San Francisco 49ers is a football club representing the National Football Conference since 1946 and is part of the NFC West division. This is the first professional team in San Francisco and the US West Coast. It was created by Anthony J. (Tony) Morabito, a lumber transport businessman.
He tried to acquire the NFL franchise as early as 1941, but Commissioner Elmer Layden rejected his application. After unsuccessful attempts to join the existing league, Morabito met with Arch Ward, the Chicago Tribune’s sports editor. Ward was about to form an All-America Football Conference to compete with the NFL. On June 6, 1944, Morabito bought the AAFC franchise for $ 25,000.
The newly-created team debuted on August 31, 1946. Legally, it was registered under San Francisco Forty-Niners’ name, but a shorter version has taken root, San Francisco 49ers. Co-owner Allan Sorrell proposed the current name. It is dedicated to the forty-niners gold diggers, who set off west in 1849. It was the time of the Gold Rush when people discovered precious metal in the Sierra Nevada River and surged into Northern California.
In 1950, after the collapse of the AAFC club was transferred to the NFL. Vic and Tony Morabito remained co-owners. In 1957, Anthony died of a heart attack right during the match. His shareholding went to the widow of Josephine V. Morabito. May 10, 1964, died Victor Morabito. The owners were James Ginella, Louis G. Spadina, Frankie Albert, Franklin Mieuli, Albert J. Ruffo, William O’Grady, Lawrence J. Purcell, O.H. Heintzelman, Jane Morabito, Josephine V. Morabito Fox.
On March 31, 1977, Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. bought the franchise. In 1998, he was suspended for a year due to a corruption scandal. Management was temporarily transferred to sister Denise DeBartolo York and her husband, John York. In 2000, lawsuits forced the owner to transfer to full control over the block of shares.
Meaning and History
The San Francisco 49ers team used four graphic characters. The first version was proposed by Allen Sorrel, who, together with Anthony J. Morabito, acquired the AAFC franchise. He saw a photo of a drunken gold digger with pistols on the side of a railway freight train and decided that this was the best way to convey the forty-niner’s concept. All other emblems contain the abbreviation “SF” and overlap in design.
1946 – 1967
The debut logo depicts the lawlessness of San Francisco during the Gold Rush of 1849. The central figure is a mustachioed gold digger, dressed in boots with high shafts, plaid pants, and a redshirt. He is standing on his left foot at an angle, and a wide-brimmed hat flies off him. In each hand – a pistol. A man holds one trunk over his head, and from the second shoots himself under his feet. Below, white smoke from a shot is swirling.
1968 – 1995
The new logo represents the 49ers as a club from San Francisco. It has the shape of an oval ellipse, which is associated with the ball for playing football. Inside the geometric figure is the monogram “SF” – an abbreviation for “San Francisco.” “S” overlaps the “F” in the upper left corner and divides into three parts. Both letters are white with a black outline, at the ends – long serifs. The symbol is painted in dark red color and circled by a closed black stripe.
1996 – 2008
In 1996, the team slightly changed the logo. The oval acquired an elongated shape and began to resemble a soccer ball even more. The scattered segments of the letter “F” are connected – now, the “S” is overlaid. The dark outer border on the sides of the ellipse expanded. Inside, a metallic gold color outline appeared – a hint of the Gold Rush and a connection with the name Forty-Niners.
2009 – present
In the latest version of the logo, the design remains the same. Franchise owners have changed only the basic shades. Dark red became scarlet, dull-white became distinctly bright, and black and golden became saturated.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The iconic San Francisco 49ers logo reflects the team’s connection to its hometown. At the same time, it is dedicated to the football theme because it is shaped like a ball. In the center are the first letters of the name San Francisco – the capital S and F. They are intricately connected in the center of the emblem: “S” overlaps with “F,” overlapping it in the upper left corner and dividing into three fragments. The monogram is inside the oval representing the American football ball.
A similar sign has been used since 1968. Before that, the club had a completely different logo, which is more suitable for San Francisco 49ers. An armed gold digger’s image conveyed the mood of the 1949s when the gold rush captured America. Against its background, the modern emblem seems too far from the historical context and the team’s semantic concept.
To make the monogram memorable, the designers created their font for it. Moreover, the letters are not written but drawn by hand. The typeface belongs to the antiquity group: “S” and “F” are decorated with wide long serifs at the ends.
The monogram is white but has a black outline. The main part of the oval is bright red, almost scarlet. The makeshift ball’s frame contains two colors: gold (the only hint of gold rush) and black.