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Quickness Was on Walsh's Side, and Montana Has Sheriff at His

January 22, 1985|RICH ROBERTS | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Coach Bill Walsh knew before Sunday's Super Bowl that his 49ers had one edge over the Miami Dolphins.

"We were a little quicker on offense than they were on defense," he said Monday. "That's why we gave the green light to Joe (Montana) to run. We didn't think they could catch him."

The 49er quarterback ran five times for 59 yards and one touchdown in the 38-16 victory.

Nobody caught Montana during the game, but someone did afterward. She was tall, blonde and holding his hand when he strolled into a morning-after press conference 20 minutes late.

She is Jennifer Wallace, who plays the part of the sheriff in the shaving commercial she and Montana share. She'll soon become his third bride.

Montana and Wallace plan to live happily ever after in Los Angeles, closer to her career and his off-season endorsements.

Monday, they were honored during the city's 49er victory parade down Market Street, the last chapter in the home-cooked fairy tale complete with prince and princess and a National Football League kingdom for Walsh to survey.

There's always the question of how long a Super Bowl champion will reign. None has repeated since the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1980.

Montana said: "With the type of team we have now, I think we're capable of coming back year after year."

He said comparisons with history's great teams were entirely in order.

"The record (18-1) makes a comparison necessary," Montana said. "With the combination of our offense and defense, I'd take this team against anybody.

"I don't know why teams haven't repeated. There's obviously a letdown. Maybe we can block that out."

Montana, 28, has five years remaining on a contract that paid him $1.1 million with bonuses this season.

Walsh said: "A quick quarterback in this day and age is about a necessity."

That may sounded like a knock on Miami's stay-put Dan Marino, who was sacked four times and did not run at all, but Walsh later tried to smooth it over.

"We have to remind ourselves that yesterday at this time we were considering (Marino) the greatest passer of all time," Walsh said, looking at his watch. "He hasn't changed that much, so he didn't have to be mobile. Next year it could be completely reversed."

But Walsh also said the rest of the league must catch up with the 49ers.

"This offense would have to be considered the best in football at this point," he said. "This is a complete team because we can go to all 49 men and use all of them.

"We're certainly not projecting anything beyond winning this championship, but our staff just sat around the table this morning with two Super Bowl trophies sitting on it, philosophizing. It's a great feeling to know you've done it twice.

"It's a great personal satisfaction. It's easy to talk about it now because we have nobody to play next week. Usually you have to be so guarded."

Walsh said his plan Sunday centered on "a question of attacking them continuously and throwing their passing game out of sync. The coverage was much closer and tighter than they had been seeing."

The 49ers knew they had to put pressure on Marino, but they still opened the game using their standard three-man line.

Walsh said: "We thought we'd make a token appearance with a three-man line. We were ready to go with our four-man line. We knew it would take four pass rushers. You're obligated to go with four pass rushers because they throw 70% of the time."

They complemented that with six defensive backs and one linebacker, Keena Turner, who is strong on pass coverage.

As good as the 49er offense was, the defense was more impressive, permitting only one touchdown in three playoff games--that on Marino's short pass to tight end Dan Johnson for a 10-7 lead early in the game.

The only other touchdown scored against the 49ers in the playoffs was on an interception return by Giant linebacker Harry Carson. The 49ers shut out the Bears, 23-0.

Montana said: "I think our defense played as perfect as they could, especially against an offense like Miami's. I wouldn't want to be a defensive coordinator trying to stop our offense."

The Dolphins, like other teams playing the 49ers, had talked about the need to contain Montana's rollouts, but there seemed hardly any effort to contain him Sunday.

Montana said: "The reason I ran wasn't (because of defensive) breakdowns. I'd step up to throw and big holes would open up. When they double-covered and rushed three guys, big lanes open up . . . makes it kind of easy for me."

Montana grinned. "One time I was chasing one of their linebackers, who was chasing one of our guys.

"A lot of teams that have had success with us have backed off and tried to cover us. That's what they tried to do. They changed their fronts a little, but basically they did what we thought they would."

Walsh indicated that his top offensive and defensive assistants, Paul Hackett and George Seifert, respectively, may soon be leaving.

"I personally recommended them to each team that needed a coach," he said. "I'm sure by this afternoon there will be some direct contact."

The 49ers just missed a perfect season, losing to Pittsburgh, 20-17, after winning their first six games. Then they won 12 in a row.

"I would have liked to have seen a perfect season," Montana said, flashing his ring from Super Bowl XVI. "But 18-1 and another one of these, I'll take it."

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