San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is only the fourth quarterback in franchise history to lead the team to the Super Bowl. Does this make him one of the best 49er QBs ever? Not yet; for San Francisco has fielded some great signal-callers. Here are the five best of all time.
5. Jeff Garcia (1999-2003)
Garcia had the unenviable challenge of following in Steve Young's and Joe Montana's footsteps after the franchise imploded in 1999. And while he did not have a Hall of Fame career, Garcia did lead the 49ers to back-to-back playoff appearances and became the first quarterback in franchise history to throw more than 30 touchdowns in consecutive seasons. However, his time in San Francisco was short because the 49ers released him after a 7-9 season in 2003.
4. Y.A. Tittle (1951-60)
The 49ers' first great quarterback made the Pro Bowl four times in 10 seasons with the franchise. In 1961, San Francisco traded him to the New York Giants where he enjoyed the best seasons of a Hall of Fame career.
3. John Brodie (1957-73)
Brodie split playing time with Y.A. Tittle before the latter was traded to the New York Giants in 1961. He went on to be the starting quarterback for the next 13 seasons, leading San Francisco to three playoff appearances and being named NFL MVP in 1970. When Brodie retired after the 1973 season, he ranked third in career passing yards behind Johnny Unitas and Fran Tarkenton.
2. Steve Young (1987-99)
Young was part of the biggest quarterback controversy in NFL history until Joe Montana injured his elbow in the 1991 preseason and had to miss nearly two seasons. Young became the starting quarterback and went 70-33 over the next eight seasons. Along the way, he was named league MVP in 1992 and '94 and won Super Bowl XXIX, where he was named the game's MVP. A severe concussion in Week 3 of the 1999 season ended Young's career and he was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, his first year of eligibility. His six seasons leading the NFL in passer rating are still a record.
1. Joe Montana (1979-92)
"Joe Cool" split time with Steve DeBerg before becoming the starter in 1981. The rest is history. Montana was a perfect fit in Bill Walsh's West Coast offense and went on to win four Super Bowls and two league MVP awards. After suffering an elbow injury and missing all of the 1991 season and most of '92, he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of that franchise too.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.