Super Bowl XIX was an American football game played on January 20, 1985 at Stanford Stadium, on the campus of Stanford University in Stanford, California, to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion following the 1984 regular season. The National Football Conference (NFC) champion San Francisco 49ers (18-1) defeated the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins (16-3), 38–16, to win their second Super Bowl.
The game had been hyped as the battle between two great quarterbacks, Miami's Dan Marino and San Francisco's Joe Montana - and indeed this was the first Super Bowl ever in which the starting quarterbacks of each team both threw for over 300 yards. In addition, the two teams combined total of 851 offensive yards was a Super Bowl record (later broken in SBXXII & SBXXXVIII). But the 49ers would end up taking the game in dominating fashion. It would be Marino's only trip to the Super Bowl during his 17 year career.
Montana, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, completed 29 of 35 passes for a Super Bowl record 331 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 5 rushes for 59 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. His 59 rushing yards were the most rushing yards ever gained by a quarterback in the Super Bowl at that time.
This Super Bowl was unique in that it fell on the same day that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for a second term as President of the United States. Because January 20 fell on a Sunday, Reagan was sworn in privately and the public ceremony took place the following day.
It was one of the most watched games in history with an estimated 115.9 million viewers. This game also was the first time television commercials ran for a million dollars a minute.
Although they did not get that much media attention as the offense, the 49ers defense led the league in fewest points allowed during the regular season (227). All 4 of the 49ers' starting defensive backs, Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Carlton Williamson, and Dwight Hicks, were selected to play in the Pro Bowl. Pro Bowl linebacker Keena Turner was also a major defensive weapon, recording 2 sacks and 4 interceptions for 51 yards. Defensive end Dwaine Board anchored the line, recording 10 sacks and 1 fumble recovery.
Thus going into Super Bowl XIX, many sports writers predicted that it would be the first of many Super Bowls that Marino would play in during his career. Marino had a unique ability to read the defenses quickly before setting up to throw and his skill of quickly releasing the ball made it very difficult for defenders to sack him. In addition, he had protection given to him by an offensive line led by all-pro center Dwight Stephenson and Pro Bowl guard Ed Newman. Because of these factors, Marino had only been sacked 13 times in the regular season and not once in the playoffs.
The Dolphins had a number of offensive threats for Marino to use. Wide receivers Mark Clayton (73 receptions, 1,389 yards, 18 touchdowns) and Mark Duper (71 receptions, 1,306 yards, 8 touchdowns) became the first teammates ever to each gain over 1,300 receiving yards in one season. Receiver Nat Moore caught 43 passes for 574 yards and 6 touchdowns, while tight end Dan Johnson contributed 34 receptions for 426 yards. While Miami's main offensive attack was passing, they still had a trio of great running backs: Tony Nathan, Woody Bennett, and Joe Carter. Both Nathan and Bennett finished the season with over 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards, while Carter contributed 495 rushing yards.
However, the Dolphins defense was a little suspect. They tied the Oilers and the Minnesota Vikings for the most rushing yards allowed during the regular season (4.7 yards per attempt), and ranked just 19th in fewest yards allowed (5,759). The main bright spots on the defense were defensive back brothers Lyle and Glenn Blackwood, along with Pro Bowl linebacker A.J. Duhe, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Bob Baumhower, and defensive end Doug Betters. Glenn Blackwood had picked off 6 passes during the season and returned them for 169 yards, while Betters recorded 14 sacks and a fumble recovery. Linebacker Charles Bowser was also a big contributor, recording 9 sacks and one fumble recovery
Despite their defensive flaws, the Dolphins' powerful offense led the NFL in scoring (513 points) and total yards gained (7,064), and helped the team reach an AFC best 14-2 regular season record.
Meanwhile, the 49ers' underrated defense allowed the team to blitz through the playoffs. Although Montana threw a combined total of 5 interceptions in their 2 games, they only gave up a combined total of 10 points and zero touchdowns in their victories over the New York Giants, 21-10, and the Chicago Bears, 23-0.
The combined records for the two teams coming into the game were and still are the best in Super Bowl history. The 49ers were 17-1 and the Dolphins 16-2 including their playoff games.
In honor of Inauguration Day, Reagan, himself a California native and former Governor of the state from 1967-75, became the first president to participate in a Super Bowl coin toss ceremony, and is currently the only sitting president ever to do so. However, he did it from the White House via satellite. Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Hugh McElhenny was on the field during the ceremony.
Clips from this game can be seen in the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective as the character Ray Finkle is in reality Dolphins kicker Uwe von Schamann. Von Schamann made three field goals and an extra point in this game, but Finkle missed the game-winning field goal in a fictional Super Bowl XIX. Also, in the Sliders episode "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome", Quinn recognized he was not home on his Earth due to a newspaper headline that showed the 49ers had beaten the New York Jets in Super Bowl XIX.
