A quickie quiz on the Super Bowl:
What was the highest-rated Super Bowl telecast?What was the last Super Bowl decided by a touchdown or less?
What was the only Super Bowl played in the North?
What was the only Super Bowl in which the loser had more yards than the winner?
A hint: One answer fits all.
It was the Super Bowl that first matched the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals, who also happen to be the teams who will be matched in Super Bowl XXIII Jan. 22 in Miami:
Super Bowl XVI in Pontiac, Mich., Jan. 24, 1982.
Somehow, it's not one to stir your memory, no more now than it seemed in the days leading up to the game.
Neither San Francisco nor Cincinnati were exactly football powers. Until that season, the 49ers hadn't had a winning season in five years, the Bengals in four, and even though each posted the best record in its conference, neither was expected to make it to the Super Bowl.
Neither did Pontiac, a frozen suburb of Detroit, seem to fit the family of Super Bowl cities. In fact, a big attraction was a full-size replica of a landmark from a more familiar setting: New Orleans' Bourbon Street.
Nevertheless, the game would be a milepost in Super Bowl history.
The 49ers' 26-21 victory ended American Conference domination that had accounted for 11 of the 13 previous NFL championships. Only the Los Angeles Raiders since then have brought the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to an AFC home.
The game gave rise to Joe Montana as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, stamped Bill Walsh as one of the best coaches ever and began the 49ers' climb to Team of the Decade.
It also was a darned good game.
It featured an epic goal-line stand in which the 49ers stopped the Bengals three times from 1 yard out, twice with only 10 players when the defense got its signals crossed because of noise in the Silverdome.
It saw the Bengals rally from a 20-0 halftime deficit, then a Super Bowl record, and actually outgain the 49ers 356 yards to 275.
It saw the Bengals get inside the San Francisco 10 six times only to come away with just three touchdowns.
The margin was the fourth-closest in Super Bowl history, the closest if you don't count the Dallas Cowboys, who lost by four points twice to the Pittsburgh Steelers and three points to the Baltimore Colts.
In six Super Bowls since, the average score has been 38-12, the closest being Washington's 27-17 victory over Miami in 1983.