1917 Ernest Borgnine, 1918 John McLiam, 1939 Ray Stevens, 1941 Aaron Neville, 1941 Neil Diamond, 1943 Sharon Tate, 1944 David Gerrold, 1946 Michael Ontkean, 1949 John Belushi, 1970 Matthew Lillard, 1974 Ed Helms, 1979 Tatyana M Ali, 1986 Mischa Barton, 1986 Raviv Ullman
On this day in history Super Bowl history, Super Bowl XVI: 49ers vs Bengals...
Things were different in the 80's. Diff'rent Strokes ruled the small screen, Blondie's Rapturerocked my young world and the boys from the Queen City, were a perennial contender in the weak AFC Central (the precursor to today's AFC North) in the seasons following the Steelers glory years. The Bengals faced off against the Niners in the Super Bowl twice during the decade, their only two trips, first following the 1981 season and again after the '88 season and are the only team to make a game of it against the juggernaut known as the San Francisco 49ers.
Super Bowl XVI is actually somewhat of an afterthought. The 49ers are a storied franchise with many great players, championships and countless great plays. No play is more beloved among 49ers fans than 'The Catch.' It occurred in the NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys two weeks before. Dwight Clark caught a Joe Montana pass in the back of the end zone with under a minute to play to give the 49ers a 28-27 victory and send them to their first Super Bowl. Bill Walsh had turned the fortunes of the franchise around in just three short years.
The 49ers came into the game as a slight two-point favorite on the strength of having beaten the Bengals earlier in the year. Played in the hotbed of winter wonderland vacationing, Detroit, MI, the game marked the first time a Super Bowl was played in a cold-weather location. The game was the first time two first-time participants played in a Super Bowl since SBIII (a feat matched in SBXX, played between the Bears and Patriots). It is also noteworthy for being the only time two teams with losing records the previous season would face off in a Super Bowl. One of the two teams would be taking the first step in rewriting their franchise's history and both teams were playing with house money at this point, with neither having anticipated much success heading into the season.
The 49ers got off to the worst start imaginable. Amos Lawrence fumbled the opening kickoff which was recovered by the Bengals at the 26-yard line. Bengals' quarterback Ken Anderson, one of the most accurate passers in NFL history during a time when precision offenses were non-existent, took over with great field position for his first drive. At the time of Anderson's retirement, he held the record for completion percentage in a game, in a season, in a single Super Bowl as well as the most consecutive completions in league history. He was also sacked more than any quarterback in league history to that point.