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Playoff bonuses, dynasty standing are Super Bowl things to watch for 49ers ties

Tom Brady and Joe Montana are linked by 49ers fans, who still debate their standing against each other. Getty Images

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers are not playing in Super Bowl LII but there are plenty of connections between the teams that are -- the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots -- and the Niners.

Here's a quick guide to the Super Bowl for those looking for Niners ties:

Names to know

New England QB Tom Brady -- Obviously, everyone knows Brady, but he's particularly well-known in the Bay Area because he grew up a huge 49ers fan in nearby San Mateo and played high school football at Junipero Serra High. Brady often has spoken of his love for the Niners and, specifically, of legendary quarterback Joe Montana. At 40, Brady is set to become the oldest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history and is making his record-extending eighth Super Bowl appearance.

New England QB Brian Hoyer -- The backup to Brady, Hoyer joined the Patriots after the Niners traded their second-round pick for Pats quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Halloween. Hoyer was a sort of "throw in" in that deal, but the Niners released him instead of including him in the deal for salary-cap purposes. This is Hoyer's second tour with the Patriots, having begun his career as Brady's backup from 2009-11.

Philadelphia WR Torrey Smith -- Smith was a big-money signing of the Niners in 2015 and spent two disappointing years with the team before he was released after the 2016 season. Smith had 53 catches and seven touchdowns in those two seasons with the 49ers. He signed with Philadelphia as a free agent and made a big touchdown catch in the NFC Championship Game against Minnesota. Smith is listed as a starter in the Eagles' three-receiver base offense alongside Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.

Philadelphia TE Brent Celek -- Celek has never played for the 49ers, but his surname has adorned a San Francisco jersey for the past six seasons. Celek is the brother of 49ers tight end Garrett Celek, one of the Niners' key contributors at the position and the founding father of "Celek Time." Brent Celek is listed as the No. 2 tight end on the Eagles' depth chart behind Zach Ertz.

Numbers to know (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info unless otherwise noted)

The Patriots dynasty vs. the 49ers dynasty -- From the time Brady took over as starting quarterback in 2001 to now, the Patriots have enjoyed the greatest 17-year run in NFL history. In that time, the Patriots have a .766 winning percentage (including playoffs) to go with a 5-2 record in the Super Bowl and 15 first-place finishes in the AFC East.

What franchise is next on that list in terms of 17-year success? Look no further than the 49ers. From 1981 to 1997, the Niners had a winning percentage of .734 along with an impeccable 5-0 Super Bowl record and 13 division titles. New England's stretch from 2000 to 2016 and the Niners' run from 1982 to 1998 also rank in the top five, with only the Raiders (1967-1983) breaking up the San Francisco and New England dominance.

The Patriots, of course, have won five Super Bowls in franchise history, tied with the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys for the second-most ever. A win on Sunday would vault New England into a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in NFL annals.

Brady and Montana by the numbers -- The debate of the NFL's greatest quarterback has raged on for years, with many believing that Brady's fifth title last year finally nudged him ahead of Montana. Of course, the 49ers faithful don't buy into that. Regardless, Brady has done an amazing job of following in the footsteps of his childhood hero.

After leading the Pats past Jacksonville in the AFC championship, Brady had his 11th playoff game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most in the Super Bowl era. Montana is tied for third all time in that category with five, according to Elias. The win was the 27th playoff victory for Brady. Montana remains second in that category with 16. Some other numbers of note as Brady looks to build on his postseason resume:

  • Brady is 27-9 in the playoffs for a .750 winning percentage that is the best in league history. Montana was 16-7 for a .696 winning percentage, fourth all time.

  • Brady's 15 Super Bowl touchdown passes are the most in NFL history, though Montana ranks second with 11 in three fewer appearances.

  • It's not Montana-related but a win against Philadelphia would give Brady his sixth Super Bowl ring and break a tie he currently has with former 49ers defensive end Charles Haley for the most championships for an individual player. Haley won two of those titles with San Francisco and the other three with the Cowboys.

Nick Foles' place in history -- Believe it or not, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles also has elbowed his way into the history books with his run as the Eagles' starter after replacing injured franchise signal-caller Carson Wentz.

Foles completed 75 percent of his passes in back-to-back playoff games. According to Elias, that puts him in esteemed company as only the second quarterback to accomplish that feat while attempting 20 or more passes. The other? Montana, of course.

Foles is the 14th quarterback to start the Super Bowl for his team after not starting the season opener. It's happened three times this decade, with Brady doing it in 2016 and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger doing it in 2010. Those two happened because of early-season suspensions.

The last time it happened in a scenario similar to Foles? That would be former Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2012. Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith, who suffered a concussion in Week 10. Kaepernick started the following week and led the 49ers a few near-miss end zone passes short of a Super Bowl title against Baltimore.

Can Garoppolo and Cassius Marsh cash in? -- Because of New England's playoff success, former Patriots Garoppolo and Marsh already have earned $79,000 each in playoff bonuses. That money comes after each spent at least eight games with the Patriots before finishing the season on a team in the opposite conference.

But there could be plenty more where that came from. If the Patriots beat the Eagles, Garoppolo and Marsh are each due another $112,000. A Patriots' loss to the Eagles still would net another $56,000 for a minimum postseason takeaway of $135,000.