The San Francisco 49ers are one of football's blue-chip franchises. Since joining the NFL in 1950, they've set the standard on how to win at a rather serious clip. They currently rank inside the top 10 (No. 8) on the all-time winning percentage list and have five Super Bowl titles to their name, which is tied for second-most all-time. 

Now it's time to give credit to the people who had a big impact on creating that success. The entire CBS Sports staff is selecting the five faces most synonymous with every single franchise as part of our "Franchise Five" series. Here are the rules: We are to select one head coach, one quarterback, and three non-quarterbacks to highlight as the very best of the best for the Niners. Under those parameters, you probably have come to the realization that there will be some significant snubs off this list, but those are the parameters we're working with. 

Before we get started, I want to give a quick hat tip to Eric Branch, 49ers scribe for the San Francisco Chronicle, for offering up his knowledge and stamp of approval for this list. 

With all that out of the way, let's get to it! 

QB Joe Montana

49ers career: 1979-92
49ers résumé:

  • 4x Super Bowl champion (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV)
  • 3x Super Bowl MVP (XVI, XIX, XXIV)
  • 8x Pro Bowl (1981,1983-1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993)
  • 3x first-team All-Pro (1987, 1989, 1990)
  • 2x NFL MVP (1989, 1990) 
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team 
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team 
  • San Francisco 49ers No. 16 retired
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (2000)

An absolute no-brainer. Even though he now has some competition with Tom Brady, Joe Montana in many folks' eyes is still the greatest quarterback of all-time. He helped take the 49ers franchise from a team that had never won anything and turned them into NFL royalty with his historic run beginning in 1979 and lasting all the way through the 1992 season. 

Montana led the NFL in passing yards and passer rating twice over the course of his career, but his claim to the throne came from winning and always coming up clutch. He has 32 fourth-quarter come-from-behind victories and most notably delivered a strike to Dwight Clark (more on him in a bit) in the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Cowboys, better known as "The Catch," to help San Francisco advance to Super Bowl XXIII. 

His Super Bowl stats are simply superhuman and really highlight why he's looked at as one of the greats, if not the greatest. Montana is undefeated in his four Super Bowl appearances, completing 83 of his 122 passes for 1,142 yards, 11 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His 127.8 passer rating is a Super Bowl record, and Montana was also the first to win three Super Bowl MVPs. 

Coach Bill Walsh

49ers career: 1979-88
49ers résumé:

  • 3x Super Bowl champion (XVI, XIX, XXIII) 
  • 2x NFL Coach of the Year (1981, 1984)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (1993)

While Joe Montana was the first figure propped up as one of the 49ers' greats, Bill Walsh was the architect of this dynasty. On top of serving as San Francisco's head coach, Walsh was also the GM. He drafted Montana in the third round out of Notre Dame and also selected fellow greats like Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, and Charles Haley, along with trading for Steve Young. 

During his decade-long tenure as the 49ers head coach, Walsh popularized the West Coast offense and was able to help the Niners win their first three Super Bowl titles, beginning with their win over Cincinnati in Super Bowl XVI. 

Walsh owns a 92-59-1 record as a head coach, giving him a .609 winning percentage and is considered one of the greatest head coaches of all-time.

Illustration by Mike Meredith

WR Jerry Rice

49ers career: 1985-2000
49ers résumé:

  • 3x Super Bowl champion (XXIII, XXIV, XXIX)
  • Super Bowl MVP (XXIII) 
  • 12x Pro Bowl (1986-1996, 1998) 
  • 10x first-team All-Pro (1986-1990, 1992-1996)
  • 2x Offensive Player of the Year (1987, 1993) 
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • First-team NFL 1980s All-Decade Team 
  • First-team NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
  • San Francisco 49ers No. 80 retired
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (2010)

The greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL and arguably the greatest player to ever step on a football field, Jerry Rice currently owns the NFL record for career receptions (1,549), career receiving yards (22,895), career receiving touchdowns (208) and career all-purpose yards (23,546). Rice led the league in receiving six times, led the league in receptions twice, and had more receiving touchdowns than anyone in the league six times. 

