Super Bowl XIX was my most memorable football championship. The game was played at Stanford Stadium on January 20, 1985 and pitted Joe Montana’s San Francisco 49ers against Dan Marino’s Miami Dolphins. I actually followed American football back then, so I had no doubt that the 49ers would prevail. Montana was just that good.
It wasn’t the game that made the memory, but the party. I was Maitre d’ at one of the country’s best restaurants at the time and Tony Gillis, the head bartender who was originally from South Africa, invited me to his annual bust up. He lived in an apartment on Monastery Lane and one 30-foot long banner, extending the length of the building’s front entrance, exhorted the Dolphins to victory. I went in the rear way because I appreciated the 30-foot 49ers banner that was draped along the rooftop there.
I barely had time to remove my coat when I was literally tackled by six guys. I weighed but 155 pounds at the time, but I was still as strong as an ox, so they had a fight to wrestle me to the ground. Two guys held my arms, two held my legs, and one my head. Tony blackened a cork with a candle and drew two wide charcoal smudges under my eyes. They let me up.
The living room was even more fun, festooned with banners and photos. The night before the game, Tony, his roommate, and a half dozen friends had decended on the Halifax Commons and dismantled one set of bleachers near the softball field. They carried it, piece by piece, for 10 blocks and reassembled it in his living room. It was brilliant. I grabbed one of the seats up high—in the nosebleed section. My head brushed against the ceiling. The game at Gillis Stadium was sold out and they soon filled the bleachers. Latecomers were SRO.
It was too funny. The game wasn’t close, 38-16 and it became clear that the 49ers were the better team by the second quarter.
But I’ll never forget that Superbowl.
I never heard any reports about stolen bleachers from the Halifax Commons, so I assumed they were returned.