75 for 75: Young Secures Place in History

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"75 for 75" is an article series from the 49ers Museum highlighting legendary moments in 49ers history as part of the team's 75th Anniversary celebrations in 2021.

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January 29, 1995

After waiting in the wings for several years behind Joe Montana, Steve Young seized the opportunity to display his skill on football's biggest stage. He performed flawlessly at Super Bowl XXIX, firing a record six touchdown passes in San Francisco's 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

Kathie Lee Gifford had barely finished the final notes of the National Anthem when the offensive fireworks began. The 49ers took the opening kickoff and needed just three plays to find the end zone. Less than a minute into the game, Young set the tone when he zipped a 44-yard scoring dart to Jerry Rice.

On their second possession, the 49ers scored in four plays. This time Young tossed a pass to running back Ricky Watters, who slipped behind the Chargers linebackers. Watters flashed his speed and agility, bouncing off a pair of San Diego defensive backs then rambling another 25 yards to finish off the 51-yard score.

In the opening five minutes of Super Bowl XXIX, Young was a one-man wrecking crew. Amazingly, he threw for 112 yards and two scores while rushing for another 21 yards. San Francisco needed just seven offensive plays to post a 14-0 lead.

"The offense was amazing," guard Jesse Sapolu said. "We were in sync. It was like a symphony with Steve Young conducting and everybody playing their role. We couldn't be stopped. When we didn't score we were disappointed."

Under Young's direction, the 49ers steamrolled down the field. The offense generated seven touchdowns, 28 first downs and 455 total yards. Young did the heavy lifting. He completed 24 of 36 throws for 325 yards, and was the game's leading ground gainer with 49 yards on five carries. He broke Montana's record of five touchdown passes set in Super Bowl XXIV. To the surprise of no one, Young was named MVP.

"I'd never thrown six touchdown passes in a game in my life," Young said. "To throw six in the Super Bowl! Unbelievable. It was the kind of team performance, under the pressure of the Super Bowl, you had to feel good about."

Of course, Young had help from the greatest receiver of all time. Rice caught 10 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. And Watters scored three times while racking up 108 combined yards. Rice and Watters became the first Super Bowl tandem to each score three touchdowns in a game.

The defense also did its part. The Chargers managed just 67 rushing yards. 49ers defensive backs Deion Sanders, Toi Cook and Eric Davis each picked off a pass, while defensive linemen Dana Stubblefield, Dennis Brown and Tim Harris chipped in with sacks.

In the game's aftermath, Chargers coach Bobby Ross had nothing but praise for the 49ers. "You don't run into teams like that very often," he said. "Their execution was unbelievable. They were operating on another level."

More importantly, the 49ers carved a place in football history by becoming the first NFL team to win five Super Bowls.

"To win a championship when those are the expectations is tough," head coach George Seifert said. "Yet, that makes it more rewarding. This team had a chance to be part of history. They accepted that challenge and they did it."

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