Super Bowl XVI was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion San Francisco 49ers and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Cincinnati Bengals to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1981 season….as the 49’ers defeated the Bengals by the score of 26–21 to win their first Super Bowl.
The game was played on January 24, 1982, at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan….which is a suburb of the City of Detroit…..which marked the first time that a Super Bowl was held at a cold-weather city….as the domed stadium saved the crowd at the game from the very cold and snowy weather. Super Bowl XVI also became one of the most watched broadcasts in American television history….with more than 85 million viewers….and a final national Nielsen rating of 49.1 (a 73% share).
For the first time since Super Bowl III, both teams were making their first Super Bowl appearance….as the 49’ers posted a 13–3 regular season record….with playoff wins over the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys…..whereas, the Bengals finished the regular season with a 12–4 record….and had postseason victories over the Buffalo Bills and the San Diego Chargers.
The Bengal’s 356 yards of total offense to the 49’er’s 275 total yards marked the first time in Super Bowl history that a team which was out-gained in total yards won the game…..as the Bengals also committed four turnovers to San Francisco’s one….which played a major factor in the outcome….as three of these turnovers helped San Francisco build a Super Bowl record 20–0 halftime lead….which came off a touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown from quarterback Joe Montana….along with two field goals by Ray Wersching. The Bengals began to rally in the second half with quarterback Ken Anderson’s 5-yard touchdown run and 4-yard touchdown pass….but a third-quarter goal line stand by the 49’ers defense…. plus two more Wersching field goals ultimately decided the game….even when the Bengals managed to score their final touchdown with 20 seconds left….but they couldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick…. while Montana was named the Super Bowl MVP after completing 14 of 22 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown….while also rushing for 18 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Cincinnati tight end Dan Ross recorded a Super Bowl-record 11 receptions….which is still the most ever by a tight end in a Super Bowl.
As seen in this video herewith….Harry Kalas of NFL Films narrates this video with highlights of the season and playoffs leading up to the game…..and then Super Bowl XVI as seen through the eyes of the talented NFL Films cameramen.