The team of the 1980s is back, at last.
The 49ers, one of the great franchises of the NFL, will finally return to the Super Bowl in search of a record-tying sixth Lombardi Trophy when they face the Baltimore Ravens on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Super Bowl wins, with six triumphs in eight appearances, and the Dallas Cowboys have five wins in eight, but the Niners are the only team to have appeared in multiple Super Bowls and won each of them.
The Green Bay Packers were the first dominant team in the Super Bowl era, in the late 1960s, and the Steelers the stars of the 1970s, but the 49ers were the team to beat during the 1980s and into the early 1990s.
This year’s Super Bowl marks the return to the big stage for the 49ers after an 18-year absence that left many wondering if a franchise that once had Hall of Famers including Joe Montana and Jerry Rice would ever again be part of the NFL’s elite.
The links with the past remain — owner Jed York is the nephew of ex-owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who was present at the Georgia Dome on Sunday for the 49ers’ 28-24 NFC Championship Game win over the Atlanta Falcons.
“We set the standard — you are supposed to win the Super Bowl year in, year out and win with class,” York said. “It means a lot to me for us to get there and have an opportunity to win it. But we’ve got a long way to go.”