The San Francisco Forty Niners (49ers) are an American football franchise located in the San Francisco Bay Area that plays in the West Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team was founded in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and joined the NFL in 1949 after the two leagues merged. The team will play its home games at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California beginning with the 2014 NFL season, after playing at Candlestick Park in San Francisco from 1971-2013, sharing the stadium with the San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball franchise from 1971-1999.
The 49ers are known for having one of the NFL's greatest dynasties, winning five Super Bowl championships in just 14 years, between 1981 and 1994, with four of those championships in the 1980s. The Super Bowl teams were led by Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, and coach Bill Walsh. With five Super Bowl wins, the 49ers are tied with rivals Dallas Cowboys for the second most Super Bowl wins. The 49ers won the most regular season NFL games in both the 1980s (104) and 1990s (113).
The name "49ers" comes from the name given to the gold prospectors who arrived in Northern California around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The name was suggested to reflect the voyagers who had rushed the West for gold. It is the only name the team has ever had and the team has always been within the San Francisco Bay Area. The team is legally and corporately registered as the San Francisco Forty Niners, Ltd., and is the oldest major professional sports team in California. The 49ers and Los Angeles Rams were cross-state rivals until 1995, when the Rams moved from Southern California to St. Louis, Missouri to become the current St. Louis Rams.