MIAMI — Quarterback Steve Young, bedeviled by the legend of Joe Montana, threw himself into the record books Sunday with six touchdown passes and directed one of the most potent offenses in the 75-year history of the National Football League to a 49-26 Super Bowl XXIX victory over the San Diego Chargers.
Young, who began his professional football career with the USFL Los Angeles Express and who suffered through a 4-28 stretch with Tampa before becoming Montana's understudy, earned unanimous MVP honors before 74,107 fans in the first all-California Super Bowl.
"I wish everybody could have a chance to feel as I do right now," Young said.
Young, the only 49er not to play in San Francisco's 20-16 win over Cincinnati in Super Bowl XXII here in Joe Robbie Stadium, completed 24 of 36 passes for 325 yards and was the game's leading rusher with 49 yards on five carries.
"The way he has played, he has to be judged as one of the great quarterbacks of all time," said George Seifert, 49ers head coach. "I think the other thing that we should say is that I'm privileged to be part of an organization that has two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Joe Montana was phenomenal and set the standard, and Steve Young worked hard to maintain that standard."
The 49ers, who averaged 43.6 points in postseason play, found the end zone the first three times they had the ball and went on to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy for a record fifth time.
"This one is for dad," said club owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., whose father passed away recently. "This is a very, very important victory."
DeBartolo received a telephone call from President Clinton, but ABC-TV's Brent Musburger cut him off to interview Seifert.
In San Francisco, two men were shot and some 50 people were arrested Sunday night during violent celebrations after the victory. The wounded men were reported in stable condition.
In San Diego, fans were downcast but far from ashamed, given the fact the Chargers had not been picked to get to the Super Bowl, and were substantial underdogs to the 49ers.
Surfers took small portable televisions to the beach, and even a cat fanciers' show installed televisions so Charger faithful could check the progress of their heroes. At Jack Murphy Stadium, an estimated 15,000 fans watched the game on a 26-by-35-foot screen.
The 49ers, matching the fireworks that dominated pregame and halftime festivities, needed less time than it took Kathie Lee Gifford to sing the National Anthem to score the game's first touchdown. Wide receiver Jerry Rice, who required intravenous treatment for a sinus condition before the game, broke three Super Bowl records with a 44-yard touchdown reception one minute and 24 seconds into the first quarter. Rice now has the most touchdowns in Super Bowl history (seven), most points (42) and most receiving yards (512).
Rice suffered a slight shoulder separation in the second quarter, went to the locker room to receive an injection to numb the pain and returned to score two more touchdowns.
"I was not 100%, but I kept going with the attitude that I would make some plays," said Rice, who caught 10 passes for 149 yards. "This is something I will never forget."
The Chargers, this year's American Football Conference designated punching bag, never really had a chance to snap the National Football Conference's 11-year stranglehold on Super Bowl success. The Bolts, while electrifying the San Diego community with second-half comebacks against the Dolphins and Steelers, trailed 14-0 almost before the first TV timeout.
Charger safeties Darren Carrington and Stanley Richard, beaten by Rice on the 49ers' first touchdown, took turns bouncing off running back Ricky Watters, allowing him to go 51 yards with a scoring pass from Young with 10:05 remaining in the opening quarter.
San Diego Coach Bobby Ross, admittedly dazed from the pounding, said, "That's the best football team I have ever seen."
The 49ers jumped to a 28-10 halftime lead, struck for 14 more in the third quarter and were playing their third-string quarterback in the fourth quarter.
"I'm not mad," said Natrone Means, San Diego running back. "I'm ashamed."
The 49ers, who defeated the Chargers 38-15 on Dec. 11, showed an uncanny ability to work within the framework of the NFL salary cap.
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