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Roger Craig: Jim Harbaugh will win multiple titles like Bill Walsh

1990 NFC Championship:  New York Giants v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

Roger Craig won three Super Bowls as a 49ers running back in the 1980s, playing for Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh. Now Craig thinks the 49ers are heading for another golden age, with another great coach.

Craig told ESPN.com that San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh is a lot like Walsh, and not just because he went from Stanford to the 49ers.

“He’s my kind of coach,” Craig said of Harbaugh. “He makes you accountable. He’s very similar to Bill Walsh that way. He makes you accountable for what you do on and off the football field, but the main thing is he’s a tough coach and he expects you to be professional.”

Craig said he thinks the current 49ers are poised to win multiple titles, as Craig’s own team did.

“I’m going on the record saying the 49ers win two Super Bowls in the next eight years,” Craig said. “They’ll be the winningest team in the next decade.”

In today’s NFL, it’s almost impossible for any team to have the kind of consistent, long-term success that the 49ers had from Craig’s rookie year in 1983 through 1998, when they won at least 10 games every year and won five Super Bowls. But if any team could go on that kind of run, it might just be the 49ers, who have a talented roster — and in Craig’s opinion, a coach worthy of being compared to the best coach in franchise history.

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76 Responses to “Roger Craig: Jim Harbaugh will win multiple titles like Bill Walsh”
  1. rc33 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:42 PM

    Uh….OK.
    Look, S.F. is one of the best teams in the NFL going into the 2013 season so they’ll almost certainly be in the mix this year.
    Worth mentioning though; they were in the NFC title game in 2011 and the Super Bowl in 2012 and lost ‘em both. Those opportunities that don’t come around all that often. Might wanna have cashed in on one of them because every season is different.

  2. heeeeelzfan says: Jun 10, 2013 2:42 PM

    You start by winning one.

  3. leksington says: Jun 10, 2013 2:43 PM

    John > Jim

    Jim’s teams have been more talented, but John keeps beating him.

  4. flash1283 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:44 PM

    No he wont!

  5. theimmaculatedeception says: Jun 10, 2013 2:44 PM

    Maybe, maybe not. But Harbaugh has shown a few things in his pro football coaching career that lends credence to Craig’s theory:

    -He’s a tireless worker like all the greats
    -He hires coaches that have more experience than him and might even be smarter than him
    -Seems to have the players respect.

    All these tangibles are shared by multiple super bowl-winning coaches.

    As for Craig – I doubt Niner fans will ever forget his late game fumble in the 1990 NFC Championship game. Niners were on their way to be the first-ever team to 3-peat as world champs before he coughed it up to LT…Brutal!

  6. prmpft says: Jun 10, 2013 2:45 PM

    no he won’t – rah rah team – i get it…

  7. jayniner says: Jun 10, 2013 2:48 PM

    The legendary Roger Craig said it, therefore it must be true!

  8. lionsdraftguy says: Jun 10, 2013 2:50 PM

    @hummer53

    No, there isnt.

  9. lionsdraftguy says: Jun 10, 2013 2:52 PM

    Well, lets see. He has won several so far. Biggest Mouth title in consecutive years (2011-2012), won Dirtiest Coach title back in 2011, won the title for having the 2nd Best coach in the Harbaugh Family Title, now hes working on repeating all those this year.

  10. ilovefoolsball says: Jun 10, 2013 2:52 PM

    Oh hey Roger do you know the last time that a Superbowl losing team returned to the Superbowl the following year without the aid of spygate?

    The correct answer is 1998 Roger, we were looking for 1998 and the Buffalo Bills.

  11. blutri10 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:53 PM

    Love the pic!

    “There will be NOOOOOO 3 PEAT!”

  12. buddysguys says: Jun 10, 2013 2:53 PM

    yeah now he just needs a HOF WR (greatest ever) HOF QB (arguably a top 3 all time) couple more offensive threats (dwight clark john taylor roger craig RATHMAN) Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley….and anyone who uses one of the current players and says he is comparable is out of their mind.

