The NFL's Antiquity
Super Bowl 50 was an American football game to determine the champion of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2015 season. The American Football Conference (AFC) champions Denver Broncos defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champions Carolina Panthers, 24–10. The game was played on February 7, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California (located in the San Francisco Bay Area). As this was the 50th Super Bowl game, the league emphasized the "golden anniversary" with various gold-themed initiatives during the 2015 season, as well as suspending the tradition of naming each Super Bowl game with Roman numerals (under which the game would have been known as "Super Bowl L"), so the logo could prominently feature the Arabic numerals 50.
The Panthers finished the regular season with a 15–1 record, racking up the league's top offense, and quarterback Cam Newton was named the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP). They defeated the Arizona Cardinals 49–15 in the NFC Championship Game and advanced to their second Super Bowl appearance since the franchise began playing in 1995. The Broncos finished the regular season with a 12–4 record, bolstered by having the league's top defense. The Broncos defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots 20–18 in the AFC Championship Game joining the Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, and Pittsburgh Steelers as one of four teams that have made eight appearances in the Super Bowl. This record would later be broken the next season, in 2017, when the Patriots advanced to their ninth Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl LI.
The Broncos took an early lead in Super Bowl 50 and never trailed. Denver recorded seven sacks and forced four turnovers. Carolina likewise kept pace by recording five sacks and forcing two turnovers. Denver linebacker Von Miller was named Super Bowl MVP. This game was also the final game of Peyton Manning's career; the Broncos quarterback, who also won Super Bowl XLI, announced his retirement in March 2016.
CBS' broadcast of the game was the third most-watched program in American television history with an average of 111.9 million viewers. The network charged an average of $5 million for a 30-second commercial during the game. It remains the highest-rated program in the history of CBS. The Super Bowl 50 halftime show was headlined by Coldplay, with special guest performers Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.
For the third straight season, the number one seeds in the NFC and AFC, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, met in the Super Bowl. The game also featured the league's top scoring offense (Panthers) against the league's top defense (Broncos). The Panthers became the 10th team since 1960 to have lost just one game during the regular season, and the sixth team ever to have a 15–1 record. It was their second Super Bowl appearance; the other was Super Bowl XXXVIII. The Broncos became the fourth team to have eight Super Bowl appearances. It was their second appearance in three years, having also reached Super Bowl XLVIII. Coincidentally, John Fox was the head coach of each team in their previous Super Bowl appearance.
Nine months after their humiliating defeat at the hands of the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, the Bears claimed their revenge by sacking Joe Montana a then-career high seven times. In return for 49ers coach Bill Walsh’s idea of sending in lineman Guy McIntyre in as fullback the season before, Mike Ditka sent in rookie William Perry, but as a runner, rather than a blocker. Shortly after the game and the flight back to Chicago, Ditka was arrested for DWI.
This was the Bears’ last victory at Candlestick Park. and their last win at San Francisco until 2014 at Levi's Stadium.
October 13, 1985
Start Time: 4:00pm
Stadium: Candlestick Park
Jan. 8, 1989
Their second NFC championship game of the decade was played in ''Bear weather,'' 17 degrees and wind gusts up to 30 miles an hour.
The 49ers turned it into a gentle bay breeze, with Montana finding Rice twice for touchdowns in the first half. After completing 17 of 27 passes and another touchdown to John Frank, Montana`s performance was called by Walsh
''his greatest game under the conditions.''
McMahon was starting his first game since a knee injury Oct. 29. He completed 14 of 29 passes before he was replaced by Tomczak in the fourth quarter. It was McMahon`s second playoff loss in Soldier Field in two years, and though it was his first loss to the 49ers in four starts, it turned out to be his final Chicago appearance in a Bear uniform.
The 49ers had helped mold and end an era. They went on to win their third Super Bowl.
''You have to look at it this way: Personnel-wise, they`re a little better than us,'' Ditka said. ''It will be a tough road back, but we`ll be back. It`s not the end of the world.''
Just the end of the decade. The Bears aren`t back yet and the 49ers never went anywhere. For the first time, their game Sunday means nothing to either team.
The 1980 NFC Championship Game was the shining moment of the Dick Vermeil era in Philadelphia. The game, played at the Vet against the hated Cowboys propelled the Eagles into Super Bowl XV. Played on January 11, 1981 , a team that featured Ron Jaworski as QB and Vince Papale on Special Teams. Nostalgia plus action plus Eagles glory, as they took down their rivals, the Dallas Cowboys.
at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Game time: 12:30 p.m. EST
Game weather: 17 °F (−8 °C), sunny, breezy
Game attendance: 71,522
Referee: Jerry Markbreit
TV announcers (CBS): Pat Summerall (play-by-play) and Tom Brookshier (color commentator)
Although Philadelphia quarterback Ron Jaworski completed only nine of 29 passes for 91 yards and was intercepted twice, running back Wilbert Montgomery led the Eagles to a victory by rushing for 194 yards and a touchdown. Dallas had been the highest scoring team in the NFL during the regular season, but against the Eagles defense, they could only gain 206 yards and score a single touchdown. They also fumbled five times, losing three of them.
