I remember this game fairly well as a nine-year old who was already sports junky and loved football and football was probably already my favorite sport to watch. I remember looking forward to this game and then watching it. The two best teams in the NFL the Dolphins and 49ers, with the two best quarterbacks in Dan Marino and Joe Montana. And arguably the two best head coaches as well in Don Shula and Bill Walsh. Similar to 1983 with the Redskins and Oakland Raiders, this looked like a real Super Bowl matchup between two great teams. And if you’re familiar with football and this game, you also know that games aren’t played on paper and the game didn’t live up to the billing.
The difference in this Super Bowl, is that the 49ers were truly a great team. On both sides of the ball. They had the best defense in the league in the NFL in 1984. They had a great quarterback, with a lot of good receivers. Dwight Clark, Freddie Solomon, Earl Cooper and others. And a great running game as well. Their running game might have been better than their passing game. If you look at the fact that they had two Pro Bowl running backs in their backfield. In Wendell Tyler and Roger Craig. And that Roger Craig, who should be in the Hall of Fame was also a great receiver and perhaps the 49ers best receiver and a great blocker as well. The 84 49ers, you could make a case that they are the best team of all-time in the NFL.
The 1984 Dolphins, I believe were actually somewhat underrated. They weren’t a one man team with Dan Marino with a great coach in Don Shula. With no running game and no defense. They had a very good offensive line, which allowed Marino to throw the ball as much as he did and gave him the time to throw the ball as well as he did. They did have a running game at least in 84. With Woody Bennet and Tony Nathan. But losing Andra Franklin, who would’ve given them that one lead running back and a power running game was a big lost for them. And without Franklin, they didn’t have that one great running back that could put the team on his shoulders and lead them. And defensively, they gave up a lot of yards on the ground. But teams ran the ball a lot against the Dolphins in 84 to keep the Dolphins offense off the field. And the Dolphins were solid against the pass.
What I think the difference in this game is that the 49ers again were great on both sides of the ball. They ran and threw the ball very well. They had a very good strong and athletic offensive line. That pass and run blocked very well. They had a great QB obviously and also had a great defense. The best defense that the Dolphins saw during the 84 season, was against the 49ers. Who practically shut them down after the first quarter in this game. And then add that the Dolphins didn’t have a lot of speed on defense to matchup with all the 49ers receivers and had a hard time getting to Montana most of the game and the 49ers ran the ball so well in this game, meant the 49ers could move the ball up and down the field in this game. And as a result this game turned into a blowout.