Unofficial San Francisco 49ers Book of Lists

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9780971392441: Unofficial San Francisco 49ers Book of Lists
About the Author:

Craig Massei was born and raised in Northern California and has 22 years of professional journalism experience as a sportswriter, columnist and editor. He has covered the 49ers since 1988, including stints at the Stockton Record and Oakland Tribune before becoming editor in chief of SF Illustrated.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Top 10 worst distractions

1) O.J. Simpson - Trading for "The Juice" squeezed the 49ers for years. This transaction gutted an already struggling franchise and was instrumental in the team plummeting to back-to-back 2-14 seasons in 1978-79. Simpson had knee problems when he joined the team and his best days were well behind him. Simpson played two seasons and gained 1,053 yards rushing (averaging just 3.7 yards a carry) for the Niners - at a whopping cost of a first-round draft choice, two second-rounders, a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder -before retiring.

2) Jim Plunkett - The Niners traded two No. 1 draft picks and a serviceable quarterback, Tom Owen, to the New England Patriots to acquire Plunkett, who was a bust in his two seasons with the team. Plunkett completed barely more than half his passes and threw eight more interceptions than touchdowns before the Niners sent him away without getting anything in return.

3) Y.A. Tittle - The Niners were going in a different direction at quarterback and had lost confidence in the aging Tittle, but he still had plenty left in him, immediately leading the New York Giants to an Eastern Conference title, then playing in two Pro Bowls and becoming the fourth-leading passer in Giants history before having his number retired. The Niners unloaded Tittle for guard/linebacker Lou Cordileone - whose first season with the team was his last - and faded to three consecutive losing seasons while Tittle was becoming a star in New York.

4) Jamie Brown - The 49ers were fleeced of a second-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in 1998 for this stiff, who turned up AWOL during his only training camp with the team, then almost was cut by an irate coach Steve Mariucci during Brown¹s only season with the team.

5) Charles Haley - The Niners had to get rid of Haley - who had become unhappy with the team and was becoming a divisive force - and they did receive second- and third-round picks from Dallas. But trading him to the Cowboys may have swayed the balance of power in the NFC, and with Haley creating havoc as one of the game¹s premier pass rushers Dallas beat the Niners in the next two NFC title games on its way to back-to-back Super Bowl championships that could have belonged to the Niners.

6) Earl Morrall - Morrall didn¹t have much of a future with the team after the Niners drafted John Brodie No. 1 in 1957, but the team¹s No. 1 pick in 1956 turned into a pretty good quarterback. He was NFL MVP with Baltimore in 1968 - and the Niners could have gotten more for him than a linebacker (Marv Matuszak) that lasted just two years with the team. Plus, the Niners threw in their 1957 fourth-round draft pick (guard Mike Sandusky) in this one-sided deal.

7) Thomas Henderson - "Hollywood" didn¹t exactly play to rave reviews in 1980 - his only season with the team - after coming over from the Dallas Cowboys for a fourth-round draft choice.

8) Bob Hayes - The Niners burned a No. 3 draft choice on a washed-up Hayes in 1975. He played one season with the team, catching six passes.

9) Roy Barker and Irv Smith - In a classic example of receiving nothing for something, the Niners sent away a quality starting defensive end and a part-time starter at tight end to the Cleveland Browns in 1999 for "past considerations" - and to get rid of their veteran salaries.

10) R.W. McQuarters - Two seasons after drafting McQuarters in the first round, the Niners shipped him to Chicago for a sixth-round draft choice. McQuarters immediately developed into a quality starting cornerback who helped turn around Chicago¹s defense.

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