The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs will go in search of Super Bowl glory on February 22, but will one of them put on the performance of a lifetime to write their name in NFL folklore?
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The Chiefs, of course, boast an explosive offense that can produce fireworks in the blink of an eye, while the 49ers adopt a more old school approach with a punishing run game complemented by a dominant defense. Both methods have proven to be highly successful so far and both have been very impressive on the road to Super Bowl LIV.
But how do they stack up against the teams of the past? BettingPro.com’s resident NFL expert Leigh Copson has been looking back over the previous 53 Super Bowls to pick out his top five teams to have lifted the famous Vince Lombardi Trophy…
5). 2016 New England Patriots – Super Bowl LI
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (Photo by USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images)
When the Atlanta Falcons blitzed New England with 21 second-quarter points to take a commanding lead into half-time, you would have been forgiven for considering switching channels. When the Falcons led 28-9 going into the fourth many did just that and history suggested they were wise because no team had ever come back from 17 or more points down in the final quarter of a post-season game. History was wrong on this occasion and those who changed the channel missed a comeback for the ages. The Patriots reeled off 19 straight points to take ensure the Super Bowl would go into overtime for the first time ever, and Tom Brady & Co. then completed the mother of all comebacks when James White went in for the game-winning score.
4). 2013 Seattle Seahawks – Super Bowl XLVIII
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (Photo by The Olympian/ABACA/PA Images).
In some ways the 2013 Seattle Seahawks were a throwback – with an almost unstoppable running back providing the perfect assistance for a dominant defense that set the standard all season long. Seattle allowed just 14.4 points per game in a season where the league average was 23.4, while leading the league in points allowed, yards allowed and turnovers. When it mattered most they kept the Denver Broncos offense firmly in check, embarrassing Peyton Manning and Co. Having shattered offensive records throughout the season, the Broncos never got going and managed only eight points as they were humiliated, 43-8.
3). 1972 Miami Dolphins – Super Bowl VII
The 1972 Miami Dolphins achieved something no other team has managed – a perfect regular season followed by a Super Bowl success. So why are they not ranked number one? Don Shula’s boys enjoyed a soft schedule that season and did not dominate their opposition in the playoffs like our number one and number two picks did. They scraped past Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game and were considered underdogs for the Super Bowl against Washington despite their 100% record in the regular season. They did deliver, but they did not dominate like this lot…
2). 1989 San Francisco 49ers – Super Bowl XXIV
After leading the team to Super Bowl glory in 1988, Bill Walsh called time on his coaching career. Would that spark a San Francisco decline? Not a chance! Quarterback Joe Montana enjoyed a career-best season, star receiver Jerry Rice was in outstanding form the defense was almost impossible to crack. The Niners did drop a couple of games – by a total of just five points – but when it came to the win-or-bust scenario of the playoffs they were ruthless. A 55-10 Super Bowl rout of the Denver Broncos meant they out-scored their post-season opposition 126-26, cementing their status as one of the game’s greatest ever teams.
1). 1985 Chicago Bears – Super Bowl XX
Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears. (Photo by TNS/SIPA USA/PA Images)
Just like Marty McFly in Back to the Future, fans of the Chicago Bears would love to go back to 1985 because that team was utterly dominant. Aside from a single regular-season defeat at the hands of Miami, Da Bears were almost flawless all season long. They remain the only team to post back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs, having blanked the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams on their road to Super Bowl XX, and they were just as dominant in the end-of-season showpiece. The New England Patriots managed to put some points on the Superdome scoreboard, but this was as one-sided a Super Bowl as you will ever see thanks to the greatest defense in the history of football. And it was so one-sided, Bears head coach Mike Ditka was able bench his starters and let second and third-string players get a taste of the Super Bowl!