Dallas was forced to a three and out on their opening drive, and the kick from quarterback Danny White (who also served as the team's punter) went just 26 yards before John Sciarra returned it to the Cowboys 42-yard line. One play later, Montgomery scored on a 42-yard rushing touchdown. The Eagles earned themselves chances to score on their next two drives. However, they were stopped both times and their special teams unit failed to capitalize. First, they drove to the Dallas 23-yard line, only to have Tony Franklin's field goal attempt blocked by Dallas cornerback Aaron Mitchell. Then they drove to the Cowboys 16-yard line, where Harvey Martin sacked Jaworski on third down and a high snap on the field goal try sailed right through Jaworski's hands.
Midway through the second quarter, White, who had been held to negative passing yardage, finally got the Cowboys going on a 10-play, 68-yard drive, completing an 18-yard screen pass to Tony Dorsett and a 12-yarder to Drew Pearson before Dorsett wrapped it up with a 3-yard touchdown run to tie the game. The score would remain 7–7 at halftime, due to another blown scoring chance by the Eagles when Jaworski's touchdown pass to Harold Carmichael was canceled out by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on guard Woody Peoples.
In the third quarter, the first turnover of the game occurred when Philadelphia's Billy Campfield recovered a fumbled punt return from James Jones. Dallas quickly took the ball back with Anthony Dickerson's interception, but they only held on for a few plays before White lost a fumble due to a massive hit from Carl Hairston, which defensive end Dennis Harrison recovered on the Dallas 11-yard line to set up Franklin's 26-yard field goal. Dallas seemed to be in position to respond when tight end Jay Saldi made a leaping catch on the Eagles 40-yard line for a 28-yard gain, White's longest completion of the day. On the next play rookie cornerback Roynell Young stripped the ball from Dorsett, and linebacker Jerry Robinson returned it 22 yards to the Dallas 38-yard line. Six plays later, running back Leroy Harris scored a 9-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a 17–7 lead. Later on, Montgomery's 55-yard carry put the Eagles in position to put the game away, but Mitchell kept Dallas' chances alive by intercepting a pass from Jaworski in the end zone.
Despite the interception, the Cowboys' offense was still unable to move the ball. For the rest of the game, the Cowboys never made it into Eagles territory, and after Philadelphia put together a 62-yard drive to score the final points of the game on Franklin's 20-yard field goal with 2:10 remaining, Young intercepted a pass from White on their final play of the game with 30 seconds remaining.
The Eagles, as the home team, elected to wear their road white jerseys instead of their home green jerseys so as to force Dallas to wear their rarely used blue jerseys rather than their familiar white jerseys; through the years, the Cowboys' blue jerseys were said to be jinxed since they often lost wearing them – especially in Super Bowl V. This would be the last game in which the Cowboys wore their royal blue jerseys; in 1981, they debuted a new navy blue uniform with a significantly different and darker shade of blue than that still used for the numbers on their white jerseys.
Montgomery finished with more all-purpose yards (208) then the entire Cowboys offense. This was the first time Dallas had ever allowed an opposing player to rush for over 100 yards in team postseason history. This would be the Eagles' last playoff victory until the 1992 season. Super Bowl XV began a five-game postseason losing streak for the franchise.
Super Bowl XII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1977 season. The Cowboys defeated the Broncos 27–10 to win their second Super Bowl. The game was played on January 15, 1978, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. This was the first time that the Super Bowl was played in a domed stadium, and the first time that the game was played in prime time in the Eastern United States.
The game pitted Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach against their former quarterback, Craig Morton. Led by Staubach and the Doomsday Defense, Dallas advanced to its fourth Super Bowl after posting a 12–2 regular season record and playoff victories over the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. The Broncos, led by Morton and the Orange Crush Defense, made their first Super Bowl appearance after also posting a 12–2 regular-season record and postseason wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders.
The Cowboys defense dominated most of Super Bowl XII, forcing eight turnovers and allowing only eight pass completions by the Broncos for just 61 yards. Two of those interceptions led to 10 first-quarter points. Denver's longest play of the game was just 21 yards, which occurred on their opening drive. Dallas expanded its lead to 20–3 in the third quarter after wide receiver Butch Johnson made a diving catch in the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown reception. Denver cut the lead down to ten, 20–10, after an ineffective Morton was replaced by Norris Weese late in the third period, but the Cowboys put the game out of reach in the fourth when fullback Robert Newhouse threw a 29-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option play to receiver Golden Richards.
