Foster Farms Bowl 2016: Utah and Indiana Stars Contribute to 49ers Legacy
By Joe Hession
49ers Museum Historian
Representatives of the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences will clash at the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl to be held December 28th at Levi’s Stadium.
Utah started its season with an impressive 7-1 mark and was on the verge of slipping past the fourth-ranked Washington Huskies when a late-game punt return thwarted the effort.
The Utes rebounded to post an 8-4 record and are ranked 19th in the final NCAA Championship Rankings.
The Indiana Hoosiers arrive for Wednesday night’s contest with a 6-6 mark, but they narrowly missed out on upset wins against Top-10 football powers Penn State and Michigan.
The Indiana and Utah football programs have provided significant contributions to the San Francisco 49ers championship legacy during the franchise’s 70 years of professional football.
GEORGE SEIFERT – Utah
George Seifert, a member of the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame, was an undersized guard and linebacker at the University of Utah from 1959-1961. Seifert would go on to coach the 49ers to two Super Bowls victories, but his coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Utah under Ray Nagel in 1964. It’s a season that still ranks as one of the best in Utah gridiron history. The Utes went 9-2 that year and clobbered West Virginia 32-6 in the Liberty Bowl.
Salt Lake City’s Westminster College hired Seifert to begin its football program a year later and after compiling a 3-3 record with the Parsons in 1965, Seifert embarked on a nomadic collegiate coaching life. He joined up with Stanford head coach Bill Walsh in 1977 then followed Walsh to the 49ers, first as a defensive backs coach in 1980, and later as defensive coordinator. He was named head coach of the 49ers in 1989 after Walsh’s retirement.
Seifert earned five Super Bowl rings in his hometown of San Francisco, two as head coach and three as an assistant. His 108-35 overall record with the 49ers includes the most wins and best winning percentage in club history.
CARL MONROE – Utah
Running back Carl Monroe ignited the 49ers offense at Super Bowl XIX, hauling in a 33-yard pass from quarterback Joe Montana to score the first touchdown in San Francisco’s 38-16 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Monroe joined the 49ers in 1983 as an undrafted free agent. The 5-foot-8, 170 pounder, from Pittsburgh, PA., attended San Jose’s Overfelt High School and matriculated to the University of Utah. He was selected all-WAC at Utah in 1982 after leading the nation in all-purpose running and kickoff return average as a senior. Monroe also played in the Blue-Gray Game and Senior Bowl.
During his five seasons with San Francisco, from 1983-1987, Monroe proved to be a versatile runner and receiver out of the backfield. He caught 28 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 15 times for 62 yards.
But Monroe was best known as a return man. In 1985 he scampered 95 yards with the opening kickoff to score in a 35-8 blowout win over the Washington Redskins. Monroe registered 1,660 career kickoff return yards and ranks ninth all-time for the 49ers.
ZANE BEADLES – Utah
Zane Beadles made an immediate impact for the 49ers after signing as a free agent prior to the 2016 season. The durable offensive lineman earned a starting spot at left guard in San Francisco, but injuries forced Beadles to appear at both left tackle and center as well. Since finding a home virtually anywhere on the 49ers offense line, Beadles has continued his streak of starting every game for six straight NFL seasons.
“Zane’s done a nice job all year long for us,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said prior to the Week 15 contest with Atlanta. “We’re real happy with getting a veteran like him. He’s seen a lot of things. He’s an emergency center for us. He can play all three positions across the offensive line. ”
The Denver Broncos originally selected Beadles out of the University of Utah in the second round (45th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. The 6-4, 305-pounder was named to The Sporting News All-Rookie team that year. In 2013, Beadles started at left guard for the Broncos at Super Bowl XLVIII and earned a Pro Bowl berth.
A native of Casper, Wyoming, Beadles’ extensive community service earned him a nomination for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2012 and 2015.
ED PINE – Utah
The 49ers selected linebacker Ed Pine out of the University of Utah in the second round (22nd overall) of the 1962 NFL Draft. His roommate at Utah was a guard/linebacker named George Seifert who would go on to coach the 49ers to two Super Bowls victories. In his senior year, Pine was Utah’s co-captain and named an All-America honorable mention. He also got a look at his future home field in San Francisco as a senior when he played in the East-West Shrine game at Kezar Stadium.
Pine, a native of Reno, Nevada, worked his way into the 49ers starting lineup as a rookie at left side linebacker and exhibited a knack for finding the football. He intercepted two passes during his rookie campaign, returning them 16 yards. He also raced 18 yards with a recovered fumble. Pine’s 49ers career stretched from 1962-1964.
