During the two weeks preceding the Super Bowl, I will be counting down the best Super Bowls I have witnessed in my lifetime, starting in 1988. I created a ranking system and will go game by game reliving each edition until the top Super Bowl is listed.
There might be a need to call a doctor, because the game we have here is a little lopsided. In fact, the crowning achievement for the San Francisco 49ers dynasty of the 80s was never in doubt. The Broncos ran into a steamroller on this January night in the Superdome and became the first team since the Vikings to lose four Super Bowls. The only reason the Louisiana Laugher is this high in the countdown is the appreciate for the 80s dynasty.
San Francisco 49ers 55, Denver Broncos 10
Semi-Lame Nickname: I really couldn't find one, so I guess I'll go with the one I used in the opening paragraph.
Historical Significance- 4.5: The 49ers were not only going for back-to-back titles, but their 4th of the decade. Bill Walsh had retired after the 49ers beat the Bengals the previous year and George Seifert had been hand-picked to come in and keep the train running. This would be the last time we saw the Montana-Rice combo on the grandest stage. The Broncos were in their second Super Bowl in 3 years but many were not giving Dan Reeves and John Elway a chance.
Game Enjoyment by the Fans- 2: The game was not a contest and the viewing public seemed to know it was going to happen. The game drew the lowest Neilsen rating since Super Bowl 3 in 1969.
High Profile Element- 3: Joe Cool was at the height of his skills. His years of experience and the weapons around him had them firing on all cylinders. They went 14-2 in the regular season with their losses by a combined 5 points. Rice and Taylor were still bringing their excellence at receiver, Brent Jones, Roger Craig, and Tom Rathman also highlighted the offense. The defense was stout as well, giving up the the 3rd fewest points in the league. Charles Haley, Bill Romanoski(rage!), and Matt Millen(before failsauce) held the linebacking core intact. Ronnie Lott was pretty decent in the backfield as well.
The Broncos had added some help on offense that year with Bobby Humphrey at RB and their rookie free safety Steve Atwater who would produce for years with the Broncos. Denver struggled in the regular season, with Elway throwing 18 TDs and INTs, but as the great ones do he stepped up his game in the playoffs leading them in wins over the Steelers and once again crushed the hopes and dreams of the Browns in the AFC CHampionship game.
Venue/Atmosphere- 3: This was the 7th Super Bowl in New Orleans. I've been to the city once and I will say that it is a great town to just let it fly and let loose. I was there post-hurricane so I don't know if it was that different than before but I saw it as more of a destination than a place of habitation. Aaron Neville crooned the national anthem and the halftime show was a salute to the 40th anniversary of the Peanuts cartoon. While I love the Peanuts theme Linus and Lucy, this was not one to blow the roof off the Superdome(too soon?). One thing I will say about this about the entertainment factor, this commercial rules:
Personal Enjoyment- 2: While I was a big Joe Montana fan when I was a kid, the game left a lot to be desired. The previous year the 49ers needed a dramatic comeback drive to beat the Bengals, but in this one it was over in the first quarter.
Cleet's Rating Index: 16
Where I was: I was only a 9 year-old when this game took place. Like I said I was a big Montana guy as a kid. I think this was a function of how the media was in those days. There was not the constant flow of media information there is now, so Joe was always there and I latched onto it. I did like his style and how he played of course, but to lay it out there I am no longer a 49ers fan.
What Happened In The World: 3 days after the game, the first McDonald's opened in Moscow. In post-soviet Russia, hamburgalar burgle you!
Record of Note: The 49ers scored 55 points and won by 45, both set records.
Game MVP: Joe Montana went 22 of 29 for 297 yards and 5 TDs.
LVP: John Elway went 10 of 26 for 108 yards and 2 picks.
Most Memorable Play: Pick a Montana to Rice score, there were 3.
NFL Fallout: The Broncos and Elway would not get their shot at redemption for 8 more years. Montana led the 49ers to a 14-2 record again in 1990 but they were upended by the Giants in the NFC Championship game. Montana would then undergo elbow surgery that would sideline him for 1991 and most of 1992. By then Steve Young had taken over the team and Montana was then traded to the Chiefs.