The Dolphins' 3-0 lead did not last long as the 49ers stormed down the field on their next possession. Driving the ball 78 yards in 8 plays, San Francisco scored on a 33-yard pass from Montana to running back Carl Monroe to give them a 7-3 lead. But Miami retook the lead on their ensuing drive, with Marino completing 5 consecutive passes. After a 5-yard rush by Nathan, the Dolphins went into a no-huddle offense, preventing the 49ers from making substitutions and keeping their run defense on the field. Marino then went downfield, hitting Clayton for 18 yards, Mark Duper for 11, and then Clayton again for 13. After that, Marino finished the drive with a pair of completions to tight end Dan Johnson: the first was for 21 yards, and the second was a 2-yard touchdown pass to give the Dolphins a 10-7 lead with 45 second left in the first quarter.
Miami then had to punt again on their ensuing possession, and San Francisco receiver Dana McLemore returned the ball 28 yards to the 49ers' 45-yard line. After advancing 15 yards with 2 running plays, Montana completed a pair of passes to tight end Russ Francis to move the ball 29 yards to the Miami 11-yard line. Craig ran for 5 yards on the next play, and then Montana ran the final 6 yards to the end zone for a touchdown, making the score 21-10. After the ensuing kickoff, Miami again was forced to punt after 3 plays, and McLemore returned Reggie Roby's 39-yard punt 10 yards to the 49ers' 48-yard line. Montana was sacked for a 5-yard loss by Doug Betters on the first play of the ensuing drive, but he struck back with a 20-yard completion to Craig and a 7-yard run over the next two plays. On the next play, wide receiver Freddie Solomon caught a pass from Montana, took one step, and then lost the ball due to a hit from safety Lyle Blackwood. Blackwood quickly recovered the ball and took off for the 49ers end zone, but field judge Bob Lewis blew the play dead, ruing that Solomon's fumble was an incomplete pass. Bill Quinby, the side judge, who was nearest to the play, did not make any call. Five plays later, Craig finished the nine play, 52-yard drive with his second touchdown on a 2-yard run, increasing the 49ers lead to 28-10.
With about two minutes left in the half, the Dolphins finally managed to get a good drive going on their next possession. Marino completed 7 out of 9 passes, the last one being a 30-yard pass to tight end Joe Rose, to reach the 49ers 12-yard line. But San Francisco's defense tightened up on the next 3 plays, forcing 2 incompletions and a completed pass for no gain, and Miami was forced to settle for Von Schamann's second field goal of the game to cut their deficit to 28-13 with 12 seconds left in the half. Then Miami caught a break as the 49ers botched the ensuing kickoff. San Francisco lineman Guy McIntyre received Van Schamann's short kick and was about to down the ball, but then changed his mind at the last second and decided to return it. This turned out to be a big mistake. McIntyre lost a fumble while being leveled by rookie Joe Carter, and Jim Jensen recovered the ball for Miami at the 49ers 12-yard line. After that, Von Schamann kicked his third field goal on the last play of the half, cutting the score to 28-16. "I can laugh about the play now, but it wasn't funny at the time," McIntyre said after the game. "My first instinct when I got the ball was to fall down. Then I heard everyone yelling, 'Get up! Get up!' So I got up, and here comes someone sneaking underneath me, and he hit the ball."
The 49ers' 288 offensive yards in the first half also tied the Raiders in Super Bowl XI for the most offensive yards in a half during a Super Bowl.
Marino finished the game with 29 out of 50 pass completions for 318 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Clayton was the top receiver of the game, with 6 receptions for 92 yards. Walker returned 4 kickoffs for 93 yards and gained 15 yards on 2 punt returns. Nathan was the Dolphins leading rusher with 18 yards, while also catching 10 passes for 83 yards. Craig had 58 rushing yards, 77 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns. He was the first player ever to score 3 touchdowns in a Super Bowl, and his 2 touchdown catches also tied a Super Bowl record. Tyler led San Francisco in rushing with 65 yards, and also caught 4 passes for 70 yards. Clark caught 6 passes for 77 yards. Board recorded 2 sacks. McLemore recorded 51 punt return yards, the second most in Super Bowl history.
|Freddie Solomon||WR||Mark Clayton|
|Bubba Paris||LT||Jon Giesler|
|John Ayers||LG||Roy Foster|
|Fred Quillan||C||Dwight Stephenson|
|Randy Cross||RG||Ed Newman|
|Keith Fahnhorst||RT||Cleveland Green|
|Russ Francis||TE||Bruce Hardy|
|Dwight Clark||WR||Mark Duper|
|Joe Montana||QB||Dan Marino|
|Roger Craig||FB||Woody Bennett|
|Wendell Tyler||RB||Tony Nathan|
|Lawrence Pillers||LE||Doug Betters|
|Manu Tuiasosopo||NT||Bob Baumhower|
|Dwaine Board||RE||Kim Bokamper|
|Dan Bunz||LOLB||Bob Brudzinski|
|Riki Ellison||LILB||Jay Brophy|
|Jack Reynolds||RILB||Mark Brown|
|Keena Turner||ROLB||Charles Bowser|
|Ronnie Lott||LCB||William Judson|
|Eric Wright||RCB||Don McNeal|
|Carlton Williamson||SS||Glenn Blackwood|
|Dwight Hicks||FS||Lyle Blackwood|