49ers’ All-Time Passing Leaders (Yardage)
The San Francisco 49ers have a rich history of great offensive teams, and naturally have fielded some of the game's best quarterbacks. Some of the following names in the all-time Top 10 in passing yards for the Niners will surprise you, but most of them are household names in NFL circles.
Joe Montana (35,124)-Joe "Freaking" Montana doesn't have the gaudy numbers that Dan Marino or Brett Favre have, but he has four times the number of Super Bowl rings (four, and Favre has one). Montana leads the 49ers all-time in passing yards with 35,124 and in TD passes with 244. More importantly, the guy just won games, and in addition to the championships, had a 100-39 record in his time in San Francisco (1979-1992). Montana threw for a career high 3944 yards in 1990, but his best season was 1989. That year, Montana completed a stunning 70.2 % of his passes, and threw for 3521 yards with 26 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions.
John Brodie (31,548)-John Brodie didn't play on the same caliber Niners teams that Montana did, but he does rank second in team history with 31,548 passing yards. Brodie played in San Francisco from 1957 to 1973, but threw for more picks (224) than TD passes (214) in his career. His best season was 1965, with career highs in passing yards (3112), and touchdowns (30) with 16 interceptions.
Steve Young (29,907)-Steve Young had the unenviable task of replacing Montana, but he did that and then some when he won a Super Bowl ring of his own following the 1994 season. Of course, like Montana, Young (who played for San Francisco from 1987 to 1999) had the benefit of throwing to Jerry Rice, arguably the greatest wide receiver of all-time. Young ranks third in Niners' history with 29,907 passing yards and made the Pro Bowl seven times. His best season was 1998, when Young threw for career highs in passing yards (4170) and touchdowns (36) with just 12 interceptions.
Jeff Garcia (16,408)-While Young had to follow Montana, Jeff Garcia had to follow Young and was the 49ers' quarterback from 1999 to 2003. Garcia is no slouch, but has now played for several teams in his career. Still, he had some great seasons in San Francisco, and he and Terrell Owens formed a great tandem. Garcia ranks fourth in franchise history with 16,408 passing yards. His best season was 2000, when he made the Pro Bowl by throwing for 4278 yards (career high) with 31 TD passes and just 10 interceptions.
Y.A. Tittle (16,016)-Before starring with the Giants, Y.A. Tittle played for several years in San Francisco, from 1951 to 1960. He ranks fifth in Niners' history with 16,016 yards through the air, and Tittle's best season in San Francisco was 1953, when he passed for 2121 yards with 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Frankie Albert (10,795)-Frankie Albert played for the 49ers for his whole, but brief career, from 1946 to 1952. Albert wasn't spectacular, but was efficient. He ranks sixth in team history with 10,795 passing yards, and his best season was 1948. That year, Albert passed for career highs in yards (1990) and touchdowns (29) with just 10 picks.
Steve DeBerg (7220)-Steve DeBerg played for San Francisco from 1978 to 1980 and basically kept the seat warm for Joe Montana. DeBerg played on some awful teams, but does rank seventh in team history with 7220 passing yards. His best season with the 49ers was 1979 when he threw for a career best 3652 yards, with 17 TDs and 21 interceptions.
Steve Spurrier (5250)-Raise your hand if you thought Steve Spurrier was anything but a college football coach. That's what I thought. I am old enough to remember Spurrier's NFL career, but I don't remember it. He played for the Niners for most of it, from 1967 to 1975, and ranks eighth in their history with 5250 passing yards. Spurrier's best season was 1972, when he threw for career highs in yards (1983) and touchdowns (18) with 16 interceptions.
Alex Smith (4679)-Alex Smith was the Niners' top draft pick in 2005 and played decently but not great. He actually was supposed to be the future of the team, but lost the starting job to JT O'Sullivan in 2008 and put on injured reserve. Smith does rank ninth in team history with 4679 yards, however. And his best season with the team was 2006, when he threw for 2890 yards with 16 TDs and 16 interceptions.
Tim Rattay (3941)-Though Tim Rattay was mostly a backup for the Niners from 2000 to 2005, he does rank tenth in franchise history with 3941 passing yards. Rattay's best season in San Francisco was 2004, with career high numbers in passing yards (2169) and touchdowns (10) with 10 interceptions.