1983: San Francisco 49ers knock off Redskins in NFC Championship Game & the Aftermath Aug 11, 2020 19:54:09 GMT
Post by 49ersfootball on Aug 11, 2020 19:54:09 GMT
12:16 PM PST, Wednesday, January 11th, 1984
San Francisco 49ers HQ, Santa Clara, CA
Edward John DeBartolo, Jr., was born in Youngstown, OH on November 6th, 1946, the son of Marie Patricia (Montani) & Edward DeBartolo, Sr., a real estate developer. He went to high school at Cardinal Mooney, graduating from there & furthering his education at the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1968; he later married his high school sweetheart, Candy & they had three daughters: Lisa, Nicole & Tiffanie.
DeBartolo developed shopping malls as part of a corporation founded by his father. The Eddie J. DeBartolo Corporation became one of the largest public real estate businesses in the United States, at one point controlling over two billion square feet of retail real estate space nationwide.
In addition, DeBartolo was actively involved in franchise ownership & sports management, becoming one of the most successful & generous owners in professional sports. His father, DeBartolo, Sr., bought the San Francisco 49ers for his son, Edward, Jr., whose ownership of the 49ers became very notable. On DeBartolo, Jr's watch, the 49ers under then-Head Coach Ken Meyer, the team lost their first five games of the 1977 Season, including being shut out twice. Though they won five of their next six games, they lost their last three games to finish (5-9). Playing in San Francisco, didn't revive QB Jim Plunkett's career with the 49ers as he had another disappointing season, throwing only 9 TD passes. Bright spots for the 49ers included defensive linemen Tommy Hart & Cleveland Elam, who made the Pro Bowl, & running backs Wilbur Jackson & Delvin Williams, who combined for over 1,600 yards rushing. Gene Washington again led the team in receiving in 1977, his final year with the 49ers. The 1977 off-season was marked by a number of questionable moves by Joe Thomas that backfired badly. Thomas' big off-season acquisition was running back OJ Simpson from the Buffalo Bills. As with Plunkett two years previously, it was thought rescuing Simpson from a bad situation & bringing him to the West Coast where he had been raised would rejuvenate his career. To create playing time for Simpson, Thomas traded Delvin Williams to the Miami Dolphins for WR Freddie Solomon. Thomas also released Jim Plunkett, giving up on him after two seasons (Plunkett would go onto to win a Super Bowl championship with the Raiders in 1980). Finally, Thomas fired Meyer after only one season, & replaced him with Pete McCulley, his third coach in three seasons.
The 1978 season turned out to be another disaster for the 49ers, resulting in the team finishing (2-14), their only wins coming against the Cincinnati & Tampa. Simpson indeed led the team in rushing, but with less than 600 yards. It became apparent that Simpson's knees & body were worn out, & he was nearing the end of his NFL career. Wilbur Jackson also missed the entire season due to injury. Even worse for the franchise was that their first pick of the 1979 NFL Draft was traded to the Buffalo Bills as part of the OJ Simpson deal. Joe Thomas was fired following the season. Some of the key players that became part of the 49ers stunning rise began their 49ers careers in 1978. Rookie QB Steve DeBerg, Joe Montana's first mentor, was the 49ers starting QB. Running back Paul Holfer & center/guard Randy Cross also started with the 49ers in 1978.
The team was led in its turnaround from late 1970s doormat by new owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., & head coach Bill Walsh. The former head coach of Stanford University was known for stockpiling draft picks, making excellent draft selections, & patching roster holes by acquiring free agents.
Walsh was hired to be the 49ers head coach in the 1978 off-season. Walsh was a disciple of Paul Brown & served as Brown's offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1968 to 1975. However, Brown did not appoint him as his successor upon his retirement, choosing another assistant, former 49ers center Bill "Tiger" Johnson. Desiring head coaching experience, Walsh looked to Stanford University in 1977, where he had success in Palo Alto for two seasons (1977, 1978) before the 49ers tapped him to be their replacement for McCulley, who was fired following the 1978 Season.