STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $26.98
RUNNING TIME: 353 minutes
Disc 1:
• The Complete History
• Quarterbacking by Bill Walsh: Lessons from the Master
• Charles Haley: One of the Greatest Pass Rushers of All Time
• Joe Montana: Profile of a Legend
• Jeff Garcia: His Long Journey from Niners Fan to Starting Quarterback
• Roy Foster: The Story Behind the Famous Soundbite
• Terrell Owens: TO Makes Pass Catching an Art Form
• Leo Nomellini: Profile of 49ers Great "Leo the Lion"
• Hardy Brown: A Look at One of the Hardest Hitters of All Time
Disc 2:
• NFL’s Greatest Games: 1981 NFC Championship Game
• Michael Zagaris: An Inside Look at Camelot
• Super Bowl XVI Recap: Niners’ First Super Bowl Title
• Super Bowl XIX Recap: Montana Tops Marino in Offensive Classic
• Super Bowl XXIII Recap: Inside the Ultimate Super Bowl Comeback
• Super Bowl XXIV Recap: 49ers Smash Broncos
• Super Bowl XXIX Recap: Steve Young’s Finest Hour
• Kezar Stadium: A Look at the 49ers’ Longtime Home

The Pitch

49ers baby! Woo-hoo! Yeah, Niners! 5, count ‘em 5 Super Bowls, bitches! The Catch! Suck on that, Cowboys fans! Montana’s the best ever! Rice is the best ever! West Coast offense, baby! Woo, Niners!

"Okay Joe, I just got a call from the network. They want you to try to make it at least look like the other team has a chance…"

The Humans

Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, Ed DeBartolo, Carmen Policy, Terrell Owens, etc.

The Nutshell

Yet another NFL Films presentation of the history of one of the most celebrated teams in pro football. This set covers everything from the team’s beginnings through "The Catch", the Super Bowl dynasty of the ‘80s and the Montana-Rice era, the battles with the Cowboys of the ‘90s, the Steve Young Super Bowl, the emergence of Terrell Owens and mid-90s battles with the Packers, and the team’s subsequent decline in recent years since the salary cap. NFL Films again mixes the high drama of the big games with the struggles of the not so big ones, covering the careers of the players for the 49ers who made the team a perennial winner.

"No really, Joe, I don’t think this play will put you in more danger of being injured at all.
No sirree, Bob…"

The Lowdown

For the umpteenth time, I get to tout the fact that NFL Films puts out the best sports archive DVDs going today. They have a knack for making even the most mundane of events interesting, and making the most interesting events even more spectacular. This time the focus is on the history of the 49ers, from their early days through the most recent seasons. And there’s a lot to cover, but any sports fan knows that the halcyon days of the Niners were during the Montana era (1979 – 1990), where the team rattled off four Super Bowl victories and Montana collected three Super Bowl MVP awards.

"So as you can plainly see here, Paris Hilton is a ho."

The main story of this two disc set is that history, which lasts about 105 minutes. Then there are various features including Quarterbacking by Bill Walsh (43 minutes), in which Walsh runs a quarterback clinic with his best student, Joe Montana. And he and Joe even reenact "The Catch". Then there’s an interview by NFL Films host / president Steve Sabol with Charles Haley (seven minutes), a spotlight on Montana (seven minutes), another interview by Sabol with Jeff Garcia (10 minutes), and spotlights on Roy Foster (four minutes), old timers Leo Nomellini (three minutes) and Hardy Brown (six minutes), and finally a truly bizarre feature with Sabol and Terrell Owens, where they have an artist sculpt TO’s already sculpted physique into a clay bust.

"So Dwight, that was a hell of a catch you made back there. What are we name it?"
"How about something simple like ‘The Catch’?"
"Nah, I was thinking about something flashy…like Steve…"

Disc 2 has a 67-minute feature on the 1981 49ers-Cowboys NFC Championship Game that was sealed by "The Catch". Then it has more spotlights of key Niners personnel including official photographer Michael Zagaris (20 minutes). Also featured are the five Super Bowl victories: XVI (20 minutes), XIX (four minutes), XXIII (six minutes), XXIV (seven minutes) and XXIX (10 minutes). A five-minute profile on the Niners’ old joint, Kezar Stadium rounds out the special features. If you’re a 49ers fan, young or old, there’s plenty of good stuff here for you.

The Package

The video ranges from modern technology to the old black and white footage from the early days of the Niners. The packaging is a gold case with an inset and looks pretty good. The audio is fine also. I’m waiting on the TO Bodybuilder’s Edition that’ll come with a life-size replica of the bust they sculpted for him in the interview. Retail price: $29,999.98, not including freight.

A shot from TO’s Groupie Cam.

7.2 out of 10