Countdown of the 20 Greatest Super Bowl’s: #18 Super Bowl XVI
#18 – Super Bowl XVI: San Francisco 49ers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
San Francisco – 26
Cincinnati – 21
January 24, 1982
MVP: Joe Montana, San Francisco
Key Play: Down 20-14 in the fourth quarter, Bengals QB Ken Anderson threw an interception to 49ers cornerback Eric Wright.
The first Super Bowl to be played in a cold weather city (Detroit) was between two teams making their first appearances in the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Montana led the 49ers to a 20-0 halftime lead via a 1-yard touchdown run and a 11-yard touchdown pass to fullback Earl Cooper. The Bengals bounced back in the second half with two touchdowns on quarterback Ken Anderson’s five yard run and four yard touchdown pass to Dan Ross. Bengals quarterback, Ken Anderson, established Super Bowl records for completions (25) and completion percentage (73.5%).
The 49ers kicked two fourth quarter field goals to extend their lead to 26-14. The Bengals followed with a touchdown pass from Ken Anderson to Dan Ross with 16 seconds left in the game. It ended up being too little, too late for the Bengals.
Despite losing the game, the Bengals totaled 356 yards compared to the 49ers 275. Bengals wide receiver Dan Ross set a Super Bowl record with 11 catches for 104 yards. Joe Montana was named Super Bowl MVP after 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Super Bowl XVI was one of the most watched shows in television history with over 85 million viewers. It’s final Nielsen rating of 49.1 is still a Super Bowl record.
When factoring in the allure of the Super Bowl being played in a cold weather city for the first time along with this Super Bowl marking the beginning of the 49ers five Super Bowl championships over 14 seasons, we decided to place Super Bowl XVI 18th on our Countdown of the Greatest Super Bowl’s.