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  The Catch, The Stop And The Play Helped Propel The Niners To Their First Super Bowl Championship  
  Hacksaw Reynolds Made Big Plays That Launched A Football Dynasty:   February 8, 2024 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      It was Jan., 1982 when the San Francisco 49ers, owned by Eddie DeBartolo Jr., made their first appearance in the Super Bowl, played that year inside the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.
      It was just five years before, in 1977 when the Niners were purchased for $13 million by Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., who then turned over the team to his son, Eddie Jr.
      The early years of DeBartolo ownership were not the best of winning times for the Niners. In fact, coming into the Super Bowl, San Francisco was coming off 2-14 and 6-10 seasons.
      Enter Head Coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana (a 1979 third round draft pick out of Notre Dame) and the Niners began to turn things around.
      They finished the 1981 season with a 13-3 record, then earned the right to play in the Super Bowl when a Montana pass to Dwight Clark in the right corner of the end zone, dubbed ‘The Catch,’ propelled the Niners to 28-27 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC championship game.
      In Super Bowl XVI, the Niners squared-off against the Cincinnati Bengals and built one of the biggest halftime leads in the history of that game, 20-0.
      When the second half play began, Cincinnati quarterback Ken Anderson looked like a different man after a first half where he missed a bunch of passes while under heavy pressure from the Niners defense.
      Anderson led the Bengals on the opening drive of the third stanza on an 83-yard scoring march that concluded when the Bengals quarterback scrambled across the goal line from five yards out.
      And, the Cincinnati defense held the Niners to just four yards of total offense in the third quarter.
      Midway through the third, Cincinnati got a big break when Anderson lofted a third down, 49-yard pass to wide receiver Cris Collingsworth that gave the Bengals a first down on the Niners 14 yard line.
      But the Niners defense turned it up a notch, led by linebackers Jack ‘Hacksaw’ Reynolds and Dan Bunz
      With Cincinnati on the San Francisco one yard line, the Bengals called on their 250-lb. fullback, Pete Johnson. His second down run at the end zone was stopped when Reynolds and Bunz led a charge that bashed the fullback for no gain.
      On third down, Anderson went to the air, connecting with halfback Charles Alexander, who was stopped in his tracks by Bunz, inches short of the goal line. Nunz’s tackle has been memorialized in football lore as “The Stop.’
      Then, on fourth down, the Bengals went for the touchdown and again, Johnson was stopped in his tracks, short of the goal line, as Reynolds and Bunz led the charge again. That play remains known as ‘The Play.’
      The goal line stand gave the momentum back to the Niners, despite the fact they did not score a touchdown in the second half of thecontest.
      Cincinnati then came back in the final quarter and closed the score to 20-14 on an Anderson TD aerial.
      But the Niners answered on a Ray Wersching field goal, one of four he booted in the game. This one was from 40 yards out with 3:25 left in the game and from there, the outcome was never in doubt. Another Wersching field goal made it 26-14, before the Bengals added a TD in the waning moments of the game.
      Hacksaw led the Niners defense that game, making 16 tackles, including eight solo takedowns.
      “Jack gave us leadership and maturity and toughness and set an example for everybody...As strange a guy as he was, he really put us on the map. I think that single addition was the key to our success,” Head Coach Walsh said of his linebacker.
      That first San Francisco Super Bowl victory, to this day is heralded as “The Super Bowl win that launched a football dynasty.”
     
      PICTURED: THIS SUNDAY, THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ers will seek their sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history under the direction of owners Denise and John York, and their son, Jed, who is a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School. On Jan. 24, 1982, the Niners claimed their first of five titles with a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. While San Francisco moved out to a 20-0 halftime lead, the Bengals gained the momentum in the third quarter of the game and sought to close the Niners’ margin to 20-14 when they moved to the 1-yard line midway through the third stanza. Enter Jack ‘Hacksaw’ Reynolds, 64, a fierce linebacker who made two stops on Cincinnati fullback Pete Johnson on the one yard line to help preserve the Niners victory.
 
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