  13. allidoiswin55 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:53 PM

    Poor poor delusional retired athlete. MUST have taken too many blows to the head.

    Jim Harbaugh is Nooo bill Walsh, many coaches have approached the league this way. Wearing gold and red doesn’t make him better than any other one.

    Give him credit, he inherited a very good team and made them perform. He has to continue to add talent, he’s been slowly loosing talent. KAEP is his make or break player, if he developes he could be a HOF type coach.

    If not and they start loosing like their recent history says then he’s jobless.. I hope he wins, a good Niner team is good for the league. It’s nice having a real rivalry with them as a Hawks fan. Wish him the best, except against my time..

  14. cylondetector says: Jun 10, 2013 2:56 PM

    Salary cap era makes its incredibly difficult to win multiple titles.

    As great as Bill Wasg undoubtedly was, huge roster turnover wasn’t something he had to contend with.

  15. nbarber2013 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:56 PM

    How can they do that when the hawks are going to own their a$$es for the next few years!

  16. marvin49 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:57 PM

    There is no way to know right now if they’ll be able to sustain this success and get a few more runs at the title…

    …but the haters here make me laugh. Most coaches get 4 or 5 years to make their teams into contenders. Harbaugh did it in year ONE. Did he in herit a talented team? Of course he did, but Trent Baalke has shown that he is a very good personel man and their window for Championships is just opening. The only age on the team they need to worry about is Frank Gore and Justin Smith. The 49ers have no fewer than THREE guys who might be able to take that role (Hunter, James, and Lattimore) when Gore is done. The 49ers drafted Tank Carradine to eventually take over for Justin.

    Nothing is a given…but the Niners are on the right path to sustain success.

  17. packattack1967 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:58 PM

    Sure..as soon as we turn the NFL into the XFL.

  18. marvin49 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:59 PM

    @ilovefoolsball

    …and the last time that team WON after losing? Miami Dolphins, 1972. Those Dolphins were also famous for something else…

  19. throw46 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:59 PM

    Nice that Roger Craig has a cosy relationship with Harbaugh.
    If he didn’t he might know quite a bit more about him.
    Just ask some of the former college player’s or coaches in confidence.

    They will let you know that he’s only in it for one person and one only.
    And let you also know the impact of that on you and what you care about.

  20. billb49 says: Jun 10, 2013 3:02 PM

    Jim Harbaugh’s winning percentage: .766

    Nobody’s better over the last two seasons.

    And, he’s just getting started. Strong roster, potentially elite QB, real good defense, building through the draft, new stadium… Dark days ahead for Niner-haters.

  21. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 10, 2013 3:05 PM

    Hopefully that doesn’t change Hairball from the low key, humble, self effacing, guy he is now.

  22. marvin49 says: Jun 10, 2013 3:06 PM

    @throw46

    Thenonly peeps I’ve ever heard have an issue with him are Doug Baldwin and that total nice guy Richard Sherman.

    yeah…I believe him. Right.

  23. raiderrob21 says: Jun 10, 2013 3:06 PM

    Not if he keeps choosing to pass the ball on the goal line and refusing to run it with a RB like Frank Gore

  24. paastahtroy says: Jun 10, 2013 3:08 PM

    Nah… He’ll win zero like Marriuci.

  25. leanback360 says: Jun 10, 2013 3:13 PM

    Way too many good NFC standing in their way (Seahawks, Packers, Falcons, Giants), don’t get me wrong, I’d be impressed if did win a few Super Bowls over the next few years

  26. hrmlss says: Jun 10, 2013 3:14 PM

    Titles like “Biggest Jerk”?

  27. deathspiralx says: Jun 10, 2013 3:15 PM

    Maybe or maybe not…

    Who would have thought that that the Bills with Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith under Marv Levy would have gone 0-4.

