Every year since 1967, the two (supposedly) best teams in football meet to determine that year’s NFL champion. Predictably, these games are usually close, hard-fought battles where the lead changes hands at least once. But then there are games like these, where one team so completely dominates the other you find yourself wondering how the losing team even got there in the first place. At least you’ve still got plenty of wings and beer.
5 1989: San Francisco 49ers Vs. Denver Broncos
The perennial Super Bowl whipping boys returned in January of 1990, this time for a beating from Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers. Montana became the first player in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP three times, completing 22 of 29 passes to score five touchdowns (also a Super Bowl record). The Broncos’ lone touchdown came during the second half, but most of the audience had already gone–Super Bowl XXIV scored the lowest Nielsen ratings since Super Bowl III in 1969. By the time the clock ran out on a 55-10 San Francisco victory, the players’ families were probably the only people still watching.
4 1987: Washington Redskins Vs. Denver Broncos
After the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Raiders, it took a few years for the Redskins to return to the Super Bowl, but when they did, they were out for blood. The Broncos went into the game a 3-point favorite and scored a touchdown on their first play from scrimmage. A field goal later, the Broncos led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter and it seemed the game was over–but nobody told the Redskins that. In the second quarter alone, Washington quarterback and MVP Doug Williams completed nine of 11 passes for four touchdowns. The Redskins’ 42 unanswered points shattered Super Bowl records and Denver hearts.
3 1985: Chicago Bears Vs. New England Patriots
The Chicago Bears hadn’t won an NFL championship since 1963, but in Super Bowl XX they made up for it with the 46-10 steamroller over the New England Patriots. The Bears’ domination was so complete, even defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry scored a touchdown. The record-breaking victory was fortunate; without it, that “Super Bowl Shuffle” video would’ve been far more embarrassing. The song itself gave the Bears yet another record: They are the only American professional sports team with a hit single.
2 1983: Washington Redskins Vs. L.A. Raiders
The Raiders had just completed their second season in L.A. The Redskins were defending Super Bowl champions with the best regular season record in the NFL. If this game was going to be one-sided, it probably should have gone in the other direction. And yet, the Raiders scored their first touchdown before the teams had even been playing for five minutes. In the first half, the Raiders scored on offense, on defense and on special teams, giving a new definition to the term “teamwork.” The 38-9 victory remains the most Super Bowl points ever scored by an AFC team. The Redskins went home to nurse their wounds.
1 1971: Dallas Cowboys Vs. Miami Dolphins
MVP Roger Staubach completed 12 of 19 passes for two touchdowns to lead the Cowboys to victory over the completely outmatched Miami Dolphins, 24-3. The Cowboys set Super Bowl records for most rushing yards and most first downs, while holding the Dolphins to a paltry field goal. Rumors the Miami team was kidnapped by a rogue pee wee football team have never been confirmed, and it seems probable a gang of scrappy 10-year-olds would’ve presented more of a challenge to the Cowboys than the beleaguered Dolphins.