This was originally published on Epinions.com.
These were the 49ers I grew up with. Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, Dwight Clark, Eric Wright, Fred Dean, Roger Craig, Ray Wershing, Dwaine Board, Randy Cross, Wendell Tyler, Tom Rathman, and countless others. I guess you could say that I’m a spoiled football fan. Let’s just say that I was nearing 5 years old when Dwight Clark made “The Catch”. I was only 7 years of age when Dan Marino nervously ran out of the tunnel and couldn’t beat Joe Cool. And I was not yet a teenager when Montana hit John Taylor in what Sam Wyche called “deja vu” to win Super Bowl XXIII. What about John Elway having a horrendous game compared to what Montana and Rice were doing in the Superdome in the super blowout? And lastly, I can remember like it was yesterday when Steve Young threw six touchdown passes in a rout against San Diego.
This two disc collection is a decent, albeit lazy collection of NFL films goodies. The basis of the collection is that for every year that the 49ers won the Super Bowl (1981, 1984, 1989, 1990, and 1994) there is a “Road To The NFL” documentary type piece and a 1/2 hour Super Bowl recap video. “The Road To The NFL” is a wacky look back at the season with Steve Sabol hosting the shows. I was never a fan of these shows, which are shown every year before the actual Super Bowl, because at times the footage is just boring. It’s not about showing the greatest plays, or the best players. Sabol tries to tell a story of the season in an hour and it feels like a lot is missed. Sabol does get points for the great production though. In nearly every “Road To The Super Bowl” Sabol says how many miles of tape was used to shoot all the footage and it is just amazing how much footage is shot compared to what is actually used. The shots are excellent and you can tell it’s Sabol’s baby. It’s just not always exciting.
Joe Cool Being Cool
As for the Super Bowl recap videos, you’ve seen them all before. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t superb. They are the great NFL films produced videos that come out at the end of every year. In fact, just based on watching ESPN a lot as a youngster, I might’ve seen the Super Bowl XVI video about 10 times. I’ve seen the famous goal line stand where the 49ers stopped Kenny Anderson and company so many times, but the video is so great that I still get chills. In the earlier videos like for Super Bowl XVI and XIX, the footage is more raw, less produced and seems to be more in your face than the later, more slick videos. Also, they actually diagram the bigger plays in the game, which was probably technologically advanced in 1981, where as they don’t do it much in the later on videos.
The video package for Super Bowl XIX played up the Joe Montana vs. Dan Marino angle for all it was worth. Both men were at the top of their game, but it was Joe Cool who came out on top. I can remember my dad screaming at the television during the introductions that Dan Marino was glassy eyed and nervous and that he knew then, the 49ers were going to win. And win they did.
Though it took them five years to get back to the Super Bowl, the 1989 49ers were possibly the most underacheiving of all their Super Bowl teams. The crazy talk of Steve Young vs. Joe was just starting and there were some people calling for Steve to become the man. But Montana helped bring the 49ers back to greatness by reeling off 4 wins in a row to close out the year and then won 3 more games in a row, beating the Cincinnatti Bengals (again) to narrowly win the Super Bowl. This might’ve been the greatest video of them all because of the insane drama in that game. It was the perfect set up for Joe Montana to win the game as the 49ers were down by 3 with three minutes left and Montana took them all the way down the field, hitting John Taylor to win the game. They even added the local radio call, which was Lon Simmons narrating the touchdown to John Taylor.
The last two videos weren’t all that great, mostly because the game were super blowouts, and there wasn’t much story to either game since the 49ers were above and beyond the best team in the league. In Super Bowl XXIV, they tried to make it Joe vs. John Elway, but Elway didn’t cooperate as he had a horrible game and the 49ers won 55-10. At the beginning of the game, my father bet me $20 and he gave me fifty points. He said the 49ers were going to blow the Broncos out and if John Elway didn’t score their only touchdown on a quarterback draw, I would’ve lost the bet.
Watch Out For The Wooo Hit
The real story for Super Bowl XXIX was actually in the game before where the 49ers finally beat the Dallas Cowboys to advance to the Super Bowl thwarting the Cowboys’ three-peat. Eddie DeBartolo went all out to beat the Cowboys signing everyone under the sun, including “Prime Time” Deion Sanders and after they beat the Cowboys, the Super Bowl was actually quite secondary. The San Diego Chargers’ best player was linebacker Junior Seau and on offense, they didn’t really have any stars. To say San Diego was overmatched is an understatement. The focus of the video was Steve Young breaking a record by throwing 6 touchdown passes and Jerry Rice making minced meat out of San Diego’s secondary.
There are some NFL films produced profiles on several of the players including Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, and Steve Young and a few other profiles on the teams. But if you’re looking for new video packages, new interviews, full actual games, and an overall package fit for the Team of the 80’s, then you found the wrong DVD. Instead, it’s a nice summary of the Super Bowls and good nostalgia with the old NFL films footage.
Get it if you want to watch it once, but don’t expect to be popping it year after year.