No. 40: Super Bowl 1981 (XV) ‒ Forgettable
Raiders 27, Eagles 10 ‒ Boring. The Raiders jumped to an insurmountable 24-3 lead before the Eagles scored their first touchdown. The only drama came when Commissioner Pete Rozelle presented the Lombardi Trophy to his nemesis Al Davis. Both men were gracious. Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil left the game two seasons later.
No.39: Super Bowl 1994 (XXVIII) ‒ Snooze alarm
Cowboys 30, Bills 13 ‒ Emmett Smith, the game's MVP, ran the ball down the Bills throats. Buffalo was forced to play catch-up against Dallas defense. That was too much even for Jim Kelly to pull off. For fans of predictable outcomes, this game was heaven. For the rest, it was white noise for the party at your house.
No. 38: Super Bowl 1990 (XXIV) ‒ Snooze alarm
49ers 55, Broncos 10 ‒ I'd like to say something nice about Denver. They have a great view of the Rockies. How's that? I do not remember much about this game and doubt Broncos fans want to. The whole Montana vs. Elway thing never launched. The most interesting trivia in this blowout is that Steve Young made a game appearance for the 'Niners and Gary Kubiak made an appearance for the Broncos.
No. 37: Second AFL-NFL World Championship, 1968 (Super Bowl II) ‒ Watchable
Packers 33, Raiders 14 ‒ This was the battle of good vs. evil with the Raiders set up as the thuggish, uncouth, biker gang unworthy, in spite of their 13-3 record, to carry the cleats of the Packers, champions of the American Way. Alas, Green Bay kicker Don Chandler scored more points than the Raiders. Super Bowl II was Lombardi's last game as Packers coach. Green Bay slipped into a long decline. Lombardi and the Packers made the game watchable and we have a good excuse to write the name Daryle Lamonica one more time.
No. 36: Super Bowl 2006 (XL) ‒ Watchable
Steelers 21, Seahawks 10 ‒ The Seahawks looked like a team with no institutional memory of how to win a Super Bowl. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger was proof that young quarterbacks do not lead teams to Super Bowls, they are carried there (in case a certain team in New York is paying attention.) The NFL pitched the game as Jerome Bettis' farewell game in his home town Super Bowl. Bettis was the designated scorer, but Willie Parker was Pittsburgh's work horse back. We bought the hype anyway. Not that it mattered, but Seattle's Shaun Alexander was the league-leading rusher that season.
Roethlisberger's passing was of little help (22.6 rating). Antwaan Randle El threw more TD passes (1) than Big Ben. The game was never in doubt, but it was surprisingly good entertaining for the nostalgia value of another Steelers Super Bowl win.
No. 35: Super Bowl 1989 (XXIII) ‒ Watchable
49ers 20, Bengals 16 ‒ The Bengals returned to the Super Bowl with Boomer Esiason instead of Kenny Anderson. Paul Brown made a huge blunder not hiring Bill Walsh as Bengals head coach in 1975. Cincy signed Walsh disciple Sam Wyche as head coach in 1984 and by the '88 season the Bengals were humming as the top ranked team in scoring and yards per game. Esiason was league MVP and the Bengals had the superior record, but fan sentiment ran strongly for the 'Niners. The contest was tight. The teams locked for a 3-all tie at the half, striking fear of those dreadful Super Bowls of the 70s. The boredom was broken by the Bengals' third-quarter, 93-yard kick return, followed by a four-play 49ers drive that ended with a Montana to Rice TD pass.
Face value for Super Bowl tickets reached $100.00 for the first time. Outrageous.
No. 34: Super Bowl 1985, (XIX) ‒ Montana-Marino Mismatch
49ers 38, Dolphins 16 ‒ San Francisco dominated the '80s and the "mismatch" with the Dolphins didn't have much to do with Marino. Miami had little else to add to Marino to counter San Francisco's potent defense. The game played out as expected. Fans fell in love with Marino by this time and for years after expected a Super Bowl rematch. The 49ers would be back. The Dolphins gave way to the Bills and the Broncos.
No. 33: Super Bowl 1978 (XII) ‒ Just OK
Cowboys 27, Broncos 10 ‒ When Roger "The Dodger" Staubach was named starter in Dallas, Craig Morton moved on to Denver. Morton did nothing for Denver in this game to cause Dallas to regret losing him. Like all the Super Bowls in the 1970s, defense dominated. The NFL was about to change rules to make sure that sort of thing didn't continue.
No. 32: Super Bowl 1987 (XXI) ‒ Elway don't play defense, Part I
Giants 39, Broncos 20 ‒ Folks in Denver like to say that Mike Shanahan never won a Super Bowl without Elway, but Elway never won a Super Bowl without Shanahan. (Neither of them won without Terrell Davis.) This game was the first of John Elway's three losing Super Bowl efforts in the 1980s. And oh how they lost. Lawrence Taylor was the embodiment of Bill Parcells' vicious nature. The Giants defense was a clone of the '85 Bears. Denver had no defensive answer. As they would do many times that decade, the Broncos gave up big scores in bunches. Not the game we expected.
No. 31: Super Bowl 1988 (XXII) ‒ Elway don't play defense, Part II
Redskins 42, Broncos 10 ‒ Another players' strike. Another Redskins appearance. Elway and company were heavy favorites with Washington's turmoil at quarterback. Doug Williams was given the job late season when Joe Gibbs benched Jay Schroeder. The Broncos jumped to a 10-0 first quarter lead, then all hell broke loose. The 'Skins scored five touchdowns on five second quarter drives in five minutes of possession. Washington, um, "iced" the game with a fourth-quarter score.
Funny: Listening color commentators Dan Dierdorf and Frank Gifford struggle to keep the audience engaged with talk of a patented John Elway comeback. Funnier: the urban legend that Williams was asked, "How long have you been a black quarterback," during media week. Funniest: The 2000 movie, "The Replacements," was a fictionalized retelling of the Redskins' 1987 season. "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory...lasts forever."
Yesterday: The bottom seven Super Bowls.
Tomorrow: Super Bowl ranking from 30 to 21,