Countdown to Super Bowl 50: The San Francisco 49ers are forever Young

As we continue to inch closer to Super Bowl 50, today we take a look back at one of the worst Super Bowls of my lifetime. It’s hard to pinpoint which Super Bowl mismatch was the worst, because in the late 80s and half of the 90s, the Super Bowl was one of the worst games of the year.

The Super Bowls from 1984 to 1995 were often lopsided. They were won by an average of 19 points a contest, with four of the games being won by 25 points or more. And these were supposed to be a matchup of the NFL’s two best teams mind you.

The 1995 Super Bowl, unless you were a San Francisco 49ers fan, was the pits.

The San Francisco 49ers rose to great heights in the 80s behind Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Roger Craig. They would win four Super Bowls and establish themselves as the premier team in the NFL.

In 1995 they would face off against the San Diego Chargers in their first Super Bowl appearance in team history. They didn’t stand a chance.

Here’s the thing. The San Diego Chargers prior to 1995 had some exciting teams, like in the early 80s when Dan Fouts and Don Coryell led the high-octane San Diego Super Chargers.

As the millennium changed over to the 2000s, the Chargers would become exciting again. Drew Brees, Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson.

None of those teams would ever make a Super Bowl. Instead, the 1995 team did. They were led by Stan Humphries, Natrone Means and Tony Martin. Remember them? No one else does either. If it weren’t for Junior Seau this team would long be forgotten.

I was in my sophomore year of college. At the University of Delaware, it was hard to find off campus housing until your junior (or in my case third year), so many sophomores still lived in the dorms. The Super Bowl fell during our winter session. UD had this weird concept that they would give an extended six-week break over the end of December and all of January. It gave students the option to have a long vacation or take an accelerated, two-class schedule that you went to class everyday for two hours a class. With the grades I came out of my freshman year with, winter session was no longer an option if I wanted to graduate in less time than a doctor, it became a must.

Luckily, Varrass (who has edited many pieces for this blog) and Bull took winter session as well. Bret was right down the hall (as were Ross and Stigs, but I don’t think they were there for winter session). When we looked at the Super Bowl lineup, one that consisted of the aforementioned Chargers versus the Steve Young, Ricky Watters and Jerry Rice led 9ers, we had little interest in the game.

So we did what any trio of 20-year old sports loving dudes would do… bought a keg and snuck it into the dorms.

That’s what I remember about this Super Bowl. It wasn’t simply the fact that we not only pulled off sneaking a quarter keg into the dorms stashed in a laundry basket that took two people to carry in and yet no one questioned. It was the fact that when that quarter keg ran out because entirely too many people showed up to that dorm room that is probably the size of most of your bedrooms, we raced back to Maryland, hit up State Line Liquors and snuck another quarter keg into Bull’s closet disguised as an overflowing stack of laundry.

It was one of my proudest collegiate moments. The town of Newark, DE (pronounced New Ark) required two forms of ID to buy booze, which was why the majority of our first two years were spent crossing the border into Maryland (which was literally two and half miles down the road) and smuggling hooch across into Delaware like we were Bo and Luke Duke. Getting two cases of beer into a dorm room was a chore, never mind two kegs at two separate points. Mom and Dad, if you ever thought your money went to waste, I believe I just gave you validation.

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Anyway, the game started and it was over. Steve Young came out in the first quarter and threw a 41-yard touchdown and 51-yard touchdown. He would tack on two more by the half. The Chargers were being pummeled 28-10 and the rest was a blur.

I remember looking up and seeing Rice cross the end zone again and saying that Young was going to throw for 20 touchdowns. Of course he just threw six total, an astonishing feat on the world’s biggest stage. I remember Neon Deion Sanders picking off whoever the guy was (Gale Gilbert) that replaced Humphries and everyone doing the Deion dance. I also remember seeing my first two-point conversion at the NFL level. That was the first season the NFL had instituted the two-point conversion and I had not physically seen it yet. Through a beer induced haze, I witnessed history, as the Chargers would tack on not one, but two.

At the end of the day, I wish I paid a little closer attention, because Steve Wallace was on that team. Steve is an active member of the community in which I live, and you bump into him frequently if you live in the area. Nicest guy in the world, wish I could talk a bit more about this Super Bowl win with him, but it’s a wash.

Anyway, Steve Young became a legend and was no longer simply the guy that backed up Montana. 325 yards passing, six touchdowns and no picks, plus he led ALL rushers in the game while averaging 9.9 yards a carry. Rice’s numbers were insane, too: 10 receptions, 149 yards and three TDs.

None of those feats however were nearly as impressive as the two keg masterpiece Bull, Varrass, Bret and myself pulled off. And that’s how I will forever remember Super Bowl XXIX.

 

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