Wednesday, January 11, 2012
2011 49ers' 13-3, a Historical Look
The 49ers finished the 2011 season with a 13-3 regular season record. I was curious as to how many times the 49ers had finished with 13 wins or better and how they fared in the playoffs subsequently.
1997 - 13-3 - Div champs, NFC #1 seed, lost in Conf round
1994 - 13-3 - Div champs, NFC #1 seed, Superbowl Champs
1992 - 14-2 - Div champs, NFC #1 seed, lost in Conf round
1990 - 14-2 - Div champs, NFC #1 seed, lost in Conf round
1989 - 14-2 - Div champs, NFC #1 seed, Superbowl Champs
1987 - 13-2 - Div champs, NFC #1 seed, lost in Div round
1984 - 15-1 - Div champs, NFC #1 seed, Superbowl Champs
1981 - 13-3 - Div champs, NFC #1 seed, Superbowl Champs
SF finished with 13 wins or better eight other seasons. Interestingly, they were always the top seed in the conference and managed to win 4 of their 5 Superbowls from the top spot (only the 1988 championship was won from the #2 seed). Of the 4 years they didn't win it all, they made it to the NFC Championship round 3 times and only lost in the divisional round once, in 1987.
Of course, this year, the 49ers are the NFC #2nd seed. They've only been the 2nd seed 4 other times with only the aforementioned 1988 championship to show for it.
1995 - 11-5 - Div champs, lost in Div round
1993 - 10-6 - Div champs, lost in Conf round
1988 - 10-6 - Div champs, Superbowl Champs
1983 - 10-6 - Div champs, lost in Conf round
Now, it is an unbelievable achievement for the 49ers just to make the playoffs this year. Actually its quite an achievement for the 49ers just to reach 10 wins, much less 13. Since the NFL went to a 16 game season in 1978, the 49ers have reached the postseason every time they've reached the 10 win regular season mark, except for the 10-6 Seifert team in 1991. (Also since '78, we've never made the playoffs without at least 10 wins). Our last 10+ win season was 2002, eight long years ago. Amazingly, from 1981 (Walsh's 3rd season and Montana's 1st as full-time starter) to 2002, the 49ers made the playoffs 18 of 22 seasons! And they had at least 10 win seasons 19 times, including a 16 year consecutive stretch from '83-'98.
So, the 49ers have made the playoffs 23 times in history before this year and won the NFC West 17 previous times. Since, all 5 Superbowls have come after we've won our division, we are in prime position. Plus, 2 of our championships were won by teams that finished with 13 wins, and at least one of our #2 seeded teams has gone all the way.
At minimum, beating the Saints to reach the conference championship is a must to avoid becoming only the 2nd 13 win 49er team or the 2nd NFC #2 seed 49er team to lose in the divisional round. Therefore my prediction:
49ers 26 - Saints 17.