Skip to main content

These Niners look a lot like '94 Super Bowl champs

Amid all the pomp and circumstance, the confetti falling, the George Halas Trophy glistening, there was a tender moment between father and son.

It was Mike Shanahan who was afforded the privilege of presenting his son Kyle, the 49ers head coach, with the aforementioned Halas trophy. The father went for a high-five, but the son went right past it and hugged his dad.

In a season overflowing with memorable moments, it was an emotional one to be certain.

Now, a 49ers win will allow the Shanahans to become the first father-son head-coaching duo to coach Super Bowl winners after Mike did it twice with the Broncos. However, they also stand as links from this San Francisco squad to the last to have won the Super Bowl, the brilliant 1994 Niners.

It was Mike, then the 49ers offensive coordinator, calling the plays during the '94 Niners' run to the Super Bowl and it's Kyle calling them now.

"I love that we keep it in the family and everything," Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said when asked about Kyle Shanahan's embrace of the franchise's history and seeing such former Niners legends as Steve Young, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice at games. "When those older players come back, just whether they talk to us or you just see them on the sidelines, having them around, it's cool. It just makes you realize the history of this organization and whenever you get that opportunity, it's great."

While this year's 49ers have embraced the past, in many ways they are mirroring the 1994 team that went on to beat the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.

In addition to Shanahans calling the plays, both teams featured quarterbacks who backed up legends and won a pair of Super Bowls as reserves before getting their time to lead the Niners to the NFL pinnacle.

While Young bided his time behind Montana, Garoppolo bided his time behind Tom Brady in New England before being forced to wait longer for an injury to recover.

Both teams' defenses were highlighted by first-round defensive linemen, the '94 squad featuring standouts Bryant Young and Dana Stubblefield, while this year's front is filled with top-round talent: Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas, per NFL Research.

Ford, like linebacker Kwon Alexander and cornerback Richard Sherman, is also a recently acquired Pro Bowl free agent, just as linebacker Ken Norton and cornerback Deion Sanders were back then.

Though Kyle Shanahan's offense is renown for its running game, the 49ers didn't have a 1,000-yard rusher this season. They didn't in 1994, either. Each team did have one player cross the 1,000-yard receiving barrier, though -- tight end George Kittle this season and legendary wideout Rice in '94.

Each team boasted a sterling 13-3 record in the regular season and won the NFC West en route to garnering the NFC No. 1 seed. Their playoff journeys thereafter were similar, as well, with each team downing the sixth seed in the Divisional Round before besting the No. 2 seed in the NFC Championship Game.

Of course, the greatest accomplishment and the one that would forever link the 1994 49ers with the 2019 roster of red and gold remains to be determined by the latter.

Just like the '94 49ers, the 2019 Niners are facing the AFC West champion in the Super Bowl -- both of them taking part in Miami.

Then it was the Chargers, now it's the Chiefs.

Then, the 49ers prevailed. Now ... will have to wait until Super Bowl Sunday to see if this season's Niners continue with the similarities all the way to the winner's podium.

Super Bowl LIV details

When is the Super Bowl? Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will take place on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. EST.

Where is the Super Bowl? Hard Rock Stadium will host the game in 2020, marking Miami's 11th time as Super Bowl host city.

*How to watch the Super Bowl: Tune in on Fox, with the NFL App, Yahoo Sports App, and on Check out more updates and info here. *

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content