    Minnesota Vikings had great coaching and were littered with hall of fame players under Bud Grant.

    John Madden’s Raiders and Ditka’s bears had great teams with only one Superbowl win.

    Those were the ones off the top of my head.

    Like another poster said, win one first then talk.

  28. makimaguro says: Jun 10, 2013 3:18 PM

    The Niners have had very good talent for 4-6 years now. As with most teams, they are due some bad luck – already started with Crabtree. Not sure that they’ve really had any major injury issues for a while now.

    I agree, he’s no Bill Walsh – but has gotten them to play better than they were. It also helped that Alex Smith actually had the same Offensive Coordinator for 2 years in a row for once.

  29. justintuckrule says: Jun 10, 2013 3:22 PM

    All comes down to whether the read-option gets solved. If not, I agree. They will win at least one if not more b/c of their QB and b/c they have a talented young team all locked up. However, if read-option is this year’s wildcat, I can see the 9ers being a perennial 9 win team with a young struggling QB.

  30. logicailvoicesays says: Jun 10, 2013 3:23 PM

    A running back who had a couple of decent years but who couldn’t carry John Riggins, Joe Washington, Gerald Riggs, Earnest Byner or Tim Smith’s jock says dumb things 20 years after he retired. What a surprise. The Redskins were the dominant team of Craig’s era and they’re now the dominant team of Harbaugh’s era.

  31. possumsauce says: Jun 10, 2013 3:24 PM

    “theimmaculatedeception says: Jun 10, 2013 2:44 PM

    As for Craig – I doubt Niner fans will ever forget his late game fumble in the 1990 NFC Championship game. Niners were on their way to be the first-ever team to 3-peat as world champs before he coughed it up to LT…Brutal!”

    ——

    Uh, no. The 1929-31 AND 1965-67 Packers say hello, guy.

  32. slugdub says: Jun 10, 2013 3:28 PM

    False

  33. allhailkingflacco says: Jun 10, 2013 3:29 PM

    he meant to say John, not Jim

  34. shayeezy says: Jun 10, 2013 3:36 PM

    he’s going to win multiple superbowls because he’s a tireless worker? good one!

  35. kolbydoerge says: Jun 10, 2013 3:40 PM

    Seahawks and the NFL are laughing!
    Good one! Try zero and tragic with all that talent. Dude is a curse. Sorry for the 49er fans but that’s what you have.

  36. ninerfan81 says: Jun 10, 2013 3:41 PM

    Bold predictions, I’d hope so but the first guy on this thread said it best, we’ve had two great opportunities and came up short both time…those losses hurt in real time but as a reasonable man they hurt even more now because I know how hard it is to win in the NFL…we went through a rough patch for 8 years str8 of missing the playoffs, I just don’t take this success for granted and it’d be hard to envision us getting winning 2 chips in 8 years after a 20 year drought.

  37. greetingsfromminnesota says: Jun 10, 2013 3:42 PM

    logicailvoicesays says:
    Jun 10, 2013 3:23 PM
    A running back who had a couple of decent years but who couldn’t carry John Riggins, Joe Washington, Gerald Riggs, Earnest Byner or Tim Smith’s jock says dumb things 20 years after he retired. What a surprise. The Redskins were the dominant team of Craig’s era and they’re now the dominant team of Harbaugh’s era.

    Ummm. If I remember correctly the Niners are considered the team of the 80s (and won 5 superbowls to the redskins 3 between 1980 and 1995)

  38. braceyourselffor12 says: Jun 10, 2013 3:43 PM

    Actions speak louder than words. As a Niner Faithful I only have high expectations for this team in the years to come with the talent and coaching they now have.

    By no means is it a guarantee that we even make it back to the big game or win the next one we are in, but if there is a team poised to be the next perennial contender it is the San Francisco 49ers.

