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The Road to Superbowl XIX: A Look at the Bay Area’s Most Unique Super Bowl

January 21-March 27

While the normal rotation of Super Bowl games usually fell to just a handful of major cities, the 1985 game was awarded to Stanford University, only the fourth college stadium to host a Super Bowl game, and giving the 49ers and their fans a hometown advantage. 

Aside from the highly anticipated battle between the two quarterback legends, Joe Montana and Dan Marino, the game would go down in NFL history as one of most unique Super Bowls for reasons off the field. The then sitting president Ronald Reagan flipped the coin toss by satellite from the oval office on his second inauguration day. Apple Computer who launched the Macintosh the previous year via halftime commercial, followed up their success with one of the most notoriously chastised commercials, now used in advertising classes as a “how not to.”  However, they redeemed themselves by providing a now collectable Apple seat cushion to help with the splintering, wooden bench issue. These and other quirky pieces of trivia coupled with an interesting comparison to how we view and experience the Super Bowl game today will be featured in this exhibit, along with one of a kind collectables, autographs, clothing, and a rare look at an actual Super Bowl championship ring. 

With cooperation from long-time and former 49er organization employees and Stanford University, this exhibit will look back at not only the highlights of the game and influential players, but the quirky challenges that the Stanford stadium and City of Palo Alto faced in their quest to host the biggest sporting event of the year.

Collaborators on this exhibit include: Former 49er Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and now archivist for the 49er Museum, Jerry Walker, Joe Hession, sports author and writer for the 49er Museum, Michael Olmsted, 49er Entertainment Director, Jim Steeg, former Director of NFL Super Bowls, Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News Sports Writer, Stanford University, Dave Newhouse, author of several 49er history books and the just released: “Founding 49ers: The Dark Days Before the Dynasty.” 

Courtesy of Jim Steeg. 

Courtesy of Jim Steeg.