Forever in the heart of San Francisco: How the 49ers helped heal a wounded city in 1981

“I became mayor in November of `78 under very difficult circumstances with the assassinations of my predecessor George Moscone and Harvey Milk. There was hatred like I have never seen. San Francisco had some very, very dark days.

“Into this very disparate situation came the Niners and began to win. People took great pride in something going right.

“I can truly say, the first Super Bowl victory united a fractured city. It’s a sense of fulfillment in the wake of the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk, the Niners helped a broken city heal.”

– Former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein on the 49ers’ impact on the city

Every so often I get asked which professional sports team means more to the city of San Francisco. Even with the Giants winning two World Series in recent years, the answer always comes back to the 49ers.

Earl Cooper’s iconic touchdown spike in the team’s first Super Bowl.

Even if you look at the Bay Area as a whole, the 49ers are one of two teams to be born in the Bay and have never left. You can include the Sharks in the conversation, but they don’t have a long history like the 49ers. The 49ers have always been a part of the city of San Francisco and because of that, the entire community will always hold them dear.

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