    P.S There is a strong stench coming from all the negative comments: Fear … you haters are rank with it.

    GO NINERS!!!!!

  39. leevi98 says: Jun 10, 2013 3:47 PM

    Not with the Qb the decided to go with…Way overated…He threw the ball away with pass so bad he couldnt even get the interference call on thelast play of the SB…The defense is the star in SF…They ddnt get here because of QB play…thats for darn sure…Everyone will find out this year what a mistake they made going with this guy ad not Alex Smith.

  40. nyninerfan says: Jun 10, 2013 3:52 PM

    What exactly have the Seacawks done under Pete the cheat besides win a meaningless game in December? It’s laughable that the entire Seattle fan base hangs their hats on this game like it was the Super Bowl. Obviously we lost the big one, but the fact remains that we were there while these never beens were watching from home. We all love to talk crap, but for God’s sake, win a meaningful game before you act like you’re the team to beat. Pathetic franchise. Delusional fans. A locker room full of cheaters and drug users. What’s not to be proud of.

  41. sampsonswag01 says: Jun 10, 2013 3:54 PM

    Mmmmmmm that smell of hatin’ sure sounds like fear and jealousy……

  42. phelbin says: Jun 10, 2013 3:54 PM

    nbarber2013 says: Jun 10, 2013 2:56 PM

    How can they do that when the hawks are going to own their a$$es for the next few years!

    - – - – - – - – - –

    These Seahawk fans are hilarious. They have one decent season and beat the Niners once in the last two years, and suddenly they act like they’re the next dynasty. Uh…how about you guys win ONE Super Bowl first.

  43. mrpolarbear99 says: Jun 10, 2013 4:07 PM

    Just look at the all the whining, bitching, sniveling Niner-haters coming out of the woodwork! love it.

  44. 69finfan says: Jun 10, 2013 4:13 PM

    Get back to me regarding multiple titles after he wins 1, ok?

  45. billb49 says: Jun 10, 2013 4:13 PM

    Nothing brings out the hate like Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers! It just makes it all that more enjoyable for Niner fans when they win. Thanks, haters. See you in January. We’ll be the ones still rooting for our team and enjoying the excitement. You’ll be ones complaining through your nachos and beer.

  46. huatulcoman says: Jun 10, 2013 4:22 PM

    Maybe NCF West titles.

  47. chargerdillon says: Jun 10, 2013 4:27 PM

    No no Mr. Craig, you got the wrong brother

    Sorry, it’s the other brother you’re thinking of

  48. 4thqtrsaint says: Jun 10, 2013 4:32 PM

    I think Sean Payton is a better coach. I don’t like the 49ers. But I do respect them. I hate Jim H… But he really could do it. That’s just being real.

  49. pmars64 says: Jun 10, 2013 4:35 PM

    Harbaugh has no one to blame but himself for lost opportunities to win SB titles the past 2 years with terrible play-calling at crunch time. Also, it was a disgrace how unprepared the Niners were to play the SB last year. Sloppy, over-confident, and just not ready. Baltimore were ready for a battle, but the Niners were not. No doubt, they would be more ready next time around, if they get there. In the modern NFL, the difference between contenders and also-rans is more paper-thin than it’s ever been. And, while the Niners may have be among the top 2 or 3 in talent, the most talented teams don’t always win like they used to as we’ve seen repeatedly recently.

    Also, Harbaugh blew it on Harvin this off-season and now has to look for retreads to play WR. They even brought in Devery Henderson for a look. That’s how desperate they are. Ouch.

    Finally, I think Niner fans have to get over the Craig fumble in 90. I’m no Giants fan, but they were better in that game. Go find a copy of the full broadcast and you’ll see it. The Giants out-gained them and out-played them AND with a back-up QB, no less. Also, there’s no guarantee they would have beaten Buffalo who was clearly better than the Giants, but was out-coached but just had bad luck losing that game.

