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How does this compare to '81?

For those old enough to remember the '81 season, I'm wondering how this season compares. Of course I can't compare the two, as in '81 we went on to win the Super Bowl (in '82), and this is obviously premature, but I remember hearing how that was a magical season with everything going right, everyone being on board, etc. etc. So through 6 games, does this seem similar? Hope this makes sense
ilove alex but montana was making more plays. if alex continues to improve ...we will be right there.
81 was good. Having watched the Niners since the 70s, 81 was more of a "voyage of discovery". Everything was new. The following years, winning was just an expectation, and first Joe, then Steve did it for us game after game. Then there were the years of letdown through the 2000s (post Garcia/TO - yeah, those years weren't too bad, except the feeling of impending salary-cap doom)...

In 81 the Cowboys were still the big impediment, and it was hard to think - up to "the Catch" - that we were going to the Superbowl. Once that happened, we were in for years of amazing success!

I think, for me, anyways, having the many years of success, then almost 10 years of letdown, means that this time feels so much better. When you expect to win all the time, then you have years of drought - to the point of even taking away our beloved WCO - finally starting to win again feels REAL good...
Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
For those old enough to remember the '81 season, I'm wondering how this season compares. Of course I can't compare the two, as in '81 we went on to win the Super Bowl (in '82), and this is obviously premature, but I remember hearing how that was a magical season with everything going right, everyone being on board, etc. etc. So through 6 games, does this seem similar? Hope this makes sense

I was a young 49ers fan in 1981 and had endured the earlier Bill Walsh and Monte Clark years, where there were a couple of 2-14 seasons. Then came 1981. Walsh had the team looking completely different all of a sudden - organized and surprising teams with their talent and game plans (it's early this season in being only 6 games in, but this is a similarity from back then to what we're seeing today). The QB back then, Montana, had finally separated away from the platoon with Steve DeBerg and helped lead the team to an incredible 13-3 record. This surprised the whole league. What was really amazing was achieving this record with three of the four starting DBs being rookies (Lott, Wright, and Williamson).

It's way too early to draw comparisons from today's team under Harbaugh to the 1981 team under Walsh, which really started the '80s & '90s dynasties, but I really like the weekly progress I'm seeing under Harbaugh and his staff along with the team's ability to game plan, compete, and also win the close games.
[ Edited by LottDMontanaO on Oct 17, 2011 at 9:31 PM ]
Originally posted by Humboldt9er:
ilove alex but montana was making more plays. if alex continues to improve ...we will be right there.

wasn't alive then so i can't speak for that. hopefully alex starts puttin up some better stats and we win bigger
1) Lott + Wright + Wiliamson
2) Hacksaw Reynolds
3) Fred Dean

1981 = D was way more revamped ('80 were horrible)
2011 = D improved w/ better coaching

2011 running game > 1981 running game
1981 passing game > 2011 passing game

1981 schedule = games vs NFC E & AFC C (Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Oilers)
2011 schedule = games vs NFC E & AFC N (Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Ravens)
  • dj43
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 20,155
The 81 team did not have the talent of this team. It was more like the SF Giants of last season - a team of misfits that no one else wanted. Jack Reynolds was past his prime but a great teacher. Dan Audick was an emotionally disturbed guard playing OLT. Earl Cooper was a disappointment at RB but played well at TE. The secondary just jelled unbelievably quickly. Montana was not yet the HOF QB but played just well enough to get the wins in some close games. I could go on but the current teams has more overall talent, especially in the front 7 on defense and at RB.

To me, the greatest similarity is in the fact the '81 team snuck up on a lot of teams and so has the current team...so far.
Originally posted by dj43:
The 81 team did not have the talent of this team. It was more like the SF Giants of last season - a team of misfits that no one else wanted. Jack Reynolds was past his prime but a great teacher. Dan Audick was an emotionally disturbed guard playing OLT. Earl Cooper was a disappointment at RB but played well at TE. The secondary just jelled unbelievably quickly. Montana was not yet the HOF QB but played just well enough to get the wins in some close games. I could go on but the current teams has more overall talent, especially in the front 7 on defense and at RB.

To me, the greatest similarity is in the fact the '81 team snuck up on a lot of teams and so has the current team...so far.

Originally posted by dj43:
The 81 team did not have the talent of this team. It was more like the SF Giants of last season - a team of misfits that no one else wanted. Jack Reynolds was past his prime but a great teacher. Dan Audick was an emotionally disturbed guard playing OLT. Earl Cooper was a disappointment at RB but played well at TE. The secondary just jelled unbelievably quickly. Montana was not yet the HOF QB but played just well enough to get the wins in some close games. I could go on but the current teams has more overall talent, especially in the front 7 on defense and at RB.

To me, the greatest similarity is in the fact the '81 team snuck up on a lot of teams and so has the current team...so far.

I agree that they did sneak up on teams. It was the same ole same ole after the 81 team started out 1-2 against three teams that didn't even make the playoffs . . . then they ripped off 15 of 16 including the playoffs. I also agree that Montana still hadn't mastered Walsh's system but he was obviously effective enough . . . and he always came up big in the big games, which made all the difference.

