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Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers in action during Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, CA. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)
January 26th, 2022
The San Francisco 49ers are one win away from Super Bowl LVI, and all that’s standing in their way is the Los Angeles Rams, a division rival that they’ve beaten six straight times.
The 49ers are no strangers to the Super Bowl, of course. Let’s look back at their long and decorated franchise history as it relates to America’s biggest game.
Fans didn’t know it at the time, but they were witnessing the beginning of a dynasty when the 49ers took on the Cincinnati Bengals at the Pontiac Silverdome in Super Bowl XVI.
Led by head coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana, San Fran jumped out to a then-record 20-0 halftime lead before playing out the string and securing a 26-21 triumph. They were outgained 356 to 275 by Ken Anderson and company, but four turnovers spelled doom for the Bengals.
Long live Dwight Clark and The Catch 🙏🏼❤️💛 | #49ers #87Day pic.twitter.com/LPb2ItSNlZ— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers_) August 7, 2020
Long live Dwight Clark and The Catch 🙏🏼❤️💛 | #49ers #87Day pic.twitter.com/LPb2ItSNlZ
The 49ers earned their first Super Bowl berth in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, notable because it featured “The Catch,” a game-sealing grab by Dwight Clark over the Dallas Cowboys that is widely regarded as one of the NFL’s all-time biggest moments.
Super Bowl XIX was expected to be a battle between two legendary quarterbacks in the Miami Dolphins’ Dan Marino and the 49ers’ Montana. While both signal callers went for over 300 yards through the air – the first time that happened in Super Bowl history – the game was a blowout.
San Francisco scored 28 points in the first half en route to a 38-16 decision. Montana received his second career Super Bowl MVP Award.
In a rematch of Super Bowl XVI, the Bengals took on the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII at Joe Robbie Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium) in Miami, FL.
The game was a defensive slugfest for most of the way. The teams were tied 3-3 at halftime, and Cincinnati’s only touchdown came on a 93-yard kickoff return by Stanford Jennings.
Down 16-13 with 3:10 left to play, Montana engineered an 11-play, 92-yard drive to score the winning touchdown for the 49ers. It was revealed later on that before the game-winning drive began, Montana pointed into the crowd and said, “Hey, isn’t that John Candy?” in attempt to calm his teammates down. Apparently, it worked.
What a story that was. Joe Montana being the coolest in the most tense situation. The John Candy drive happened on this day in 1989. pic.twitter.com/h2YPnS3utw— #Random49ers (@Random49ers) January 22, 2022
What a story that was. Joe Montana being the coolest in the most tense situation. The John Candy drive happened on this day in 1989. pic.twitter.com/h2YPnS3utw
Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice earned MVP honors, as he recorded 11 catches, 215 yards, and a touchdown. Walsh retired after winning his third Super Bowl.
The 49ers were heavily-favored over the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl XXIV, and they delivered.
With rookie head coach George Seifert patrolling the sidelines, Montana – who won his third Super Bowl MVP Award – guided San Fran to a 55-10 victory. It was the largest winning margin in Super Bowl history, and the most points scored by one team.
The 49ers were gigantic 18.5-point favorites when they took on the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, and they did not let their backers down.
Steve Young had already supplanted Montana at quarterback, but he filled his Super Bowl shoes admirably as he went 24-of-36 for 325 yards and six touchdowns en route to MVP honors.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh led San Fran back to the Super Bowl after an extended hiatus, and his opponent was brother John Harbaugh and his Baltimore Ravens.
The game was well on the way to being a blowout, with the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones returning the second-half kickoff a record 108 yards to make it 28-6 Baltimore, but a power outage at the Louisiana Superdome turned the game on its ear.
OTD back in 2013: Ravens vs 49ers, Super Bowl XLVII The Ravens win their 2nd Super Bowl in franchise history! It was also @RayLewis' final game.@JoeFlacco: 22-33, 287yds, 3 TD/SB MVP@AnquanBoldin: 6 rec, 104yds, 1 TDJacoby Jones: 56yd TD rec + 108yd kickoff return TD pic.twitter.com/Q2b3ydmIcS— Four Verts 🏈 (@FourVerticals_) February 3, 2021
OTD back in 2013: Ravens vs 49ers, Super Bowl XLVII The Ravens win their 2nd Super Bowl in franchise history! It was also @RayLewis' final game.@JoeFlacco: 22-33, 287yds, 3 TD/SB MVP@AnquanBoldin: 6 rec, 104yds, 1 TDJacoby Jones: 56yd TD rec + 108yd kickoff return TD pic.twitter.com/Q2b3ydmIcS
Following a 34-minute delay, Colin Kaepernick and the Niners offense scored 17 unanswered points, then were a two-point conversion away from making it a 31-31 tie in the fourth quarter.
San Francisco had the ball seven yards away from the end zone when down by five later in the final frame, but the Ravens’ defense held up to hand the 49ers their first Super Bowl loss.
There’s a decent chance we’ll get a rematch of Super Bowl LIV in less than three weeks’ time, as the 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are both still alive.
It was a classic matchup of “unstoppable force meets the immovable object” with league MVP Patrick Mahomes and K.C. taking on the 49ers’ vaunted defense. San Fran had a 20-10 advantage midway through the fourth quarter, but a poised Mahomes led his team on two late touchdown drives to take a 24-20 lead. A rushing touchdown by Damien Williams to make it a 31-20 final was just icing on the cake.
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