For the first and only time, two players won Super Bowl MVP honors: defensive tackle Randy White and defensive end Harvey Martin. This was also the first time that a defensive lineman was named Super Bowl MVP.
The NFL awarded Super Bowl XII to New Orleans on March 16, 1976 at the NFL owners meetings held in San Diego.  It would be the first of seven Super Bowls (as of 2017) to be played in the Superdome, though it was not the first one scheduled in the Superdome; Super Bowl IX was scheduled to be played there, but construction delays forced it to be played at Tulane Stadium.
The Cowboys earned their second trip to the Super Bowl in three years by defeating the Chicago Bears, 37–7, and the Minnesota Vikings, 23–6, in the playoffs. Their "Doomsday Defense" proved as dominant as ever in those two games, forcing 7 turnovers against Chicago and 4 against the Vikings.
Meanwhile, the Broncos earned their first ever trip to the Super Bowl in team history by defeating the two previous league champions: the Pittsburgh Steelers, 34–21, and the Oakland Raiders, 20–17, in the playoffs. This made Morton the first quarterback to start a Super Bowl game for two different franchises (Kurt Warner was the second with St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals, and Peyton Manning was the third with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos). Morton is also the only quarterback to have started two different franchises' first Super Bowl appearances.
This was the final Super Bowl in the 14-game schedule era. The following season, the NFL went to a 16-game schedule, where it has remained since.
Super Bowl XIV was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Los Angeles Rams and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1979 season. The Steelers defeated the Rams by the score of 31–19, becoming the first team to win four Super Bowls. The game was played on January 20, 1980, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and was attended by a Super Bowl record 103,985 spectators. This also became the first Super Bowl where the game was coincidentally played in the home market of one of the participants, as Pasadena is about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Downtown Los Angeles.
The Rams became the first team to reach the Super Bowl after posting nine wins or fewer during the regular season since the NFL season expanded to 16 games in 1978. Their 9–7 regular season record was followed by postseason wins over the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers were the defending Super Bowl XIII champions, and finished the 1979 regular season with a 12–4 record, and posted playoff victories over the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Oilers.
Super Bowl XIV was a close game during the first three quarters. The Rams led 13–10 at halftime before Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw connected with wide receiver Lynn Swann on a 47-yard touchdown pass. Los Angeles regained the lead on a halfback option play with running back Lawrence McCutcheon's 24-yard touchdown pass to Ron Smith. But Pittsburgh controlled the fourth quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points with Bradshaw's 73-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Stallworth, and running back Franco Harris' 1-yard touchdown run. Despite throwing three interceptions, Bradshaw was named Super Bowl MVP by completing 14 of 21 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
In the playoffs, the Rams avenged the previous year's NFC Championship Game shutout loss to the Dallas Cowboys by beating them 21–19. Then they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game, 9–0, scoring only three field goals.
Meanwhile, the Steelers went on to defeat the Miami Dolphins, 34–14, and the Houston Oilers, 27–13, in the playoffs. During those two playoff games, the Pittsburgh defense limited running backs Larry Csonka and Earl Campbell, respectively, to a combined total of only 35 rushing yards. Campbell was the league's rushing leader during the regular season with 1,697 yards, but could only gain 15 yards against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
The 1969 NFL Championship Game was the 37th and final championship game prior to the AFL–NFL merger, played January 4, 1970, at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb south of Minneapolis. The winner of the game earned a berth in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans against the champion of the American Football League.
The Minnesota Vikings of the Western Conference hosted the Cleveland Browns of the Eastern Conference. It was the Vikings' first appearance in the title game, while the Browns were making their second straight appearance and fourth of the 1960s.
Minnesota had a regular season record of 12–2, including a 51–3 defeat of the Browns eight weeks earlier on November 9. The Vikings defeated the Los Angeles Rams 23–20 in the Western Conference championship a week earlier at Met Stadium. They were coached by Bud Grant and led on offense by quarterback Joe Kapp and wide receiver Gene Washington. The defense allowed only 133 points (9½ per game) during the regular season and their four defensive linemen were known as the "Purple People Eaters."
Cleveland was 10–3–1 during the regular season and had upset the Dallas Cowboys 38–14 at the Cotton Bowl for the Eastern Conference title. The Browns were coached by Blanton Collier; Bill Nelsen was the starting quarterback and Gary Collins and Paul Warfield were star wide receivers for the team.
Although not as severe as the "Ice Bowl" of 1967, the weather conditions were bitterly cold at 8 °F (−13 °C), with a sub-zero wind chill factor. Cleveland linebacker Jim Houston suffered frostbite during the game and was hospitalized.
