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Super Bowl XIX

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.

Background

NFL owners voted to award Super Bowl XIX to Stanford University Stadium in Stanford, California on December 14, 1982. It became the fourth primarily college stadium to host a Super Bowl, following Tulane Stadium (1970, 1972, and 1975), Rice Stadium (1974) and the Rose Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers advanced to their second Super Bowl in team history after becoming the first team ever to win 15 regular season games since the league expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978. Much of the hype surrounding the team was their offense, which boasted 5 Pro Bowlers. Quarterback Joe Montana recorded 279 out of 432 completions for 3,630 yards, 28 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. Running back Roger Craig was one of the 49ers' major weapons, both rushing and receiving. Craig was the team's second leading rusher with 649 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns, and also caught 71 passes for 675 yards. Pro Bowl running back Wendell Tyler, who had rushed for a team record 1,262 yards during the regular season, recorded 7 rushing touchdowns, and also caught 28 passes for 230 yards and 2 touchdown receptions. Wide receivers Freddie Solomon and Dwight Clark also were deep threats, gaining a combined total of 1,617 yards and 16 touchdowns. Up front, 3 of the 49ers' 5 starting offensive linemen, Randy Cross, Fred Quillan, and Keith Fahnhorst, had been selected to play in the Pro Bowl. Overall, San Francisco's offense finished the season ranked second in the NFL in scoring (475 points) and fourth in total yards (6,544).

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.

Miami Dolphins

As the Dolphins advanced to the Super Bowl for the fifth time in franchise history, much of the media focus was on Miami's young quarterback Dan Marino. In just his second year in the league, he broke nearly every NFL single season passing record. Marino set a record for the most completions in a season (362) and became the first quarterback ever to throw for over 5,000 yards, reaching a total of 5,084. He set the record for the most games throwing for at least 300 passing yards (9) and the most games with 400 yards (4). Marino's 48 touchdown passes broke the previous record of 36, which was held by both George Blanda for the Houston Oilers in 1961 and Y.A. Tittle for the New York Giants in 1963. And he played the most games with at least 4 or more touchdown passes (6) and the most consecutive games with at least 4 touchdown passes (4).

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.

Playoffs

The Dolphins gained 405 yards of total offense in their 31-10 playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks, and over 500 yards as they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 45-28, in the AFC Championship Game. In the victory over the Steelers, Marino completed 21 of 32 passes for 421 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 1 interception.

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.

Pregame news and notes

This was the second time a team could have been considered a home team for a Super Bowl with Stanford just 30 miles away from San Francisco. Promotion for the Super Bowl also contributed to that feeling with many photographs of the Vince Lombardi trophy near San Francisco landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge. Thus, the 49ers may be considered the only team to have won the Super Bowl at home. The Los Angeles Rams also played near home at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. in Super Bowl XIV, but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Television

As a result of the 1982 television contract signed by the NFL with the three networks, this game was the first Super Bowl to be televised in the United States by ABC, as they earned their first turn at the Super Bowl, with a new alternation process started for the 1983 game. Previously, the Super Bowl telecast alternated between CBS and NBC, while both networks simulcasted the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game.

Announcers

Frank Gifford was the play-by-play announcer, while then-ABC Sports analyst Don Meredith and then-Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann served as color commentators. Al Michaels and Jim Lampley hosted the pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage for ABC. Michaels and Lampley were joined by analysts O.J. Simpson and Tom Landry. This would be the only ABC Super Bowl for Gifford as play-by-play announcer, the final game for Don Meredith and the second (and last) time a commentator for the Super Bowl (Theismann) was an active player (Jack Kemp in Super Bowl II was the only other active player to provide commentary).

Pregame

The pregame festivities featured a tribute to the NFL and an appearance by various team mascots. Later, a mega-choir formed by members of the San Francisco Children's Chorus, San Francisco Boys Chorus, San Francisco Girls Chorus and Piedmont Childrens Chorus performed the national anthem under well known choir director Louis Magor.

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.

Halftime

The halftime show was titled "World of Children's Dreams" and featured Tops In Blue, an elite performing tour ensemble consisting of members from the U.S. Air Force.

Aftergame

ABC featured MacGruder and Loud after the game.

In popular culture

Actress Teri Hatcher was a 49ers cheerleader at the time, she can be seen on several close ups during the game. Also, in a Strong Bad e-mail cartoon from the Homestar Runner website, a flier advertising this particular game washes up in a bottle on a deserted island that Strong Bad and Homestar happen to be stranded on.

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.

Game summary

Instead of the predicted shootout between Dan Marino and Joe Montana, the game was mostly one-sided. The 49ers defense only allowed 25 rushing yards and 16 Dolphins points. San Francisco also intercepted Marino 2 times and sacked him 4 times. The Dolphins set a Super Bowl record for least rush attempts in a game (9).

1st Quarter

But in the opening minutes of the game, it seemed that the game would live up to the hype. On the opening kickoff, 49ers rookie kick returner Derrick Harmon caught the ball too close to the sidelines and stepped out of bounds at the San Francisco 6-yard line. The 49ers managed to advance to the 41-yard line, but they were forced to punt, and Dolphins defensive back Fulton Walker returned the punt 9 yards to the Miami 36-yard line. Then on their first play of the drive, Marino completed a 25-yard pass to Tony Nathan, and 5 plays later they moved to the San Francisco 23-yard line. But after wide receiver Mark Clayton caught a third down pass and was tackled at 2-yards short of the first down, Miami had to settle for 37-yard field goal from Uwe von Schamann.

