Super: Dome, Joe, and the 49ers
George Siefert joined Baltimore's Don McCafferty (Super Bowl V) as the only coaches to win the Super Bowl in their first year as an NFL head coach, and Joe Montana was named Super Bowl MVP for a record third time in the 49ers' rout. The 49ers matched Pittsburgh's four Super Bowl victories.
Meanwhile, Denver suffered its fourth loss in as many Super Bowl appearances. Ironically, a few weeks before the game, 54 percent of Denver fans responding to a survey hoped their team would not go to the Super Bowl and thus avoid another embarassing defeat. The Broncos didn't listen, and apparently 100 percent of the 49ers hoped they would show up.
The Broncos, 12-point underdogs, were exptected to run the ball to try to keep Montana and company off the field. Instead, John Elway came out throwing and the combination of the 49er pass rush and coverage, some misdirected passes and drops by receivers put Denver into a quick hole. Less than five minutes into the contest, Montana hit Jerry Rice for a 20-yard touchdown that put San Francisco ahead to stay. Denver came back to score on a 43-yard David Treadwell field goal, but the dam was about to burst. Montana's 7-yard toss to Brent Jones widened the lead with three seconds left in the first quarter.
When Tom Rathman cracked over from the one midway through the second quarter, the game was over for all intents and purposes except counting up the score. Montana connected with Rice again for a 38-yard TD with less than a minute left in the first half to make the score 27-3, and much of America's TV fans decided it was time to check out other channels.
If they neglected to return for the second half, they missed Rice scoring on a 28-yarder from Montana and John Taylor taking a 35-yarder for another score. The 49ers stayed on the ground for the fourth period as Rathman and Roger Craig scored the last touchdowns. In between 49er scores, Elway directed a Bronco offense that was mostly three downs and out, although he did run three yards for a third quarter score that made the score only 41-10 at the time.
In a 55-10 game, it's difficult to find one play that makes a significant difference, however the Broncos were making a run at the 49ers midway through the first quarter when they had a first down at their own 49-yard line and trailing only 7-3. Bobby Humphrey took a handoff from John Elway and attempted to run behind left tackle Gerald Perry. But 49ers DE Kevin Fagan wrapped up Humphrey and stripped the ball away from him. Chet Brooks recovered for San Francisco and the game was effectively over.
"The most we gave up all year was 28 points," said Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who received considerable praise for upgrading the defense before the game. "Today they got 27 in the first half only because they missed a point (on a missed conversion), and 28 more in the second half. They have a great killer instinct. You make a mistake and they go for the big play."
Rice caught seven passes for 148 yards and three TDs, all better marks than he registered in earning MVP honors a year earlier. But the day belonged to Montana, whose 22-of29 passing, 13 consecutive completions at one point, 297 yards and five touchdowns earned him the MVP honors. Amazingly, in 122 Super Bowl passes, he'd completed 68 percent and had never thrown an interception.