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1982 ‐ Super Bowl XVI ‐ San Francisco 49ers vs Cincinnati Bengals

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San Francisco 49ers 26
Cincinnati Bengals 21

January 24, 1982

Super Bowl XVI was at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, the first in a cold-weather city. The NFC champion 49ers (16-3) faced the AFC Champion Bengals (14-5). The Silverdome saved 81,270 fans from a subzero wind chill. A record 110.2 million fans viewed the game on CBS, which gained the highest rating for a televised sports event ever. A record 14 million radio listeners tuned in.

In the first quarter, quarterback Joe Montana led a 68 yard drive, scoring on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.

Early in the second quarter, San Francisco’s defense forced a fumble and recovered the ball at its eight-yard line. Montana orchestrated a Super Bowl record 92-yard drive and threw a 14-yard touchdown.

With 18 seconds left, 49ers kicker Ray Wersching completed a 22-yard field goal. The Bengals fumbled the kickoff and Wersching kicked another field goal to make the score 20-0.

The Bengals scored a touchdown on their first possession of the second half. Two possessions later, quarterback Kenny Anderson threw a 49 yard bomb that set up a first-and-goal at the 49ers three-yard line.

In the game’s most dramatic and defining series, the 49ers’ defense stepped up. After gaining two yards on first down, Cincinnati was held to zero gains. San Francisco fielded only ten players on fourth down.

Cincinnati cut the lead to 20-14 with a 53-yard march in the fourth quarter. San Francisco went on a time-consuming drive and got another field goal.

Cincinnati scored another touchdown with 16 seconds left. But the onside kick was recovered by San Francisco, which held on for its first championship.

Montana was Super Bowl XVI’s MVP with 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown, also rushing for 18 yards and a touchdown. Wersching tied a Super Bowl record with four field goals.

Anderson had a Super Bowl record 25 completions and a 73.5% completion percentage on 25 of 34. Cincinnati gained 356 yards to San Francisco’s 275, the first time that the team with more yards and touchdowns lost.

Around the World on January 24:

  • Alfredo Ovando Candía, Bolivian president and dictator, died at 63.

Around the NFL in 1982:

  • The NFL signed a five-year contract with ABC, CBS, and NBC to broadcast all games.
  • The 1983, 1984, and 1985 Pro Bowls were awarded to Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium.
  • May 7 – The LA Coliseum Commission and the Raiders won an antitrust suit against the NFL.
  • August 29 – The Raiders beat Green Bay 24-3 in preseason, their first game in LA.
  • September 20 – NFL players went on strike.
  • November 17 – NFL owners ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The 1982 season was reduced to nine games.
  • November 21-22 – Play resumed.
  • December 14 – Stanford University Stadium received Super Bowl XIX and the Louisiana Superdome received Super Bowl XX. Average attendance was 58,472, the fifth-highest in NFL history.
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