  50. citizenstrange says: Jun 10, 2013 4:38 PM

    Running the read option is like playing Russian roulette with your quarterback. The odds are against them staying healthy all season much less having long careers.

  51. kenstabler says: Jun 10, 2013 4:40 PM

    I really hate the Niners, but they did a great job in building through the draft, and hired a great coach. The sky is the limit for them in the next couple of years. They are one of those teams that are not to old, or to young, so they are poised for it all. But as we all know, anything can happen. Roger has to take his cheerleader skirt off, but it is possible if the chips fall right, and the injury bug does not go any further than Crabtree, then it is possible.

  52. tomboqc says: Jun 10, 2013 4:44 PM

    Absolutely LOVE all the 9er hate!! They don’t hate you if they’re not afraid!!!

  53. deadeye says: Jun 10, 2013 4:53 PM

    George Siefert won more than one Super Bowl as well. How come no one gives him credit for that?

  54. jimiinpa says: Jun 10, 2013 4:56 PM

    easy there Roger… ya might want to let him win his first before you go and anoint him the second comming of Bill

  55. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 10, 2013 5:00 PM

    You say “allegedly punching a woman”. Adam prefers “punching an alleged woman”. Semantics.

  56. dwarftosser says: Jun 10, 2013 5:05 PM

    He’s a great coach with a good team and what looks like a great young QB.. If I were a 49er fan I’d be thinking the same thing as Craig.

  57. Shinnbone says: Jun 10, 2013 5:08 PM

    Better check him for a concussion.

  58. 49erstim says: Jun 10, 2013 5:34 PM

    You can always tell the real football fans from the fake ones. Guys that make a lot of jokes and NEVER post anything serious and have nothing to add are the norm here. I see a Seahawks fan and a Saints fan that agree they hate SF, but don’t doubt their talent level. Good take. I’d say the same about their teams. If either hoisted the Lombardi next February I wouldn’t be completely shocked. Two solid teams. As for SF they have the talent and coaching and I can see multiple titles in their immediate future…..or not….the game is a fickle b!+ch….lol

  59. axespray says: Jun 10, 2013 5:52 PM

    The Packers (a draft and develop team, with great salary cap management and great QB) won a superbowl in 2010 – it looked like Rodgers would (easily) win his second title in the last 2 years… instead, San Fran/Seattle/Denver showed up out of nowhere to become powerhouses.

    The league flips a lot quicker than people realize…
    One minute you’re on top – the next, people don’t even mention your team as much of a contender.

  60. alkaline1968 says: Jun 10, 2013 6:31 PM

    Roger Craig, wasn’t he a pitching coach or something ?

  61. dennisatunity says: Jun 10, 2013 6:37 PM

    For the next 7 or 8 years, the winner of the NFC West has an excellent chance to win it all. Who is that winner going to be? I think it will alternate between San Francisco and Seattle. Seattle has a much younger team (to keep them outstanding for a long time) while the 49ers have a better mix of ages. It’s going to be an exciting next several years.

  62. hopper15 says: Jun 10, 2013 6:43 PM

    He’s right, It’s only a matter of time until Jim does win a SB. Maybe more than one.

  63. bloggingpoodlewalker says: Jun 10, 2013 6:51 PM

    Translation: Im broke, cant get a job anywhere,..please Niners hire me?…please?

  64. transam7816 says: Jun 10, 2013 6:55 PM

    Oh, hello bias.

  65. baymac408 says: Jun 10, 2013 7:11 PM

    Lets do it!! Roger Craig is a real Legend!! Listen up NINERS FOR LIFE

  66. 49erlifer says: Jun 10, 2013 7:37 PM

    So let me get this right we got Lions, Dolphins, Seahawks, Saints and Redskins fans on this thread talking down to a Franchise that has 5 superbowl victories only 1 less then those garbage teams combined! Wash 3 Mia 2 No 1 really the Seahawks and lions fans crack me up cant wait to see what is posted when these perenial losers actually win a championship like 40 years from now.

