SWEET NUMBER THREE -- History of the Superbowl Part 19
I never for a minute got my hopes up about the Jets this year.
They'll do it next year.
Never go hunting in your underwear.
Load up first.
For perhaps if you do, you'll resemble...the 1988 San Francisco 49ers.
As for Joe Montana, Bill Walsh and Ronnie Lott...it would indeed be...a sweet number three.
Yes I'm making this hub like the 86 Boston Celtics video.
It was a season of brand new niggas.
And the AFC...got a brand new bag, sucka. Watch yo mouth.
Jim Kelly and Boomer Esiason
Esiason had Icky Woods...the all-mighty tsunami ball of fury and legs that would become a one-man omegahedron for the people of Cincinnati to wear around their neck...
And Kelly had a guy named Thurman Thomas who had been the guy Barry Sanders learned from at Oklahoma State!!!!
Esiason and Kelly had been playing a while, this year...they would be Elway and Kosar.
Where was Elway? Last place.
Do you blame him?
The Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills were getting REAL good.
Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, ALL were growing up together.
Cornelius Bennett, Mark Kelso in his prime, James Lofton on the edge of COMPLETING his prime...
Steve fucking Tasker. That's a guy Northwestern has no excuse not naming a street after.
Steve Tasker Way.
I LIKE that.
Cincinnati and Buffalo had been the long-suffering hoes of American sports.
Atlanta is exempt from this list because of the 95 Braves.
But look how the suckiness of the situation SUCKED THE BRAVES AWAY FROM A DYNASTY.
Cincinnati, Buffalo and Atlanta are funny places.
Cincinnati's majority wishes it was a southern city.
Atlanta doesn't like it when anyone's a winner. It's like when it comes time to pick the most popular kid for the yearbook of a shitty city high school. They pick the biggest dunce ever.
Winning's not baller.
And then Buffalo is simply inhabitable and small.
Yet there are no fans cooler, and who provide a cooler environment for sports in these late 80s and early 90s -- then Riverfront and Rich Stadiums.
I would LOVE to play for what appears to be a big, surly hairy supermarket.
Where they WORSHIP your ass.
50,000 people in the whole town of Buffalo and they're all there naked in the flurries in Kiss make-up and hard-hats to cheer you.
Could you imagine what the environment is like in Buffalo and Cincinnati on SUPER BOWL SUNDAY during this time?
Sure enough, Buffalo and Cincinnati tore up the AFC, with Seattle playing the unfamiliar role of embattled incumbant!
Meanwhile the NFC was shitting itself.
Speaking of shit, onto the fucking Chicago Bears...
See Doug Flutie and Jim McMahon didn't get along, okay fine.
But you see these cool Jim McMahon types and you have to wonder...who WOULD they get along with?
That question would be answered soon, as the Bears would slowly give a few minutes a game to the future of law enforcement...
Jim McMahon, like most men with egos, don't get along with other stars....but they get along with their cheerleaders!
I would have been, regrettably, just like Tomzcak.
Tomzcak was a rookie for the 85 Bears.
In the Superbowl Shuffle, he pretends to be playing a guitar in the background.
So Tomzcak, as a back-up, learning and watching...makes the total "gay" mistake...of befriending Jim McMahon.
What a crime.I wish Scottie Pippen would be my friend. Remember the opening theme song to Courtship of Eddie's Father? That should be us.
Yet the fact was that McMahon and Tomzcak would carry on the appearence of Bush and McCain to alot of Chicago fans.
Jordan and Paxson had the same dynamic amongst the yuppie downtown health club crowd.
"Paxson wouldn't be a starter if he wasn't Jordan's little pal," said one guy I encountered.
Well the same could be said for Tomzcak.
Because Tomzcak was a witness to the 85 season, like us, Tomczak LOVED McMahon.
Kissed his ass and didn't think TWICE.
Please, I think it's a fact of life that the 85 Bears get alot of idle worship.
They're a bit more used to it then you think.
But Tomzcak thus would benefit from the tutelege and encouragement that Flutie wouldn't.
We'd see what this would all add up to of course, but not for another year.
Meanwhile Ditka was literally keeping that team competitive as long as SCOUTING ALONE COULD.
What I mean is, you see the guys he picks doing great when they're entering the league and for about 2 or 3 years.
But then by year 4 and 5 and beyond...you can tell you're looking at a whole bunch of veterans in need of competent play calling.
Literally...it wasn't until they were old veterans just executing shitty plays...that the Bears started fucking up.
They were sport's first dead-in-the-water team that could still kick alot of ass.
And that's word.
So the Bears in 1988 would rise to the top of the division, with the Vikings again about to wake up soon...
