San Fran 49er Fan – Iowa Connections   

If you watched last weekend’s NFL Divisional playoffs, you probably saw some Iowans in action! Did you know that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, “Mr. Irrelevant”,  was a very successful quarterback at Iowa State University? He seems pretty relevant now!

Were you aware that 49ers tight end George Kittle was born in Ames and was a University of Iowa Hawkeye where he met his Dubuque-born wife, Claire Till – Hawkeye Women’s Basketball standout? 

Best of all, do you remember football legend Roger Craig, #33 of the San Fran teams of 1983-1990, was from Davenport?  Well, these images from Davenport High School’s yearbook the Blackhawk from 1977-1979 are proof positive that Roger Craig’s high-stepping style started right here in Sofa City!

According to a Quad-City Times article from January 23, 1985, Craig’s first football team was the Creighton Vanguards in the Davenport Midget Football League. He wore number 55, an unusual number for the running back. Evidently, the 10-year-old wasn’t allowed to be a running back because kids over 95 pounds weren’t allowed in the backfield. He was placed at the end instead! In this grainy newspaper picture, he is third from the left in the front row.

Quad-City Times (Davenport, IA), Jan. 23, 1985, page 11.

As he matured, Craig became an all-around athlete participating in track, wrestling, and football. He became a school and state record holder in a number of categories.

He was a member of D’s Club, too – a service club for CHS lettermen.

Blackhawk Yearbook, Davenport High School, 1979.

Roger Craig graduated from Central in 1979 and chose to attend the University of Nebraska, earning an opportunity to play in the Orange Bowl.

With the San Francisco 49ers, he was a three-time Super Bowl champion and is a 49ers Hall of Fame member. Later he played for the LA Raiders and Minnesota Vikings prior to retirement.

Davenport Central inducted him into their Hall of Honor in 1989 and he became a member of the QC Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. 

According to an article entitled, “Roger Craig: Where is 49ers Super Bowl champion RB now?” published by BVM Sports, Mr. Craig continues to be athletically active, running in marathons. The article also states he is affiliated with “TIBCO Software”, a firm focusing on big data and software integrations as well as “Sports Thread”, a social media-based network connecting student-athletes with teammates, coaches, parents, and fans.

Sports announcers said Mr. Craig attended last weekend’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Wouldn’t it be amazing if he could join a viewing party at one of the Davenport Public libraries if the San Francisco 49ers go all the way to the Super Bowl? Aww, who am I kidding? I bet he’ll have a front-row seat in Arizona to watch Brock Purdy and George Kittle. But we will always have the yearbooks to enjoy our Iowa hometown sports hero and imagine that someday Roger Craig high-steps into Special Collections to do some research! It’s a great time to be a San Fran 49er Fan!!! Go Hawks!!!!!

Blackhawk Yearbook, Davenport High School, 1979.

(posted by Karen)

Kluge, Cody. “Roger Craig: Where is 49ers Super Bowl champion RB now?.” BVM Sports. BVM Sports – Best Version Media, LLC., Sept. 1, 2022. Jan. 28, 2023.

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