  67. jimmyjames65 says: Jun 10, 2013 7:41 PM

    Denver a powerhouse? I seem to remember them losing the divisional. The NFC owned the AFC back then. There was a very talented team in a very weak division(49ers). And the NFC East was a very competitive division. Teams like the 49ers, Skins and Cowboys had the money to buy the best players. That’s why the cap came about. To make the NFL as a whole competitive. But with the right coaches and players while managing a cap you get teams like the Patriots. Superbowl is in New Jersey. Better have a damn good QB to play in that weather in January-Feb. Flacco proved he could in Denver and Foxboro.

  68. jimmyjames65 says: Jun 10, 2013 7:46 PM

    Jeff Fischer definitely needed to get out of Tennessee. Having to go against Peyton Manning every season. He’s going to take JimHarbaugh to school this year just like his brother did. I think Jim gets away with too much B.S.

  69. emoney826 says: Jun 10, 2013 8:03 PM

    Don’t mind the seahawk fans, 9er fans. They’re very similar to Viking fans. One decent season and they think they’re the next dynasty. Neither the Hawks or vikings will even make the playoffs this year.

  70. camdenyard says: Jun 10, 2013 8:48 PM

    Maybe you should win ONE before comparing him to some of the greatest of all time?

  71. kublakhaan says: Jun 10, 2013 8:49 PM

    Roger is wrong, and here’s why. Walsh was a neurotic’s neurotic, but kept it from affecting his coaching style. He knew how to keep his players loose and have them ready for the big games. In this way Harbaugh is the anti-Walsh. Both he and his players get tighter the bigger the game. In the last two games of the 49er’s season they came out tight as a drum, played terribly the first half, and only got back into the SB because of the lighting fiasco. Walsh lost playoff games too, but never because his teams came out tight.
    Walsh was a great face of the franchise. Walsh never lost his cool on the sideline. Walsh was great with the press. Harbaugh is a paranoid sourpuss who thinks we should believe everything he is trying to sell us because our job is to scrape, bow, and kiss his ring.

  72. raqaiw says: Jun 10, 2013 9:11 PM

    kublakhaan says:
    Jun 10, 2013 8:49 PM
    Roger is wrong, and here’s why. Walsh was a neurotic’s neurotic, but kept it from affecting his coaching style. He knew how to keep his players loose and have them ready for the big games. In this way Harbaugh is the anti-Walsh. Both he and his players get tighter the bigger the game. In the last two games of the 49er’s season they came out tight as a drum, played terribly the first half, and only got back into the SB because of the lighting fiasco. Walsh lost playoff games too, but never because his teams came out tight.
    Walsh was a great face of the franchise. Walsh never lost his cool on the sideline. Walsh was great with the press. Harbaugh is a paranoid sourpuss who thinks we should believe everything he is trying to sell us because our job is to scrape, bow, and kiss his ring.

  73. packhawk04 says: Jun 10, 2013 11:46 PM

    I dont think its so much of a stretch. The nfl is a complete crapshoot year in and year out. But the niners have the look of a team like the packers, saints, patriots, giants who compete for or make the playoffs every year. Once youre in the playoffs, anything happens. But if hes a head coach or 9,10 years in SF than yeah, he could.

  74. alphabeta49er says: Jun 11, 2013 1:23 AM

    this kind of talk never leads to anything good

  75. jahmic says: Jun 11, 2013 2:26 AM

    Seahawks fan here:

    I actually like the 49ers (just not as much), think they are one of the top teams. I’m just hoping the Seahawks are going to be better. Looking forward to those games.

  76. jimiinpa says: Jun 11, 2013 9:00 AM

    alkaline1968 says:Jun 10, 2013 6:31 PM

    Roger Craig, wasn’t he a pitching coach or something ?
    ———————————————————-no, he’s Jenny’s brother

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