The San Francisco 49ers have appeared in six Super Bowls over the last 35 years, and they have seen a mix of drama and blowouts. They escaped with a last minute win over the Cincinnati Bengals, they pounded the Denver Broncos. They held off the Cincinnati Bengals another year, and they stomped on the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos. For now, we'll avoid talking about that other game.....
As the Super Bowl approaches, NFL.com is taking a look back at the history of the Super Bowl. On Thursday, Gil Brandt and Elliot Harrison collaborated to rank all 48 Super Bowls. They ranked the Pittsburgh Steelers XIII victory over the Dallas Cowboys as the best Super Bowl, and the 49ers XXIV domination of the Broncos as the worst Super Bowl. I thought I would take a look at where they ranked all six 49ers Super Bowls, given the mix of drama and domination.
48. Super Bowl XXIV - 49ers 55, Broncos 10
Brandt: "The 55-10 game in New Orleans might have been the worst. The Broncos just didn't match up with the 49ers. They couldn't stop them."
44. Super Bowl XXIV - 49ers 49, Chargers 26
Brandt: "That Chargers club got off to a slow start and really shouldn't have even been there."
27. Super Bowl XIX - 49ers 38, Dolphins 16
Harrison: "The greatest offensive season in NFL history -- namely, Dan Marino's 5,084-yard campaign -- came to a resounding halt against the 49ers' quartet of Pro Bowlers in the secondary. For one season, Eric Wright, Ronnie Lott, Dwight Hicks and Carlton Williamson were as elite as any back four in NFL history. Their play, along with Joe Montana going 24-of-35 for 331 yards and three touchdowns, won the day."
14. Super Bowl XXIV - 49ers 26, Bengals 21
Brandt: "We had a guy we drafted in the ninth round, Mike Wilson out of Washington State, who made a big catch for San Francisco on the sideline in the second half. Otherwise, their offense couldn't squeeze a drop the whole second half.
"We were disappointed to not be there, of course. The final drive of the NFC Championship Game, they beat us utilizing their backs, Ricky Patton and (Lenvil) Elliott. Bill Walsh was smart. He saw us playing with five defensive backs and ran the ball. It was the right thing to do. Then you saw the play Eric Wright made on Drew Pearson, pulling him down from behind ... or he was gone. But they won the game, and then the Super Bowl."
13. Super Bowl XLVII - Ravens 34, 49ers 31
Harrison: Well, if two hot quarterbacks with polar-opposite styles, a 34-minute power outage and nearly a 22-point, second-half comeback don't interest you, maybe a faceoff between two head coaches who just happen to be brothers and a fourth-and-goal stop essentially settling the game will.
Super Bowl XLVII makes it into the top 15 by virtue of having one of the most exciting second halves ever. The final stretch was spectacular, and included a little controversy on that late four-down stop. (Was Michael Crabtree interfered with, or was that a good no-call?)
At the end of the day, the Ravens' win might not be up there with Super Bowl X, but it's not far behind, while being one of the better Super Sundays of recent vintage.
5. Super Bowl XXIII - 49ers 20, Bengals 16
Brandt: "The second of the Bengals-49ers Super Bowls was one of the best games. Of course there was the Montana play, but Tim Krumrie broke his leg, which changed the game. It was close throughout."
The four Super Bowls ahead of 49ers-Bengals included (from the No. 1): Steelers-Cowboys (XIII), Giants-Patriots (XLII), Jets-Colts (III), Giants-Bills (XXV).
These lists are entirely subjective, but the best Super Bowls are pretty easy to figure out. Although, I would contend the Jets-Colts Super Bowl has been overrated as a pure game by what it meant for the league. This was the game that really showed the AFL could compete, and I get the importance of that. But from a pure game perspective, it wasn't a particularly great game.
On the list, I would bump up Patriots-Rams. It was not a pretty game early on, but you had a great comeback, and the early Patriots lead was pretty stunning. Finishing off with a last second field goal only adds to it. That might be one reason 49ers-Ravens is further down. The first half was a snoozer to some extent, so I suppose its ranking depends on how you add in the second half.