Minnesota was favored by nine points to win the title game at home, and they won, 27–7.
Of the four NFL teams that joined the league during the AFL era (1960s), Minnesota was the sole winner of a pre-merger NFL championship. The Dallas Cowboys entered the league in 1960 and lost two NFL title games to the Green Bay Packers, in 1966 and 1967. The expansion Atlanta Falcons (1966) and New Orleans Saints (1967) did not qualify for the postseason until 1978 and 1987, respectively.
The Vikings would go on to lose Super Bowl IV 23-7 to the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs. Starting with the 1970 season, the NFL champion was determined in the Super Bowl, beginning with Super Bowl V.
Cleveland had lost the previous season's NFL title game 34–0 at home, and this time fared little better. The Vikings dominated the game, racking up 381 yards with no turnovers, while Cleveland gained just 268 yards and turned the ball over three times.
The Vikings took a lead just four minutes into the first quarter, driving 70 yards for a touchdown in 8 plays. The key play of the drive was a pass from Joe Kapp to receiver Gene Washington that was nearly 5 yards short of the mark. Despite the short throw, Washington was able to come back and haul it in for a 33-yard gain to the Browns' 24-yard line. Two plays later, Dave Osborn's 12-yard run moved the ball to the 7. Then two plays after that, Bill Brown accidentally slipped and bumped into Kapp while moving up to take a handoff, but Kapp simply kept the ball himself and ran it 7 yards for a touchdown.
The situation never got any better for Cleveland. The next time Minnesota got the ball, defensive back Erich Barnes slipped while in one on one coverage with Washington, enabling him to catch a pass from Kapp and take off for a 75-yard touchdown completion. Barnes had been knocked down by linebacker Jim Houston, his teammate, and this made the score 14-0 after only a few seconds more than 7 minutes of play. Near the end of the first quarter, Browns running back Leroy Kelly lost a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Wally Hilgenberg on the Cleveland 43. Kapp then completed a 12-yard pass to Washington before Fred Cox finished the drive with a 30-yard field goal, putting the Vikings up 17–0. Later in the second period, Hilgenberg snuffed out a Cleveland scoring threat by intercepting a pass from Bill Nelsen on the Vikings' 33-yard line. Minnesota subsequently drove 67 yards in 8 plays. Kapp started the drive with a pair of completions to John Henderson for 17 total yards, while Osborn broke off a 16-yard run and ended up finishing the drive with a 20-yard touchdown burst, giving the Vikings a 24–0 lead with 4:46 left in the first half. Cleveland responded with a drive to the Vikings' 17, but turned the ball over on downs when Nelsen overthrew receiver Gary Collins in the end zone on 4th and 3.
Date: January 4, 1970
Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST  
Game weather: 8 °F (−13 °C), wind 9 mph (14 km/h), wind chill −6 °F (−21 °C), relative humidity 75%
Game attendance: 46,503
Referee: Tommy Bell
The 1961 National Football League Championship Game was the 29th title game. It was played at "New" City Stadium, later known as Lambeau Field, in Green Bay, Wisconsin on December 31, with an attendance of 39,029.
The game was a match-up of the Eastern Conference champion New York Giants (10–3–1) and the Western Conference champion Green Bay Packers (11–3). The home team Packers were a 3⅓-point favorite.
Packers Ray Nitschke, Boyd Dowler, and Paul Hornung, were on leave from the U.S. Army. Hornung scored 19 points (a touchdown, three field goals, and four extra points) for the Packers and was named the MVP of the game, and awarded a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette from Sport magazine.
The victory was the first of five NFL titles won in a seven-season span by the Packers and their head coach, Vince Lombardi. It was the Packers' seventh league title and their first in 17 years.
This was the first NFL championship game held in Green Bay. The Packers' only other championship home game until then was 22 years earlier in 1939, played at the State Fair Park in West Allis outside Milwaukee. Both teams were eager to shed the "runner-up" label. The Giants were in their third championship game in four years, falling in 1958 and 1959 to the Baltimore Colts, and the Packers had lost the title game in 1960 to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants' last league title was in 1956 and the Packers in 1944.
Temperature at game time hovered at 20 °F (−7 °C) and for several days the field had been covered with a tarp, topped by a foot (30 cm) of hay. The covering was particularly significant as just two days before, the temperature dipped to −15 °F (−26 °C). Field conditions were of paramount concern if the teams were to make effective use of the running game. All the Packers players used cleats and about half of the Giants players, led by head coach Allie Sherman, chose sneakers, believing they would grip better on a frozen field. At 6 a.m. on game day, workers began the arduous process of snow and hay removal by hand using baskets, as heavy equipment could have potentially damaged the field.
