1972 San Francisco 49ers season
OwnerJosephine Morabito
Jane Morabito
General managerLouis Spadia
Head coachDick Nolan
Home fieldCandlestick Park
Results
Record8–5–1
Division place1st NFC West
Playoff finishLost Divisional Playoffs
(vs. Cowboys) 28–30
Pro BowlersC Forrest Blue
G Woody Peoples
WR Gene Washington
TE Ted Kwalick
OLB Dave Wilcox
CB Jimmy Johnson

The 1972 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 23rd season in the National Football League and their 27th overall. The 49ers appeared in the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

After an ankle injury to quarterback John Brodie in a loss to the Giants to fall to 2–3,[1] Steve Spurrier stepped in and turned things around with brilliant performances to get the 49ers back in the playoff picture by going 5–2–1 in the next eight games. In the regular season finale, Brodie returned late in the third quarter and threw two touchdown passes in the fourth to rally the 49ers to a 20–17 victory over the Minnesota Vikings for an 8–5–1 record and third straight division title.[2][3]

In the divisional playoffs at Candlestick Park, the 49ers looked poised for a return to the NFC Championship game, leading the Dallas Cowboys 28–13 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Cowboys scored seventeen unanswered points to win by two.[4][5]

This was the third consecutive season that San Francisco lost to Dallas in the playoffs, and the 49ers' last postseason appearance for nine years.

Offseason

NFL draft

Main article: 1972 NFL draft

1972 San Francisco 49ers draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 19 Terry Beasley  Wide receiver Auburn
2 28 Ralph McGill  Defensive back Tulsa
2 44 Jean Barrett  Tackle Tulsa started playing for the 49ers in 1973
3 71 Jubilee Dunbar  Wide receiver Southern
4 96 Windlan Hall  Defensive back Arizona State
5 123 Mike Greene  Linebacker Georgia
6 148 Jackie Walker  Defensive back Tennessee
7 175 Ed Hardy  Guard Jackson State started playing for the 49ers in 1973
8 200 Tom Wittum *  Punter Northern Illinois started playing for the 49ers in 1973
9 227 Jerry Brown  Defensive back Northwestern
10 252 Steve Williams  Defensive end Western Carolina
11 279 Tom Laputka  Defensive end Southern Illinois
12 304 Steve Setzler  Defensive end Saint John's (MN)
13 331 Leon Pettigrew  Tackle Cal State Northridge
14 356 Eric Guthrie  Quarterback Boise State
15 383 Bob Maddox  Defensive end Frostburg State was ineligible to be drafted.
16 408 Ron Davis  Guard Virginia State
17 435 Ted Alexander  Running back Langston
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career
Source:[6]

Roster

1972 San Francisco 49ers roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad



Rookies in italics

Preseason

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 August 5 vs. New York Jets L 10–17 0–1 Gator Bowl 41,920
2 August 13 Cleveland Browns W 20–13 1–1 Candlestick Park 58,364
3 August 19 at San Diego Chargers L 16–17 1–2 San Diego Stadium 47,308
4 August 27 Denver Broncos L 24–27 1–3 Candlestick Park 58,115
5 September 3 Oakland Raiders W 34–21 2–3 Candlestick Park 61,237
6 September 8 at Los Angeles Rams W 17–14 3–3 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 60,807

[7]

Regular season

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 September 17 San Diego Chargers W 34–3 1–0 Candlestick Park 59,438
2 September 24 at Buffalo Bills L 20–27 1–1 War Memorial Stadium 45,845
3 October 1 at New Orleans Saints W 37–2 2–1 Tulane Stadium 69,840
4 October 8 at Los Angeles Rams L 7–31 2–2 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 77,382
5 October 15 New York Giants L 17–23 2–3 Candlestick Park 58,606
6 October 22 New Orleans Saints T 20–20 2–3–1 Candlestick Park 59,167
7 October 29 at Atlanta Falcons W 49–14 3–3–1 Atlanta Stadium 58,850
8 November 5 at Green Bay Packers L 24–34 3–4–1 Milwaukee County Stadium 47,897
9 November 12 Baltimore Colts W 24–21 4–4–1 Candlestick Park 61,214
10 November 19 at Chicago Bears W 34–21 5–4–1 Soldier Field 55,701
11 November 23 at Dallas Cowboys W 31–10 6–4–1 Texas Stadium 65,124
12 December 4 Los Angeles Rams L 16–26 6–5–1 Candlestick Park 61,214
13 December 10 Atlanta Falcons W 20–0 7–5–1 Candlestick Park 61,214
14 December 16 Minnesota Vikings W 20–17 8–5–1 Candlestick Park 61,214
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Standings

NFC West
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
San Francisco 49ers 8 5 1 .607 3–2–1 6–4–1 353 249 W2
Atlanta Falcons 7 7 0 .500 3–3 5–5 269 274 L2
Los Angeles Rams 6 7 1 .464 4–2 5–5–1 291 286 L2
New Orleans Saints 2 11 1 .179 1–4–1 2–8–1 215 361 L3

Postseason

See also: 1972–73 NFL playoffs

Schedule

Round Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
Divisional December 23 Dallas Cowboys L 28–30 0–1 Candlestick Park 61,214

Awards and records

Milestones

References

  1. ^ "'no comment' on possible Brodie trade". Lodi News-Sentinel. UPI. October 18, 1972. p. 16.
  2. ^ "Brodie guides 49ers to title". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. December 17, 1972. p. D1.
  3. ^ "49ers edge Minnesota, 20-17, to take title". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. (South Carolina). Associated Press. December 17, 1972. p. B1.
  4. ^ "Staubach ends bid by 49ers with late TDs". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 24, 1972. p. 1B.
  5. ^ "Incredible Cowboys do it again". Victoria Advocate. (Texas). Associated Press. December 24, 1972. p. 1B.
  6. ^ "1972 San Francisco 49ers Draftees". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  7. ^ "1972 San Francisco 49ers (NFL)". Pro Football Archives. Retrieved October 31, 2023.