Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Eddie DeBartolo revels in 49ers' success

NEW ORLEANS — Eighteen seasons have passed without the 49ers, a fixture of Super Bowls in the 1980s and '90s, winning the NFC Championship Game. But as the final seconds melted from the clock in San Francisco's 28-24 win over the Falcons two weeks ago in the conference title game, former owner Eddie DeBartolo stood in the middle of the winning locker room and was overcome by a rush of emotion.

A few minutes later, serving as an honorary team captain, DeBartolo presented the George Halas Trophy to his sister, Denise, and his nephew, 49ers CEO Jed York.

It was a reminder that a legacy of winning finally had been passed as well.

"It was just totally emotional," said DeBartolo, who for the second straight year is among the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "I told people it was a totally exhausting, emotional day, and it seemed that 18 years went by like 18 minutes.

"You say to yourself, 'Where in the heck did those years go?' It was very emotional. I was very happy for them, and I was proud to be able to do it."

DeBartolo, 66, was a transcendent owner who won five Super Bowls with the 49ers, including four in nine years. The last Lombardi Trophy hoisted by the 49ers came in January 1995.

In 2000, after his one-year suspension from the NFL for involvement in attempting to acquire a riverboat casino license in Louisiana, DeBartolo decided to turn over operation of the team to Denise as a way to settle his father's estate.

But this week, with DeBartolo's former team playing the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, images of the 49ers' glory days have been seen everywhere in New Orleans along with former players such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Steve Young.

As for his Hall of Fame nomination, "I'm beyond honored," DeBartolo said. "I had never thought during my tenure of ownership, even with the success we had with the Super Bowls, that I would even be considered. I'm totally dumbfounded. I'm just flabbergasted. It's just a great honor, just being mentioned with these people."

DeBartolo still enjoys Montana — not the quarterback, but the state where he owns a vacation home on a sprawling ranch. These days, he lives in Tampa and operates a holdings company and real estate division.

Even with the 49ers' recent success, it's hard to imagine they could ever duplicate the run of 16 consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more from 1981 to 1999 that they achieved under DeBartolo.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee has been slow to embrace contributors. First-time eligible players such as Warren Sapp, Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden and Michael Strahan are strong candidates in today's voting.

That might leave only one spot to split among other players, owners such as DeBartolo and the late Art Modell (Ravens), as well as coach Bill Parcells.

The 46-member selection committee has shown a tendency to reward players first. But if DeBartolo gains entrance into the Hall of Fame, he will have trouble containing his emotions again.

Eddie DeBartolo revels in 49ers' success 02/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 9:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs-Jaguars: Five things to watch Thursday in Jacksonville

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs have their second preseason game here Thursday against the Jaguars, and here are five things to keep an eye on as Tampa Bay moves closer to paring its roster from 90 players to 53 by Sept. 3.

    1. AVOIDING BIG PLAYS ON DEFENSE

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. We knew Aguayo was a goner, and 'Hard Knocks' still delivers

    Bucs

    Tuesday night's second installment of Hard Knocks, the HBO show that is going behind the scenes at training camp with the Bucs, had plenty of interesting tidbits, revelations and insights.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) kicks during training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. For starters: Rays at Jays, looking for some carryover

    Blogs

    The six runs and 13 hits the Rays posted on Tuesday were a positive, but the true test if they are out of their historically bad hitting slump will come tonight and in the coming days as they try to build on their success.

    "Hopefully,'' manager Kevin Cash said after Tuesday's 6-4 win, "there is a …

    Daniel Robertson is expected to make a third straight start tonight, likely at shortstop.
  4. What you might have missed in the second episode of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in …

    As the crowd recognized him and got loud, Jameis Winston jumped up and down in celebration. [GREG AUMAN | Times]
  5. Why Noah Spence could be the Bucs' X-factor

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — Noah Spence crouched in a four-point stance, bending low like a sprinter in starting blocks. At the snap, he took one step to his right, startling Jaguars left tackle Josh Wells with his explosiveness. Wells went for the move and Spence countered with an inside swim move, flying past Wells' right …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence (57) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times