Super Bowl XXIX
Super Bowl XXIX pitted a young and talented San Diego Chargers team against a stacked lineup that included future Hall of Famers, All-Pro and Pro-Bowl caliber veterans. The Chargers were led by quarterback Stan Humphries, who was a backup to Mark Rypien when the Washington redskins won Super Bowl XXVI, running back Natrone Means, who rushed for 1,350 yards and 12 touchdowns on 343 carries. They also had the wide receiver corps of Tony Martin (885 yards/7 TDs), Mark Seay (645 yards/6 TDs), Shawn Jefferson (627 yards/3 TDs) and Ronnie Harmon (615 yards/1 TD). On defense they employed one of the best linebackers in the NFL in All-Pro Junior Seau and Pro Bowler Leslie O'Neal. The Chargers were the surprise team out of the AFC with 22 new members of the team, many of which became starters. They went 11-5 before they snuck past the Miami Dolphins 22-21 in the Divisional Playoff and then squeaked past the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-13 in the AFC Conference Championship Game. The 49ers, on the other hand, were sporting a handful of new guys of their own with Steve Young at quarterback for the first time to start a Super Bowl as well as new defensive additions in future Hall of Famer defensive end Richard Dent and cornerback Deion Sanders as well as All-Pro linebacker Ken Norton, Jr. and Rickey Jackson and Pro-Bowler defensive end Charles Mann. San Francisco posted the best record in the NFL at 13-3 and led the NFL in scoring with 505 points. They easily marched into the playoffs where they throttled the Chicago Bears 44-15 in the Division Playoff and then topped the Dallas Cowboys 38-28 in the NFC Conference Championship game.
For the second time in six years, Super Bowl XXIX was played at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida on January 29, 1995. The game began with a facemask penalty against the Chargers that resulted in San Francisco taking possession of the ball on their own 41-yard line. Three plays later, Steve Young hit Jerry Rice with a 44-yard touchdown pass to become only the second team in history to score on the opening drive as well as faster than any other team in history. After forcing the Chargers to go three and out, San Francisco struck again on their second drive just minutes later on a 51-yard TD pass to Ricky Watters. These were the fastest two touchdowns scored in Super Bowl history at under five minutes into the first quarter. San Diego answered with a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Natrone Means after Deion Sanders was called for pass interference giving the Chargers an automatic first down on the San Francisco 9-yard line. On the first drive of the second quarter, the 49ers upped their lead to 21-7 when Young found William Floyd with a 5-yard TD pass. Young then connected once more with Watters on an 8-yard touchdown play. Chargers kicker John Carney kicked a 31-yard field goal to close out the scoring in the first half with San Francisco leading San Diego 28-10. The halftime show was produced by Disney in an attempt to promote their new Indiana Jones Adventure attraction at Disneyland, but also featured performances by Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval and the Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. The second half began much like the first with Ricky Watters and Jerry Rice each scoring 9-yard and 15-yard touchdowns, respectively, to increase the 49ers lead to 42-10. Andre Coleman returned the ensuing kickoff 98-yards for the Chargers to cut the lead to 42-18, but the damage was done. Steve Young hits Jerry Rice once again with a 7-yard score at the start of the fourth quarter going up 49-18. The Niners were just too much for the Chargers to handle and though they did score once again on a 30-yard TD pass from Stan Humphries to tony Martin, San Francisco came out on top 29-26. Steve Young completed 24 of 36 passes for 325 passing yards and six touchdowns and no interceptions to win the Super Bowl XXIX Most Valuable Player award.