Green Bay had defeated the Giants 20–17 four weeks earlier at County Stadium in Milwaukee to clinch the Western title before a record crowd of 47,012.
With 40,000 tickets sold at $10 each and $615,000 in TV revenue, this game was the first NFL Championship to generate $1 million in revenue. Each player on the winning Packers team received $5,195, while Giants players made $3,340 each.
This was the fifth shutout in NFL Championship game history and coach Lombardi's first of five championships in seven years. Lombardi used a strategy in this game that was common in all the Packers championships. A strategy of fundamentally sound football (the Packers had no turnovers and only 16 yards in penalties) and to beat the opposition at their strength, in this case running the ball at the Giants linemen Andy Robustelli and Rosey Grier. This strategy allowed the Packers to control the game, running 63 offensive plays to only 43 for the Giants. In 1959. Lombardi had taken over a Green Bay franchise that was the worst team in the league in 1958, and in three years turn them into NFL Champions.
The 1957 National Football League championship game was the 25th annual championship game, held on December 29 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan.
The Detroit Lions (8–4), winners of the Western Conference, hosted the Cleveland Browns (9–2–1), champions of the Eastern Conference. Detroit had won the regular season game 20–7 three weeks earlier on December 8, also at Briggs Stadium, but lost quarterback Bobby Layne with a broken right ankle late in the first half. Reserve quarterback Tobin Rote, a starter the previous year with Green Bay, filled in for Layne and won that game with Cleveland, the next week at Chicago, and the tiebreaker playoff game at San Francisco.
It was the fourth pairing of the two teams in the championship game; they met previously in 1952, 1953, and 1954. The Browns were favored by three points, but the home underdog Lions scored two touchdowns in each quarter and won in a rout, 59–14.
Until 2006, this was the last time that major professional teams from Michigan and Ohio met in a postseason series or game. As of 2018, this was the last playoff game played in the city of Detroit other than Super Bowl XL in 2006. The Lions other two home playoff games since 1957 (1991 and 1993) were played at the Pontiac Silverdome in nearby Pontiac, Michigan.
Players in the Hall of Fame
Twelve individuals (including coaches and administration) who were involved in this game are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Another Lions Hall-of-Famer, QB Bobby Layne, was injured and did not play in the game.
FB John Henry Johnson
C Frank Gatski
LT Lou Creekmur
LB Joe Schmidt
DB Jack Christiansen
DB Yale Lary
QB Bobby Layne
FB Jim Brown
LT/K Lou Groza
RT Mike McCormack
RDE Len Ford
Head Coach/General Manager Paul Brown
The home underdog Lions were without starting quarterback Layne due to a broken ankle three weeks earlier against the Browns. Backup quarterback Tobin Rote filled in admirably following Layne's injury, winning every game, including a 24-point rally in the tiebreaker playoff over the 49ers the previous week. In his eighth season, Rote threw four touchdown passes in the title game, completing 12 of 19 passes for 280 yards, and also ran for a touchdown. Browns quarterbacks Tommy O'Connell and Milt Plum, on the other hand hit on a combined total of 9 of 22 passes for 112 yards. Taking full advantage of a pass interception and a fumble, Detroit ran up a 17–0 lead in the first quarter. Rookie running back Jim Brown gave the Cleveland rooters some hope with a 29-yard touchdown run at the start of the second period.
Things went from bad to worse for the Browns, hampered by injuries to quarterbacks O'Connell and Plum. The Lions romped for 14 points in each of the last three quarters, and won by 45 points, 59–14.
Sunday, December 29, 1957
Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. EST
DET – FG Jim Martin, 31 yards, 3–0 DET
DET – Tobin Rote 1-yard run (Martin kick), 10–0 DET
DET – Gene Gedman 1-yard run (Martin kick), 17–0 DET
CLE – Jim Brown 29-yard run (Lou Groza kick), 17–7 DET
DET – Steve Junker 26-yard pass from Rote (Martin kick), 24–7 DET
DET – Terry Barr 19-yard interception (Martin kick), 31–7 DET
CLE – Lew Carpenter 5-yard run (Groza kick), 31–14 DET
DET – Jim Doran 78-yard pass from Rote (Martin kick), 38–14 DET
DET – Junker 23-yard pass from Rote (Martin kick), 45–14 DET
DET – Dave Middleton 32-yard pass from Rote (Martin kick), 52–14 DET
DET – Howard Cassady 17-yard pass from Jerry Reichow (Martin kick), 59–14 DET
Referee: Ron Gibbs
Umpire: Joe Connell
Head Linesman: Dan Tehan
Back Judge: Cleo Diehl
Field Judge: Don Looney
Alternate: George Rennix
Alternate: James Beiersdorfer
Alternate: Charlie Berry
Alternate: Chuck Sweeney 
The NFL had five game officials in 1957; the line judge was added in 1965 and the side judge in 1978.
