The 1981 San Francisco 49ers season was their 32nd season in the National Football League. Under third-year head coach Bill Walsh, the team finished the regular season with a 13–3 record.The season would be one of the franchise's most successful seasons to that point.
The 49ers won Super Bowl XVI by defeating the AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals. It was the first of five Super Bowl victories in franchise history, all within the next 13 seasons.
Quarterback Joe Montana began the 1981 season as San Francisco's starting quarterback. Montana produced two fourth-quarter comeback victories. Montana's signature game of the season was the NFC Championship Game, which culminated in "The Catch," a last-minute touchdown pass from Montana to Dwight Clark, propelling the 49ers to victory over Dallas, and a berth in their first Super Bowl.