The Super Bowl is just 28 days away. Let’s look at the Super Bowl from 28 years ago to honor this not that significant occasion!
Louisiana’s Superdome hosted Super Bowl XXIV on January 28, 1990. The game pitted the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers against the Denver Broncos of the American Football Conference. The 49ers were looking to defend their World Championship and attempting to win their fourth Super Bowl in nine seasons. The Broncos captured their third AFC championship in the last four seasons. However, they were still seeking that elusive first Super Bowl championship.
San Francisco 49ers 28 Years Ago
The 1989 49ers were simply awesome. In fact, it could be argued that they were one of the five greatest teams in NFL history. This team had no weaknesses. Their top-ranked offense and third-ranked defense only lost twice on the season (by a combined 5 points). They were undefeated on the road and they embarrassed their two playoff opponents. When they beat the LA Rams in the NFC Championship game 30-3, they went to the Super Bowl for more of a coronation rather than a game.
Denver Broncos 28 Years Ago
While the NFC was a cakewalk, the AFC was ultra-competitive. Denver earned the top seed. Once again, Dan Reeves and John Elway led a team full of heart and effort. They were not great on offense. But, when the game was on the line, Elway was clutch city.
They were great on defense, however. Wade Phillips had three Pro Bowlers: safety Dennis Smith, tackle Greg Kragen, and linebacker Karl Mecklenberg. Also, they had a great rookie free safety by the name of Steve Atwater.
In the playoffs, Denver came back to beat Pittsburgh, 24-23 and were never threatened in a 37-21 triumph over Cleveland. It was the third time in four seasons that the Broncos dispatched the Browns from the playoffs.
Going into Super Bowl XXIV, nobody gave Denver a chance to win. It turned out worse…much, much worse than could ever been expected. The Dolphins of the ‘70s won their Super Bowls with a boring, soul-sucking attack. The Steelers of the ‘70s won their Super Bowls with a litany of skill-players on both sides of the ball. There were the Cowboys of the ‘90s and their incredible offensive line and speed on defense.
In Super Bowl XXIV, the 49ers brought all of the above to the table and one could never have thought they were watching the TWO best football teams in the league. San Francisco scored 8 touchdowns on the day! Joe Montana pitched a perfect game, throwing for five scores in the process. Jerry Rice scored three times. The defense allowed just 167 total yards and caused four turnovers. The result: 55-10.
John Elway played a terrible game. But, he would be back. He won his first Super Bowl eight years later, a true testament to his character.
Likewise, the 49ers would win their next Super Bowl five years later. But, Montana would not be a part of that team.
Tomorrow, we’ll see how the 49ers’ efforts at a “three-peat” were thwarted. Also, we’ll get to know a feisty group from upstate New York. Super Bowl XXIV was a rout of epic proportions. Super Bowl XXV was an all-time classic.
Brandon Fazzolari is a Super Bowl expert…@spot_Bills