75 for 75: The George Jacket

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"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting legendary moments in 49ers history as part of the team's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.

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1988 postseason

After the 49ers dramatic last-minute victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII, the 49ers were invited to Washington D.C. for a White House reception with President George Bush.

Club management realized that White House protocol suggested the team present the Commander in Chief with a gift commemorating the event. To do so, they prepared a specially designed red and gold 49ers jacket for President Bush emblazoned with the name "George" and "World Champions."

Prior to the gala, the 49ers public relations team left the jacket in George Seifert's hotel room for safekeeping. After a day enjoying Washington D.C.'s historical sights, Seifert returned to his room, spotted the jacket and thought an admirer had kindly left him a gift. He tried it on, enjoyed the fit and proudly wore it around the hotel.

After listening to numerous players and coaches compliment Seifert on his attire, public relations director Jerry Walker coughed up the courage to tell the coach the jacket was a gift for the President of the United States.

Seifert replied with a stoic straight face, "It's got my name on it!"

The 49ers dry-witted coach probably was joking, but Walker took the hint. He quickly found an autographed 49ers football, which was presented to Bush instead. Seifert kept "the George jacket."

As a native San Franciscan, 49ers football ran through Seifert's veins. He grew up in the Mission District, played sandlot football at Douglas Park and attended Poly High School across the street from Kezar Stadium. As a teenager, he hawked peanuts and programs at 49ers games.

In 1980, Seifert's love for the 49ers came full circle. He joined head coach Bill Walsh's staff as San Francisco's defensive backs coach and three years later was appointed defensive coordinator. In 1989, Seifert was named the 49ers head coach and directed the club to two Super Bowl titles.

Seifert is now a member of the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame.

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