So that was the NFC Central.
In the NFC East, the story was Air Randall.
What a fucking quarterback Randall Cunningham was during this time.
And what a phat shade of green and silver they sported.
Randall Cunningham was the first Michael Vick -- a 6'4'' quarterback who could hit like a safety, thus rendering his ability to both pass and run...a big problem.
Cunningham threw touchdowns, he caught touchdowns, he dodged people to take draws for touchdowns, and he swooshed by people to take sweeps for touchdowns.
Randall Woogie Jones Cunningham would draw the Bears in Chicago for the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
The game was legendary.
Because there was only thing in fact that proved to be able to stop Randall Cunningham this year...
The Bears got two interceptions off a man who would still throw for 400 yards BLIND.
Mike Tomzcak would hit Dennis McKinnon for a touchdown, his best play ever that nobody can remember.
Another player on the Bears who is drafted and plays pretty well in this game for the Bears is Neal Anderson. I think he had like 70 yards.
Of course, the Bears were alot like American students when they go to Paris-- people were led to believe that if you throw a bunch of words in a sentence any way you want as long as you get them all in there, you'll get a coherent thought that anyone can understand.
There was nothing clearer, more less in need of translation, then the San Francisco 49ers.
They were a team in FUCKING TURMOIL.
The Vikings would beat the Rams and get a meeting with them in the Divisional Playoffs.
But a 9 win team playing a 10 win one on the road is probably not gonna win.
The 49ers, borrowing a page from Phil Jackson's lazy ass Lakers, would use this divisional playoff game at home to TURN IT ON.
The difference was obvious.
Rice would get to go play fetch with John Taylor.
The difference between Taylor and Rice...Taylor wasn't as fast, but ALOT stronger.
And it would make all the difference.
Walsh was always intrigued and stubborn to a fault about the idea of Rice being a square peg.
Taylor was an EXPECTED receiver. He was like Pippen -- the best of all the other athletes in the league at what was typically expected.
Absolutely an accomplishment.
But Walsh had AFC blood in him, remember?
He would jump up and down in the mind trying to think of WHAT'S THE PROPER FORMULA WITH RICE?!
With John Taylor being strong as hell, probably stronger then John Frank their tight end, you can have Taylor alternate as a tight end OR reciever...
Then since you got Rathman and Craig in your backfield, you can have them do the 3 yard runs in front of the linebackers...while you have Jerry Rice run BEHIND the linebackers.
This is where Montana really becomes a historical icon as far as sports goes.
For years he was being accurate due to being able to successfully complete 3 yard passes...or bombs when four defensive backs were trying to stop six recievers.
From this year on, as Montana's now in his prime, he would make a living of hitting Jerry Rice BEHIND THE LINEBACKERS...
This would lead to Rice being hit alot less, and those defensive backs left to always have to watch 20 yards ahead of them ON TOP of Taylor and Frank and even Craig running at them.
They're running backwards while having to pay attention to what's happening way ahead of them.
But this would require a very important thing...
Something extremely vital...
Joe Montana HAD TO BE ACCURATE.
He HAD TO be the kind of quarterback who could throw past a linebacker's shoulders.
Essentially he will be 20 yards separated from the play every time...can he still hit that tiny open hole?
Joe Montana and the 49ers would prove they could do against the no-name Vikings at home.
But now they had to go to where it was no longer 54 degrees and muddy.
For the 1988 NFC Championship game would be played in the high frozen winds of shitty at Soldier Field in Chicago.
It was -17 degrees outside, and that wasn't even the windchill.
The winds were blowing 40 miles per hour on top of being 17 below.
Add to that, the linebackers Montana would have to throw past included Singletary and company.
The 49ers score a touchdown in every single quarter.
Montana has two touchdown passes...sure enough...by powering that ball through the winds and Roper/Wilson/Singletary...into the never-changing-stride hands of Jerry Rice.
Rice would catch 25 yard passes, and turn one of them into a 61 yard touchdown.
While everyone could see everyone's breath.
Montana, just for fun, would throw another touchdown to a slot reciever who this time, LOVED the hitting...big tight end John Frank.
And Tom Rathman ran in San Francisco's 4th touchdown.
Meanwhile Jim McMahon would be the starter, and have 121 yards with an interception. That was it and that was all.
McMahon couldn't throw anymore. Charles Martin's an asshole.
So the 49ers were going back to the Superbowl.
In the AFC, it was Bills and Bengals boom boom boom.
Cleveland would lose on a field goal to Houston in an overtime game, and this would slowly spell the end for Bernie Kosar.
Within a year, the Browns would hire a Giants assistant who preferred Vinny Testaverde -- Bill Belichek.