It's hard to argue talent level between the two eras. We had old mid 70's holdovers who still smoked in the locker room as well as Walsh's hand picked athletic youngsters.

It's a little different this time because we all breathe this s**t 24/7 with the networks, internet and talk radio streaming every last piece of information on every team. Back then we had the water cooler the sports page, and Sundays . . . that was pretty much it.
Originally posted by SonocoNinerFan:
Originally posted by dj43:
The 81 team did not have the talent of this team. It was more like the SF Giants of last season - a team of misfits that no one else wanted. Jack Reynolds was past his prime but a great teacher. Dan Audick was an emotionally disturbed guard playing OLT. Earl Cooper was a disappointment at RB but played well at TE. The secondary just jelled unbelievably quickly. Montana was not yet the HOF QB but played just well enough to get the wins in some close games. I could go on but the current teams has more overall talent, especially in the front 7 on defense and at RB.

To me, the greatest similarity is in the fact the '81 team snuck up on a lot of teams and so has the current team...so far.

I agree that they did sneak up on teams. It was the same ole same ole after the 81 team started out 1-2 against three teams that didn't even make the playoffs . . . then they ripped off 15 of 16 including the playoffs. I also agree that Montana still hadn't mastered Walsh's system but he was obviously effective enough . . . and he always came up big in the big games, which made all the difference.

It's hard to argue talent level between the two eras. We had old mid 70's holdovers who still smoked in the locker room as well as Walsh's hand picked athletic youngsters.

It's a little different this time because we all breathe this s**t 24/7 with the networks, internet and talk radio streaming every last piece of information on every team. Back then we had the water cooler the sports page, and Sundays . . . that was pretty much it.

The team's strengths and weaknesses are completely different. This team is carried by a tough defense, the 81 team was carried by an innovative offense. Using short passes for ball control was unheard of at the time. The '81 team was rotating running backs because none were any good - Earl Cooper, Ricky Patton. The '81 team was more disciplined but I'd say less talented across the board with the exception of QB and maybe CB. Montana had a knack of winning despite his mistakes. Both teams' performance surprised people. There was the Howard Cosell highlight snub of 49ers beating his Cowboys. The 49ers weren't really considered a powerhouse until they beat the Cowboys again at the NFC championship game.
I think the primary difference is this: The '11 team is living in the shadow of The Dynasty teams--which is unfair.

Beating the Cowboys and winning the Super Bowl was more amazing than the Giants' recent World Series win. It had that sense of improbability mixed with destiny about it, but it was a wild blue yonder! That'll never happen again.

And, unfortunately, this current and all forthcoming Niner teams will be subject to the legacy of the dynasty.

Getting down to the nuts and bolts stuff, Harbaugh's team is likely more talented than Walsh's mob of rookies and retreads. On the other hand, Walsh wasn't exactly on Harbaugh's manic pace--but Walsh was busy reinventing the wheel. At the moment, Harbaugh looks to be a very clever practitioner in a sea of very conservative coaches. It seems unlikely that Harbaugh will turn the football world upside down, at this moment. And that is a key point about that first Super Bowl, it wasn't our first ring, it was the opening shot in what has become modern football.

As if the dynasty wasn't an impossible wall to scale, ultimately, and as a Niners coach, Harbaugh has that precedent to live up to. Good luck, boss.

The key point is this: Harbaugh's competition isn't Walsh, or Seifert. He's competing with the Holmgrens, Cowehrs, Dungees, and yes Jimmy $(%*%* Johnsons. He's an aspiring second order dynasty coach, and he and his team should be treated that way.

I wish him well, but all this Super Bowl and dynasty talk makes me very, very nervous.

I'd rather deal with one week schedules.
Winning our first Super Bowl for 49er fans, was like the first time we landed on the moon. We had never done it before. It was hard to even imangine we could back then, and after we learned to believe. For the next 15 or 20 years we just expected we would win it year in and year out.

The past 10 years feel like we have lost the way, but some of us Diehards remember when it was possible. Personally I've had really good feelings from the day we landed Harbaugh back in January. Harbaugh is a totally different personality then Walsh was, but I feel almost as good this year as I did in 1981, almost.

Enjoy the ride friends. I really feel like this is a special year for us. I'm calling it now, SF vs GB in the Championship Game and the winner will win the Super Bowl!!!!!

I think we are all learning how to believe once again!
[ Edited by Maui9er on Oct 18, 2011 at 12:11 AM ]
  • NP9er
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 161
Every one brought up absolutely accurate observations on "the comparison". Totatly agree it's still way too early to call out a "dynesty," but sure feels good to be us again. Just one other thought, How many of you thought back to 3rd and goal from the six, yesterday when we looked at the screen and saw 3rd and goal?????, FROM THE SIX YARD LINE!


Maybe, just maybe, lightning strikes again.
Originally posted by Humboldt9er:
ilove alex but montana was making more plays. if alex continues to improve ...we will be right there.

Yea, if Smith and Crabtree can get on the same page, it will really bolster the whole team. It is the missing ingredient, if you will, right now.
Lets not compare Alex Smith to Montana please.