Super Bowl XVI
by Rob Holecko
On this day thirty years ago, the San Francisco 49ers captured their first Super Bowl. It was the beginning of the Niners' 1980s dynasty that would see them win four Super Bowls with Joe Montana at quarterback, as well as a fifth with Steve Young in 1994.
The Niners' return to prominence this season ended Sunday with a loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game, but today we will look back to this game in January 1982 where it all began.
Super Bowl XVI was an American football game played on January 24, 1982, at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) to decide the National Football League champion following the 1981 regular season. It marked the first time that a Super Bowl was held at a cold-weather city. The domed stadium saved the crowd at the game from the very cold and snowy weather, but the weather did affect traffic and other logistical issues related to the game. Icy roads and a windchill well below zero caused the 49ers motorcade to be delayed out on the slippery roads before they finally made it to the Silverdome, although no one was hurt and the team made it there with plenty of time before kickoff.
The National Football Conference NFC champion San Francisco 49ers (16-3) defeated the American Football Conference AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals (14-5), 26-21. Although the Bengals gained 356 yards of total offense to the 49ers' 275, San Francisco forced 5 turnovers and jumped to a 20-0 lead by halftime. This marked the first time in Super Bowl history that the team which compiled the most yards and touchdowns lost.
49ers quarterback Joe Montana was named the Super Bowl MVP, completing 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for 18 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
This game was also the first Super Bowl for the CBS team of Pat Summerall and John Madden. Summerall had already worked eight Super Bowls, including three as the play-by-play voice for CBS (X, XII, XIV), but this was the first Super Bowl for the two of them together. They would go on to do four more with CBS (XXVIII, XXI, XXIV, XXVI) as well as three with FOX (XXXI, XXXIII, XXXVI) while Madden would team up with Al Michaels to do 2 on ABC (XXXVII & XL) and another with NBC (XLIII). Madden debuted the use of the telestrator called the 'CBS Chalkboard' to diagram plays during instant replays in this game.
We are proud to add this game to our collection of head-to-head match-ups in the Gridiron Uniform Database.
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In all the excitement over Sunday's thrilling Conference Championship games, we decided to take yesterday off at the Gridiron Uniform Database blog. It was just as well, as there were no Super Bowls ever played on January 23, however there was one memorable NFC Championship game that we'd like to "flash-back" to.
On January 23, 2000, twelve years ago, the Greatest Show on Turf almost met their match, as the high-flying offense led by Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk were trailing the defensively-minded Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-5 late in the game. Would a great defense hold off a great offense and make it to Super Bowl XXXIV? Well they almost did, but Warner hit Ricky Proehl with a 30-yard touchdown pass with 4:44 left and the Rams were on their way to the Super Bowl in Atlanta and the record books.
We are happy to add this game to our database as well.
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Congratulations to the Giants and the Patriots for making it to Super Bowl XLVI, and we'll be back tomorrow with a special guest entry as we look back at the Giants' first Super Bowl Championship twenty-five years ago.