It might not have carried the impact of the 10 regular-season games in which the Bay Area rivals have met, but San Francisco's "victory" over the Oakland Raiders on Friday, in a coin toss to determine the sixth and seventh overall choices in the draft, still felt pretty important to 49ers officials.
"It gives us a better spot to find more quality football players," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said.
By virtue of identical 4-12 records and the same opponents' winning percentage (.539), the Raiders and 49ers tied for sixth and seventh in draft order. The tie was broken Friday with the coin flip, as San Francisco vice president of player personnel Scot McCloughan won with a call of "tails."
The flip officially sets the order of selection in the first round, as the 49ers will choose in the sixth slot and the Raiders in the seventh position. The other 30 slots in the first round had already been determined.
Beyond setting the first-round order, winning the coin toss also provides San Francisco an advantage in some early-round subsequent rounds as well. In a rotation with the four other franchises that posted 4-12 records in 2005, the 49ers will own the fifth pick in the second round, the fourth choice in the third round, and the third pick in the fourth round. San Francisco will select seventh in Round 5, sixth in the sixth round and fifth in the final round, barring trades.
While the 49ers benefit by just one spot in the first round, that margin could be significant, given the way the picks might come off the board.
"It puts us one slot ahead of where we might have been and we can take a player we have our eye on," McCloughan said.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.