ALEX SMITH – Utah
Quarterback Alex Smith was the catalyst behind one of the most memorable plays in 49ers postseason annals. Trailing New Orleans 32-29 in the 2011 NFC Divisional Playoff, Smith found tight end Vernon Davis in the end zone with nine seconds left to give San Francisco a dramatic 36-32 victory over the Saints. Smith’s 14-yard touchdown toss is celebrated in 49ers lore as “The Vernon post.”
San Francisco selected Smith out of Utah in the first round (first overall selection) of the 2005 NFL Draft. The Seattle, Washington native led Utah to a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2005, completing 29 of 37 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns. During his seven seasons in San Francisco, from 2005-2012, Smith threw for 14,280 yards and 81 scores.
RANDY BEISLER – Indiana
Randy Beisler was a versatile lineman with the 49ers from 1969-1974 and a vital part of the offensive line known as “The Protectors” that established an NFL record in 1970 by allowing just eight quarterback sacks.
Beisler teamed with center Forrest Blue, guards Elmer Collett and Woody Peoples, and tackles Len Rohde and Cas Banaszek to form “The Protectors.” Their superb pass protection allowed quarterback John Brodie to earn NFL Player-of-the-Year honors in 1970 after leading the league in passing yardage (2,971) and touchdowns (24).
“We were just good,” said Rohde, a 1960 Utah State graduate. “We were a hard-working bunch of guys who’d been together for a while. I was the vet of that group of linemen but I don’t think that meant anything. It would have been a tough bunch to lead. Everyone was self-motivated.”
The Philadelphia Eagles initially selected Beisler as a defensive end out of Indiana in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1966 NFL Draft. The 6-5, 250-pound Beisler saw action on both sides of the ball, but in San Francisco coach Dick Nolan saw his potential as an offensive lineman after acquiring him prior to the 1969 season in a trade for quarterback George Mira. Beisler earned a starting berth at offensive guard but also filled in at tackle.
JOHN ISENBARGER – Indiana
John Isenbarger was an all-purpose offensive threat for San Francisco from 1970 to 1973. The Muncie, Indiana native saw action at running back, wide receiver and special teams as the 49ers appeared in the playoffs three consecutive years between 1970 and 1972.
Isenbarger’s speed and athleticism made him a prime target for quarterback John Brodie. Early in his rookie season, Isenbarger nabbed a 61-yard scoring pass from Brodie that provided the winning margin against the Denver Broncos.
Isenbarger also played a critical role in a touchdown drive that led to the 49ers 1972 playoff berth. San Francisco needed a win over the Minnesota Vikings on the final day of the regular season to sneak into the playoffs. Trailing Minnesota late in the game, Brodie guided the 49ers 99 yards in three minutes. Isenbarger’s 12-yard reception set up the touchdown and San Francisco went on to beat the Vikings 20-17.
San Francisco selected Isenbarger out of Indiana in the second round (48th overall) of the 1970 NFL Draft. At Indiana, Isenbarger led the Hoosiers in rushing three straight seasons (1967-1969) and earned All-America honors as a senior after gaining 1,217 yards and five touchdowns.
JIM SNIADECKI – Indiana
Jim Sniadecki, a linebacker with San Francisco from 1969 to 1973, played a key role in the 49ers first-ever NFL playoff victory in 1970. He intercepted a Gary Cuozzo pass in frigid conditions at Minnesota’s Metropolitan Stadium to stifle a Vikings attack and help preserve San Francisco’s 17-14 win. Sniadecki also was a prominent member of the 49ers special teams crew known fondly as “The Gizzards.”
“We got that name because we were made up mostly of leftovers,” special teams captain Ed Beard recalled. Sniadecki, a native of South Bend, Indiana, helped instill pride and professionalism to the 49ers punt and kickoff teams.
Sniadecki earned All-Big Ten honors following his junior and senior seasons at Indiana, and was a starter on the Hoosiers’ 1968 Rose Bowl team. He registered 88 tackles and two interceptions as a senior and played in the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl. San Francisco selected Sniadecki in the fourth round (86th overall) of the 1969 NFL draft. During his five seasons with San Francisco, the 49ers won three NFC West championships.
Film highlights and memorabilia from many former Utah and Indiana football stars are on display in the 49ers Museum presented by Sony. Guests can see artifacts from Carl Monroe, Alex Smith and “The Protectors,” view the life-sized 49ers Hall of Fame statues, stroll through a re-creation of Bill Walsh’s 49ers office, or watch interactive highlight videos of every 49ers season.
The 49ers museum will be open from 3:30pm to 5:15pm on Dec. 28 prior to the Foster Farms Bowl.
For more information on Museum tickets, hours and content, visit levisstadium.com/Museum. For group pricing call 415-GO-49ERS. The team’s Twitter handle is @49ersMuseum