Kosar had led the Miami Hurricanes to their first ever national title in 1983 with the season of gods.
He was on the other side of Doug Flutie's miracle in 1984.
And in 1985, he blew a 31-0 lead against Frank Reich and the Maryland Terrapins.
Frank Reich never thought it would get bigger for himself then to marshal the biggest comeback in COLLEGE football history...
The AFC Championship game in Cincinnati was so fucking loud nobody could hear or understand the plays.
This would lead to holding the ball all day long, setting the stage for Icky Woods and veteran running back Stanley Wilson.
Meanwhile the Cincinnati secondary would pick Kelly off. Lewis Billups had an interception, so did Eric Thomas, as did David Fulcher.
Kelly would hit Andre Reed for a touchdown from 9 yards out, and Norwood had a field goal, but it was all for jack.
Cincinnati was going to the Super Bowl.
Sam Wyche, the Bengals coach, had engineered the turnaround of turnarounds.
In 1987, the Bengals were 4-11.
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It was about thirty minutes before kickoff, when Cincinnati players cannot find Stanley Wilson.
They go up to the hotel.
Stan? Stan, where are you? Stan? OH NO! STAN!!!!!!
Stanley Wilson had suffered a coke overdose, and was laying in the bathtub unconscious.
He would be revived and helped, and watch the game he was primarily responsible for getting them to...from the hospital.
Wilson was their starting running back. Icky would now go from being like their Dave Meggett to their Ottis Anderson.
No more 1 yard plays for Icky. He was going to be the guy responsible for holding that damn ball again.
And Icky...would play pussyball for Wyche and the Bengals...BRILLIANTLY.
It was 3-3 at the half.
The 49ers had the ball for like three seconds.
But then in the second half, some funny things would happen.
Montana gets them all the way downfield and hits Rice for a touchdown...just so Stanford Jennings of Cincinnati can run it right back at them.
Montana then goes down by a field goal.
No problem...this freaking San Francisco offense marches right back down to the redzone.
At this point, the 49ers trail by 3.
Montana throws a dead-on touchdown pass to a flagging Tay...no! Lawrence Billups with the...NO!!! LAWRENCE BILLUPS DROPS THE INTERCEPTION!!!
Sure enough, Montana would throw a touchdown on the very next play to Rice in the corner of the endzone.
Billups would be arrested many years later for almost killing his wife.
I didn't mean that as a joke. That really happened. She went on ESPN and told Dick Schaap everything.
So the Bengals have the ball, we're tied at 13 after some field goals from both, and once again that boring Bengals hold the ball shit brings them down into field goal territory.
They kick a field goal. It's 16-13 Cincinnati with 3:16 left.
The 49ers get a touchback, but there's a penalty on the kickoff.
They end up going back to the 8 YARD LINE!!!
Cincinnati's going nuts.
In the very least, it looks like there's going to be overtime.
Montana now has to take the 49ers 92 yards to win this game.
So everyone watches for the next three minutes as fucking Montana hits Craig, he hits Rice, he hits Taylor, Taylor goes out of bounds, then Rice on an end around is tackled....
That's an 11 YARD LOSS!!!!
It's now 2nd and 20 for San Francisco and they're at the 45 yard line...
Cincinnati isn't even worried.
So here we go...
Montana back to throw...
COMPLETE TO RICE!!!!
Montana hits Rice right over the linebacker's shoulders and Rice advances 20 more yards on his own...
He's now well in field goal territory, taking them to the Bengals 19.
Now at this point there's still like TWO WHOLE MINUTES REMAINING!!!
They make it all the way down here for last seconds heroics...early!
And so they simply run the ball a bit in order to get Matt Cofer in field goal position.
Cofer was the 49ers weak spot. He couldn't kick for shit.
If you wanted him to win the game, you had to get him at midfield at like the 8.
So this is what San Francisco does, and Cincinnati just calms down, just chilling, just waiting for overtime...
So there's 34 seconds left, and the 49ers at Cincinnati 10. Montana...goes BACK TO PASS?! WHAT IS THIS...
He throws over the middle?!!!
TOUCHDOWN TO JOHN TAYLOR!!!!!!
The fans go nuts, the Bengals can't believe what just happened.
20-16 San Francisco, and they win their third Super Bowl.
Sweet number three.
Lawrence Billups, Stanley Wilson, everyone on the Bengals feels like a jackass.
Rice won Super Bowl MVP.
Meanwhile Bill Walsh retires...for he had done what he previously had only envisioned and stubbornly held onto...he won a Superbowl by utilizing Jerry Rice to his West Coast Offense.
The jumping up and down in his mind could finally stop.
to be continued...