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On This Date in Sports January 29, 1995: 49ers Take the Fifth

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The San Francisco 49ers become the first team to win the Lombardi Trophy five times as crush the San Diego Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami. It was a record-setting day for San Francisco quarterback Steve Young, who set a Super Bowl record with six touchdown passes while passing for 325 yards to earn MVP honors as he erased all the doubts and got the monkey off his back.

It had only been five years since the 49ers won their fourth Super Bowl, but it must have been an eternity. Joe Montana had moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs after a long quarterback controversy involving Steve Young, as the Niners seamlessly remained one of the top teams in the NFL. However, they had lost the NFC Championship game three times in four years, starting when Joe Montana was injured in 1990 against the New York Giants. Steve Young proved he was a star-caliber quarterback but had yet to prove he could win the big game.

In 1994 the 49ers put all the chips in the middle of the table as they aggressively pursued veteran free agents to finally beat the Dallas Cowboys who had knocked them off in the previous two seasons. Early on, the Niners had their struggles as they were beaten by the Kansas Chiefs in Joe Montana in Week 2 and slammed by the Philadelphia 40-8 in Week at Candlestick Park. In that loss to the Eagles, Young snapped went after coach George Seifert. It was at this moment that the Niners came together as they won their next ten games and posted an NFL-best record of 13-3. In the playoffs, they beat the Chicago Bears 44-15 before topping the Cowboys 38-28 in the NFC Championship Game, which some viewed as the real Super Bowl.

While the 49ers were expected to be in Miami, the San Diego Chargers were not. They had a recent resurgence under coach Bobby Ross and finished the season with a record of 11-5 to earn the second seed in the AFC Playoffs. In the Divisional Round, the Chargers rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to stun the Miami Dolphins 22-21. From there, it was the AFC Championship Game at Three Rivers Stadium, where they rallied again, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-13. Coming home to San Diego, the Chargers were greeted by a late-night rally, as they truly became the San Diego Super Chargers.

The 49ers were installed as an 18-point favorite for Super Bowl XXIX, as the NFC was seeking to extend their winning streak in Super Bowls to 11 straight wins. The 49ers got the ball first and needed less than 90 seconds to strike first as Jerry Rice hauled in a 44-yard touchdown pass from Steve Young. At the time it was the quickest touchdown in Super Bowl history. After a quick Chargers’ possession, the Niners again used the big play to make it 14-0 as Ricky Watters broke off a 50-yard touchdown run. The Chargers did manage to get back in the game with a nice long drive to settle the game down as Natrone Means capped a nearly eight-minute drive with a one-yard run over the goal line. The next drive would see one of the Niners’ big weapons injured as Jerry Rice slightly dislocated his shoulder on a tackle by Darrian Gordon.

Despite the injury, Rice remained in the game after receiving a cortisone shot as the Niners continuing the drive in the second quarter scored again, with William Floyd catching a five-yard pass from Young. The Chargers defense seemed helpless throughout the first half, as the Niners struck again with five minutes left as Ricky Watters caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Steve Young was picking apart the San Diego secondary with easy. John Carney would get a field goal on the next drive, as the Niners held a 28-10 lead at the half.

After the halftime fireworks cleared the air, the Chargers still were unable to find the right spark on offense. They were unable to do anything on defense, as the Niners continued to look like a team playing in a scrimmage as they again went down the field with ease, as Steve Young connected with Water again, this time from the nine to extend the lead to 35-10. Following an interception by Eric Davis, Young and Rice hooked up again from the 15 to put all doubt out of reach. The Chargers now down 42-10 showed some spirit as Andre Coleman returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Hopelessly out of the game, the Chargers would complete the first two-point conversion in Super Bowl history as Mark Seay caught a pass from Stan Humphries in the end zone.

Jerry Rice, who played most of the game hurt, would make ten catches for 149 yards, scoring three touchdowns, the last one making it San Francisco 49 San Diego 18 in the fourth quarter. It was a quarter of celebration for the 49ers as they just needed to the time tick down to celebrate their fifth Super Bowl. Along the Deion Sanders played a few plays on offense, while Steve Young was feeling more relief than anything else had the monkey ripped off his back symbolically by Garry Plummer.

The Chargers would close out the scoring with another cosmetic eight points as Stan Humphries connected with Tony Martin on a 30-yard touchdown pass and connected with Alfred Pupunu for their two-point conversion to make the final read 49-26. The 49ers had scored 49 points, and the total score of the game had been 75 points, a new NFL record. The 75 points also seemed symbolic in the NFL’s 75th season.