The 1954 National Football League championship game was the 22nd annual championship game, held on December 26 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Detroit Lions (9–2–1) of the Western Conference met the Cleveland Browns (9–3) of the Eastern Conference in the NFL title game for the third consecutive year. The Lions won the previous two: 17–7 at Cleveland in 1952 and 17–16 at home in Briggs Stadium in 1953. They were attempting to become the first team to win three consecutive league titles in the championship game era (since 1933). The Green Bay Packers won three consecutive (1929, 1930, 1931) when the title was determined by the regular season final standings.
The Lions were led by quarterback Bobby Layne, running back Doak Walker, and head coach Buddy Parker. The Browns were led by head coach Paul Brown and quarterback Otto Graham. The Lions had won the regular season meeting 14–10 the week before on December 19, also at Cleveland, with a late touchdown. Detroit was a slight favorite (2½ to 3 points) to three-peat as champions.
The underdog Browns won the title at home in a rout, 56–10; placekicker Lou Groza made eight extra points, a new title game record, among many.
The Lions struck first with a 36-yard field goal by Walker. Six plays after the next kickoff, the Browns took the lead on Graham's 36-yard scoring pass to Ray Renfro, and never relinquished the lead as the Lions' run game was stopped effectively by the Browns' defense. The lead at halftime was 35–10, and the Lions did not score again.
Detroit quarterback Layne (18 for 42, passing for 177 yards) was intercepted six times, with Len Ford and Kenny Konz pulling in two each. The Browns also recovered three Detroit fumbles, with two of the recoveries leading to scores. Tom Dublinski replaced Layne as the Lion quarterback after the score reached 49–10 late in the third quarter.
Sunday, December 26, 1954
Kickoff: 2 p.m. EST
DET – FG Doak Walker, 36 yds, 3–0 DET
CLE – Ray Renfro 35-yard pass from Otto Graham (Lou Groza kick), 7–3 CLE
CLE – Pete Brewster 8-yard pass from Graham (Groza kick), 14–3 CLE
CLE – Graham 1-yard run (Groza kick), 21–3 CLE
DET – Bill Bowman 5-yard run (Walker kick), 21–10 CLE
CLE – Graham 5-yard run (Groza kick), 28–10 CLE
CLE – Renfro 31-yard pass from Graham (Groza kick), 35–10 CLE
CLE – Graham 1-yard run (Groza kick), 42–10 CLE
CLE – Curly Morrison 12-yard run (Groza kick), 49–10 CLE
CLE – Chet Hanulak 12-yard run (Groza kick), 56–10 CLE
The gross receipts for the game, including over $101,000 for radio and television rights, were just over US$289,000. Each player on the winning Browns team received $2,478, while Lions players made $1,585 each.
The 1959 National Football League Championship Game was the 27th NFL championship game, played on December 27 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.
It was a rematch of the 1958 championship game that went into overtime. The defending champion Baltimore Colts (9–3) again won the Western Conference, while the New York Giants (10–2) repeated as Eastern Conference champions. The Colts were favored to repeat as champions by 3½ points.
This game also went down to the last quarter, but the Colts did not need any heroics in overtime. Trailing 9-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, Baltimore scored 24 straight points and won, 31–16.
This was the only NFL championship game played in Baltimore.
Sunday, December 27, 1959
Kickoff: 2:05 p.m. EST
BAL – Lenny Moore 60 yard pass from Johnny Unitas (Steve Myhra kick), BAL 7–0
NYG – FG Pat Summerall 23, BAL 7–3
NYG – FG Summerall 37, BAL 7–6
NYG – FG Summerall 22, NYG 9–7
BAL – Unitas 4 yard run (Myhra kick), BAL 14–9
BAL – Jerry Richardson 12 yard pass from Unitas (Myhra kick), BAL 21–9
BAL – Johnny Sample 42 yard interception return (Myhra kick), BAL 28–9
BAL – FG Myhra 25, BAL 31–9
NYG – Bob Schnelker 32 yard pass from Charlie Conerly (Summerall kick), BAL 31–16
Referee: Ron Gibbs
Umpire: Lou Palazzi
Head Linesman: Charlie Berry
Back Judge: Cleo Diehl
Field Judge: Chuck Sweeney 
Alternate: William Downes
Alternate: Joe Connell
Alternate: John Highberger
Alternate: Stan Jaworowski
Alternate: Herm Rohrig 
The NFL had five game officials in 1959; the line judge was added in 1965 and the side judge in 1978.
The gross receipts for the game, including radio and television rights, were just over $666,000, slightly below the previous year. Each player on the winning Colts team received $4,674, while Giants players made $3,083 each.