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.

2nd Quarter

In the second quarter, the 49ers began to take control of the game. San Francisco switched to a nickel defense to slow down Miami's passing attack. Miami tried to expose San Francisco's nickel defense with the running game, but were unsuccessful, and were forced to pass against the 49ers defense. Safety Dwight Hicks broke up two consecutive Marino passes, and the Dolphins were forced to punt from their own 10-yard line. Then after taking the ball at the Miami 47-yard line, Montana scrambled for a 19-yard run, and then completed a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Dwight Clark to reach the 12-yard line. From there, Wendell Tyler rushed for 4 yards, and then Montana threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Roger Craig, giving the 49ers a 14-10 lead.

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."

2nd Half

But any thoughts of a Miami comeback ended early in the third quarter. On the first play second half, 49ers defensive end Dwaine Board tackled Nathan for a 1-yard loss. Then after Marino threw an incompletion, Board sacked him for a 9-yard loss on third down. For the fourth time in the game, Roby had to punt, and again McLemore gave the 49ers good field position with an 8-yard return to San Francisco's 47-yard line. The 49ers then drove 43 yards and scored on kicker Ray Wersching's 27 yard field goal. On the Dolphins' ensuing drive, they were forced to punt again after Marino was sacked twice(once by defensive lineman Manu Tuiasosopo and once by Board). Starting their own 30-yard line after a 5-yard return by McLemore, Montana completed a 40-yard pass to Tyler, followed up with a 14-yard completion to Francis. Three plays later, Craig scored his third touchdown on a 16-yard reception to make the score 38-16. The score proved to be the last one from either team, as the defenses of both teams took over for the rest of the game - especially the 49ers' defense, who intercepted Marino twice.

Highlights

Overall, San Francisco gained a Super Bowl record 537 yards, breaking the Oakland Raiders's record of 429 yards in Super Bowl XI, while limiting Miami to 314, with just 25 rushing yards. San Francisco's 38 points also tied a Super Bowl record set by the Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII.

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.

Reactions

After the game, Blackwood criticized the referee's ruling of Solomon's fumble as an incomplete pass. "You don't want the game to hinge on that play, but you never know," Blackwood said. "I could have taken the ball up the sideline. That's a 14-point swing." However, other Dolphins were not convinced. "We were dominated to the point where one play didn't make much of a difference", said Dolphins coach Don Shula. "Our major objective was to contain Montana, and we did a terrible, terrible job of it" added defensive coach Chuck Studley. Even Roby, who averaged only 39.3 yards per punt and didn't place any of his 6 punts in the 20, took some responsibility for the loss. "I was trying to kill the ball, and I kicked it bad," he said. "I didn't hit one well. I was scared -- scared to make a mistake. It was the worst game of my life, counting high school, college, counting everything." Meanwhile in the 49ers locker room, Montana had his own explanation for the win. "As far as my own game, well, I'd have to admit it was pretty close to the best I've ever played. I didn't throw anything I didn't have confidence in. We got in sort of a groove. Once you get going like that you gain confidence, and it carries over to the defense, and then back to the offense. It's a snowball kind of thing."

Scoring summary

  • MIA - FG: Uwe von Schamann 37 yards 3-0 MIA
  • SF - TD: Carl Monroe 33 yard pass from Joe Montana (Ray Wersching kick) 7-3 SF
  • MIA - TD: Dan Johnson 2 yard pass from Dan Marino (Uwe von Schamann kick) 10-7 MIA
  • SF - TD: Roger Craig 8 yard pass from Joe Montana (Ray Wersching kick) 14-10 SF
  • SF - TD: Joe Montana 6 yard run (Ray Wersching kick) 21-10 SF
  • SF - TD: Roger Craig 2 yard run (Ray Wersching kick) 28-10 SF
  • MIA - FG: Uwe von Schamann 31 yards 28-13 SF
  • MIA - FG: Uwe von Schamann 30 yards 28-16 SF
  • SF - FG: Ray Wersching 27 yards 31-16 SF
  • SF - TD: Roger Craig 16 yard pass from Joe Montana (Ray Wersching kick) 38-16 SF

Starting lineups

San Francisco Position Miami
OFFENSE
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
DEFENSE
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

Quotes

  • "Came to see an offense, and the wrong one showed up." (Randy Cross on an NFL Films clip, referring to the 49ers' offensive dominance compared to the Dolphins)

Officials

  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • Umpire: Tom Hensley
  • Head Linesman: Leo Miles
  • Line Judge: Ray Dodez
  • Field Judge: Bob Lewis
  • Side Judge: Bill Quinby
  • Back Judge: Tom Kelleher
  • Alternate: Jerry Markbreit

See also

References

  • Super Bowl official website
  • 2006 NFL Record and Fact Book. Time Inc. Home Entertainment. ISBN 1-933405-32-5.
  • Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. Harper Collins. ISBN 1-933405-32-5.
  • The Sporting News Complete Super Bowl Book 1995. ISBN 0-89204-523-X.
  • http://www.pro-football-reference.com - Large online database of NFL data and statistics
  • Super Bowl play-by-plays from USA Today (Last accessed September 28, 2005)
  • All-Time Super Bowl Odds from The Sports Network (Last accessed October 16, 2005)

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