[3]

Playoffs[edit]

NFC Divisional Playoff[edit]

San Francisco 49ers 34, Minnesota Vikings 9
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 3 0 6 0 9
49ers 7 14 0 13 34

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

MIN- Chuck Nelson 47-yard field goal MIN 3–0

SF- Jerry Rice 2-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick)SF 7–3

2nd Quarter

SF- Jerry Rice 4-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick) SF 14–3

SF- Jerry Rice 11-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick) SF 21–3

3rd Quarter

MIN- Hassan Jones 5-yard pass from Wade Wilson (kick failed) SF 21–9

4th Quarter

SF- Roger Craig 4-yard rush (Mike Cofer kick) SF 28–9

SF- Roger Craig 80-yard rush (kick failed) SF 34–9

NFC Championship Game[edit]

San Francisco 49ers 28, Chicago Bears 3
1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 7 7 7 7 28
Bears 0 3 0 0 3

at Soldier Field, Chicago

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Jerry Rice 61-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick) SF 7–0

2nd Quarter

SF- Jerry Rice 27-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick)SF 14–0

CHI- Kevin Butler 25-yard field goal SF 14–3

3rd Quarter

SF- John Frank 5-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick) SF 21–3

4th Quarter

SF- Tom Rathman 4-yard rush (Mike Cofer kick) 28–3

Super Bowl XXIII[edit]

San Francisco 49ers 20, Cincinnati Bengals 16
1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 3 10 3 16
49ers 3 0 3 14 20

at Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida

The game is remembered for the 49ers' fourth-quarter game-winning drive. Down 16–13, San Francisco got the ball on their own eight-yard line with 3:10 on the clock and marched 92 yards down the field in under three minutes. They then scored the winning touchdown on a Joe Montana pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds left in the game.

49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice was named the Super Bowl MVP. He caught 11 passes for a Super Bowl record 215 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing once for 5 yards.

This was also the final NFL game coached by the 49ers' Bill Walsh. This was also the final Super Bowl that Pete Rozelle presided over as NFL Commissioner.

Scoring summary[edit]

1st Quarter

  • SF – FG: Mike Cofer 41 yards 3–0 SF

2nd Quarter

  • CIN – FG: Jim Breech 34 yards 3–3 tie

3rd Quarter

  • CIN – FG: Jim Breech 43 yards 6–3 CIN
  • SF – FG: Mike Cofer 32 yards 6–6 tie
  • CIN – TD: Stanford Jennings 93-yard kickoff return (Jim Breech kick) 13–6 CIN

4th Quarter

  • SF – TD: Jerry Rice 14-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick) 13–13 tie
  • CIN – FG: Jim Breech 40 yards 16–13 CIN
  • SF – TD: John Taylor 10-yard pass from Joe Montana (Mike Cofer kick) 20–16 SF

Awards and records[edit]

  • Mike Cofer, Led NFC, 27 Field Goals
  • Mike Cofer, Led NFC, 121 Points
  • Roger Craig, Offense, UPI NFC Player of the Year
  • Roger Craig, Led NFC with 2068 total yards
  • Jerry Rice, Most Valuable Player, Super Bowl XXIII

References[edit]

External links[edit]