The 1958 National Football League Championship Game was the 26th NFL championship game, played on December 28 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. It was the first NFL playoff game to go into sudden death overtime. The final score was Baltimore Colts 23, New York Giants 17, and the game has since become widely known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played".
It marked the beginning of the NFL's popularity surge, and eventual rise to the top of the United States sports market. A major reason was that the game was televised across the nation by NBC. Baltimore receiver Raymond Berry recorded 12 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown. His 12 receptions set a championship record that stood for 55 years.
Both teams finished the 1958 season with a 9–3 record. For the Giants, it was their fifth consecutive winning season, a stretch that included an NFL Championship in 1956. In contrast, 1958 was only the second winning season in Colts' history since the team's founding in 1953.
Baltimore started off the season winning their first six games before losing to New York, 24–21, in week 7 of the regular season. However, Colts starting quarterback Johnny Unitas was injured at the time and did not play in the game. Three weeks later, Unitas returned to lead the Colts to a critical come-from-behind win against Hall of Fame quarterback Y. A. Tittle and his San Francisco 49ers. Trailing 27–7 at halftime, Baltimore stormed back with four unanswered touchdowns to win, 35–27, clinching the Western Conference championship. This allowed them to rest their starters for the final two games of the regular season, both on the road in California.
New York started the season 2–2, then won seven of their last eight games, including a critical 19–17 win over the defending champion Detroit Lions on December 7. In that game, New York fell behind late when the offense lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Later on, however, the Giants stopped Detroit punter Yale Lary on a fake punt attempt and drove for the go-ahead score. They then secured the win by blocking a Lions field goal attempt as time expired in the game. In the final game of the regular season, the Giants defeated the Cleveland Browns with Pat Summerall's game-winning 49-yard field goal on the final play (the longest field goal made in the entire season among all NFL kickers). The win enabled them to tie the Browns for the conference title, and though the Giants had won both games against Cleveland in the regular season, the rules of the time required a tiebreaker playoff game on December 21. At Yankee Stadium in 20 °F (−7 °C) weather, the Giants defeated the Browns for a third time in a shut out, building a 10–0 lead at the half, which was the final score.
After clinching their conference title on November 30, the Colts rested key players in the final two games, road losses in California. Baltimore had a week off and entered the title game as 3½ point favorites to gain their first league title.
New York Giants
OL Rosey Brown
HB Frank Gifford
LB Sam Huff
WR Don Maynard
DE Andy Robustelli
DB Emlen Tunnell
Offensive Coordinator Vince Lombardi
Defensive Coordinator Tom Landry
Owner Tim Mara
Vice President / Secretary Wellington Mara
WR Raymond Berry
DL Art Donovan
DL Gino Marchetti
HB Lenny Moore
OL Jim Parker
QB Johnny Unitas
Head Coach Weeb Ewbank
An estimated 45 million people watched the game on television in the United States. This audience could have been even greater except that because of NFL restrictions, the game was blacked out in the greater New York City area. Still, the impact from this game is far reaching. A year later, Texas billionaire Lamar Hunt formed the American Football League, which began play with eight teams in the 1960 season. The growth of the popularity of the sport, through franchise expansion, the eventual merger with the AFL, and popularity on television, is commonly credited to this game, making it a turning point in the history of football.
The game is, to date, one of only two NFL championship games–the other being Super Bowl LI—ever decided in overtime. The drive by Baltimore at the end of regulation, with Unitas leading the team quickly down the field to set up the game-tying field goal, is often cited as the first instance of a "two-minute drill", for which Unitas became famous.
Super Bowl X was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1975 season. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys by the score of 21–17 to win their second consecutive Super Bowl. They were the third team to win back-to-back Super Bowls. (The Miami Dolphins won Super Bowls VII and VIII, and the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowls I and II.) It was also the first Super Bowl in which both participating teams had previously won a Super Bowl, as the Steelers were the defending champions and the Cowboys had won Super Bowl VI.
The game was played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, on January 18, 1976, one of the first major national events of the United States Bicentennial year. Both the pre-game and halftime show celebrated the Bicentennial, while players on both teams wore special patches on their jerseys with the Bicentennial logo.
Super Bowl X featured a contrast of playing styles between the Steelers and the Cowboys, which were, at the time, the two most popular teams in the league. The Steelers, dominating teams with their "Steel Curtain" defense and running game, finished the regular season with a league best 12–2 record and defeated the Baltimore Colts and the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs. The Cowboys, with their offense and "flex" defense, became the first NFC wild-card team to advance to the Super Bowl after posting a 10–4 regular season record and postseason victories over the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams.
