It is ironic that San Francisco and Santa Clara are involved in a tug of war over the 49ers, and over Bay Area football dominance. I was looking through my old 49er programs from the AAFC and early days of the NFL and I came across one that I didn't remember. It was because this game was played almost four (4) years before I was born. My dad had attended that game.
The year was 1938. Santa Clara was a major college football power, two-time Sugar Bowl champions in 1936 and 1937, and had just seen a string of sixteen (16) straight wins end when they were upset the week before by St. Marys. The game ended in a 7-0 Bronco victory.
Over the next few years, Santa Clara continued to dominate Bay Area football and in 1941 they were called the “Notre Dame of the West”. However, by the end of 1942, Santa Clara was forced to disband football due to World War II. Santa Clara Head Coach Buck Shaw, and assistance coaches Phil Bengston and Al Ruffo would therefore be available at the end of 1945, to sign with the newly formed San Francisco 49ers of the All-American Football Conference for the premier season of the league in 1946. Santa Clara resumed football the same year without their former coaching staff.
Now, some 64 years later, Santa Clara and San Francisco continue to be embroiled in the race for Bay Area football superiority, this time over a stadium. San Francisco took their coaches, now they want the 49ers. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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