He was a dominant force within the 49ers offense, helping the franchise win three Super Bowl titles. In the postseason, Rice added 124 more receptions to go along with 1,811 receiving yards and 19 receiving touchdowns. Rice was able to earn MVP honors in Super Bowl XXIV after recording seven catches for 148 yards and a Super Bowl-record three receiving touchdowns. He was arguably even more impressive in Super Bowl XXIX against the Chargers, catching 10 balls for 149 yards and three touchdowns despite playing with a separated shoulder and while dealing with the flu. Bonkers. 

One almost underrated piece to Rice's game was his durability. He only missed 17 regular-season games, 14 of which came during the 1997 season, while the other three came during a strike-shortened season in 1987.  

DB Ronnie Lott 

49ers career: 1981-90
49ers résumé:

  • 4x Super Bowl champion (XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV)
  • 9x Pro Bowl (1981-1984, 1986-1990) 
  • 7x first-team All-Pro (1981, 1983, 1986-1990) 
  • NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • First-team NFL 1980s All-Decade Team 
  • San Francisco 49ers No. 42 retired
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (2000)

Ronnie Lott was not only aboard for all four of the 49ers' Super Bowl titles during the 1980s, he was a key piece to its defense, being named the starting corner on his first day of training camp in 1981. He is considered to be one of the greatest defensive backs to ever play in the NFL and showed as much during his rookie season, taking three of his interceptions to the end zone for a touchdown. 

He totaled 51 interceptions during his decade-long run with San Francisco to go along with 721 tackles, 5.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, and five touchdowns. Those 51 interceptions are the most in team history, as are his five pick-sixes. Lott was also looked at as one of the best open-field tacklers in league history and currently ranks second all-time on the 49ers' all-time tackle list, only to be outdone by linebacker Patrick Willis. In the playoffs, Lott added eight more interceptions to his name and took two of them to the house for a touchdown. The 1986 campaign was arguably the best in his NFL career. He had moved to the free safety position by that point and in 14 games played totaled a career-best 10 interceptions to go along with 77 tackles, three forced fumbles and two sacks. 

Calling Lott a dominant force would be an understatement.  

WR Dwight Clark 

49ers receiver: 1979-87
49ers résumé:

  • 2x Super Bowl champion (XVI, XIX) 
  • 2x Pro Bowl (1981, 1982) 
  • All-Pro (1982) 
  • San Francisco 49ers No. 87 retired 

Full disclosure: Dwight Clark just barely cracked the list. As Branch noted to me in our discussion, the likes of Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, and even Terrell Owens were arguably better players during their time with the 49ers than Clark. I even asked CBS Sports Senior NFL analyst Pete Prisco about this list and he noted that Jimmy Johnson should be in over Clark. While there are certainly more talented players that have played for the 49ers than Clark, I decided to keep him in this group of five because, as Branch and I noted, he simply has a special place in the history of the franchise. That has to be worth something, right? 

Clark played his entire NFL career with the 49ers and eventually jumped into the front office beginning in 1990, rising to Vice President and Director of Football Operations in 1995 and holding that post through the 1998 season. 

He, of course, has "The Catch" forever etched in his résumé, which may be the most famous play in NFL history. During the 1981 NFC Championship against the Cowboys, Clark was able to connect with Joe Montana, catching the game-tying touchdown in the back of the end zone, which set up the game-winning extra point to send the 49ers to Super Bowl XVI. Clark caught eight passes in that game for 120 yards and two touchdowns. 

Clark currently is third all-time on the 49ers receiving yard list (6,750), fourth all-time in franchise history in receptions (506), and has the sixth-most receiving touchdowns (48) by a Niner.  

Honorable mention

  • CB Jimmy Johnson 
  • QB Steve Young
  • RB Frank Gore 
  • WR Terrell Owens