Millennials grew up with San Francisco 49ers competing for a Super Bowl appearance seemingly every year. The same can’t be said for Generation Z, the demographic beginning to occupy even more space on NFL rosters each season.
The 49ers, led by legendary quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young, won the Super Bowl five times from the start of the 1981 season through the end of the 1994 campaign. Although many fans in the San Francisco region are old enough to remember those glory days, the same can’t be said for a sizable chunk of the team’s current roster.
Nearly 40 current 49ers players, including 24 on the active roster, were alive for Super Bowl 29
Although the 49ers are rapidly approaching 30 years without winning a Super Bowl, there are far worse title droughts in the NFL. 49ers fans are free to complain to those who still support the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, neither of whom is yet to play in the Big Game.
As of publication, the 2021 49ers had 38 players — including 24 on the active roster — who were alive on Jan. 29, 1995. Kicker Robbie Gould, who was born on Dec. 6, 1992, leads the pack and is the only player who was over 10 years old when Super Bowl 29 occurred. The other 14 players were either on injured reserve or on the practice squad.
As the NFL still abides by the 53-man roster, that means 29 players, or roughly 55%, weren’t born when Young held the Lombardi Trophy above his head at then-Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Now, if one were to ask all of those 38 players if they remembered watching Super Bowl 29, that’d be another conversation. In fact, two of the players may not have even known they were alive.
Tight end Ross Dwelley and offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey only narrowly made the cut
On Jan. 12, 1995, a young boy named Michael Sean McGlinchey entered the world. Ross Dwelley followed him only 14 days later.
Nearly two decades later, the two became teammates on the 49ers, which in itself is interesting. However, the 14-day age disparity doesn’t top the fact that both were born within 17 days of the 49ers’ most recent Super Bowl title.
In the grand scheme of things, that’s a fairly minor tidbit that probably wouldn’t fit on the back of a trading card. Still, it is nonetheless intriguing, and they count among the 38 even if they almost certainly don’t remember anything from Jan. 29, 1995.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan also had a special connection to Super Bowl 29
As someone born in 1979, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan certainly remembers where he was when San Francisco last won a Super Bowl ring. In fact, he was on the 49ers’ sidelines that night in Miami.
When he wasn’t attending Saratoga High School in California, Shanahan spent time with the 49ers because his father, Mike, was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator. According to the Miami Herald, he even spent Super Bowl 29 as a ball boy, an experience he reflected on during a 2020 press conference.
“I was with most of the media. I was always that annoying kid jumping in front of other media people trying to do their job and blocking their shot, and they would tell me to get the heck out of the way. But it was great, just being down there, being on the field afterward, being able to wander around the locker room and try to collect anybody’s gloves who left them around.”
Shanahan made those comments ahead of Super Bowl 54, which coincidentally also took place in the Miami area. Although the 49ers led 20-10 with over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes engineered three scoring drives and rallied his team to a 31-20 victory.
For Shanahan’s sake, he should hope he gets to celebrate another Super Bowl victory in the near future. This time, though, he probably won’t be the one collecting loose gloves.