Which secondary is the greatest in 49ers history?

Aug 20, 2021 at 9:52 AM--

"Dwight Hicks and the Hot Licks" are reuniting, to help raise money for the Golden Heart Fund, which assists former San Francisco 49ers players in need. Hicks, along with Ronnie Lott, Carlton Williamson and Eric Wright, are considered the greatest secondary in 49ers history. Hicks was a veteran safety in 1981, when the 49ers drafted three rookies to start in the secondary with him. He played in four Pro Bowls.

Lott, who started as a corner and was moved to safety later in his career, made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, his first of nine Pro Bowl appearances. He was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Williamson, a safety, played in two Pro Bowls, as did Wright, a cornerback.

In 1984, all four made the Pro Bowl...and won their second Super Bowl together. Among them, they won a combined 12 Super Bowls. Lott and Wright played on all four Super Bowl teams in the 1980s. Williamson and Hicks both played on the 1981 and 1984 teams.

So is this the greatest secondary in 49ers history? When it comes to championships, you can't argue it is. But if it is not, which is? Here are a few other contenders.


We have already discussed Lott, who was one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. But in 1988 and 1989, the 49ers had two of the league's best corners in Tim McKyer and Don Griffin. And they had one of the hardest hitting safeties in football, Jeff Fuller. This secondary was dominant, and it helped the team win the Super Bowl in 1988 and 1989. Among its members, they won a combined 11 Super Bowls. Lott with four, Fuller with three, and McKyer and Griffin with two. Sadly, Fuller's career was cut short after a spinal injury in October 1989. He is able to walk, thankfully, but still suffers from the injury.


Any secondary that includes Deion Sanders will be a contender. He was, perhaps, the greatest corner to ever play the game. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, first ballot Hall of Famer, and won two Super Bowls (one with Dallas). In addition to Sanders, the 1994 secondary included Merton Hanks (a four-time Pro Bowler), Tim McDonald (a six-time Pro Bowler) and Eric Davis (a two-time Pro Bowler). Three of the four defensive backs made the Pro Bowl in 1994.


Although this secondary won't get the attention of the others, it was really good. The secondary consisted of Tarrell Brown, Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson. This secondary didn't win any Super Bowls together, but it was an effective group that played much better than expected.

So which group are you going with? For my money, it has to be the 1981-1985 group. Cast your vote!


  • Which is the greatest secondary in 49ers history?
  • 1981-1984: Dwight Hicks and the Hot Licks (Hicks, Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Carlton Williamson)
  • 1988-1989: Lott, Jeff Fuller, Tim McKyer, Don Griffin
  • 1994: Deion Sanders, Eric Davis, Merton Hanks, Tim McDonald
  • 2011-2012: Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner, Dashon Goldson
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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