Trailing 10–7 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl X, the Steelers rallied to score 14 unanswered points, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by Pittsburgh wide receiver Lynn Swann. The Cowboys cut the score, 21–17, late in the game with wide receiver Percy Howard's 34-yard touchdown reception, but Pittsburgh safety Glen Edwards halted Dallas' rally with an end zone interception as time expired. Swann, who caught four passes for a Super Bowl record 161 yards and one touchdown, became the first wide receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP.
Dallas went on to defeat the Minnesota Vikings, 17–14, with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Staubach to Drew Pearson with less than a minute to play in what was called the "Hail Mary pass". They went on to crush the Los Angeles Rams, 37–7, in the NFC Championship Game. As a result, the Cowboys became the first ever wild card team to advance to the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, even though Pittsburgh's offense lost a total of 12 turnovers in their two playoff games, the Steelers only gave up a combined total of 20 points in their victories over the Baltimore Colts in the AFC Divisional playoff game 28–10, and the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship Game 16–10.
Super Bowl pregame news
Super Bowl XXI was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New York Giants to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1986 season. The Giants defeated the Broncos by the score of 39–20, winning their first ever Super Bowl, and their first NFL title since 1956. The game was played on January 25, 1987, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
This was the Broncos' first Super Bowl appearance since the 1977 season. Led largely through the play of quarterback John Elway and a defense that led the AFC in fewest yards allowed, the Broncos posted an 11–5 regular season record and two narrow playoff victories. The Giants, led by quarterback Phil Simms, running back Joe Morris, and their "Big Blue Wrecking Crew" defense, advanced to their first Super Bowl after posting a 14–2 regular season record and only allowing a combined total of 3 points in their two postseason wins.
The game was tight in the first half, with the Broncos holding a 10–9 halftime lead, the narrowest margin in Super Bowl history. The only score in the second quarter, however, was Giants defensive end George Martin's sack of Elway in the end zone for a safety. This began the Giants run of scoring 26 unanswered points through the third and fourth quarters. The Giants also posted a Super Bowl record 30 points in the second half, and limited the Broncos to only 2 net yards in the third quarter. Simms, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, finished the game with 22 of 25 passes completed for 268 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 25 rushing yards on 3 carries. His 22 out of 25 (88%) completion percentage broke both a Super Bowl and NFL postseason record.
The telecast of the game on CBS was seen by an estimated 87.2 million viewers. This was one of the first times that a very large, national audience saw what is now the traditional Gatorade shower, where players dump a cooler full of liquid over a coach's head following a meaningful win. The practice was first started by Giants players in 1985 but it did not gain much national prominence until this season.
NFL owners voted to award Super Bowl XXI to Pasadena, California on May 24, 1984 during their May 23–25, 1984 meetings in Washington, D.C. Fourteen cities were part of the bidding process, which was scheduled to award four Super Bowls (XXI, XXII, XXIII, and XXIV). The bidding cities included: Anaheim, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Pasadena, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, and Tempe. The Philadelphia host committee assembled what was considered a strong, but long-shot bid, hoping to win the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold weather city.
The balloting for XXI took 13 ballots and over two hours to complete, with Pasadena finally receiving the winning bid. XXII was also voted on, but the voting for XXIII and XXIV was postponed. This was the fourth time that Pasadena hosted the game, and the sixth time it was held in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Elway's ability to improvise on the fly, in part, helped Denver to make it through the playoffs, narrowly defeating the New England Patriots 22–17, and the Cleveland Browns 23–20, in the AFC Championship Game. The AFC Championship Game against the Browns was particularly significant because Elway displayed why many NFL experts thought Super Bowl XXI would be the first of many Super Bowls for him. In what became known as The Drive, the Broncos started from their own 2-yard line, trailing 20–13, with 5:32 left to play. But in 15 plays, Elway led Denver 98 yards for a game-tying touchdown pass with 39 seconds left. The Broncos then won in overtime after Elway led them 60 yards in 9 plays to set up kicker Rich Karlis' game-winning field goal.
Meanwhile, the Giants went on to only allow a combined total of 3 points in their playoff victories over the San Francisco 49ers, 49–3, and the Washington Redskins, 17–0, respectively. Such a dominating performance by the Giants' defense gave the team a lot of confidence going into the Super Bowl matchup versus the Broncos.
Much of the pregame hype centered around the confrontation between Elway and Taylor, and whether or not Taylor would be able to hurry Elway's throws or sack him. The Giants had narrowly defeated Denver during the regular season, forcing four turnovers in a 19–16 win despite being outgained in total yards 405 to 262. This was the last Super Bowl until Super Bowl XXXIV in which both teams entered the game having never won a Super Bowl before.
The 1968 National Football League championship game was the 36th annual championship game. The winner of the game represented the NFL in the third AFL-NFL World Championship Game also called the Super Bowl. The NFL title game was held December 29 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Baltimore Colts (13–1) won the Coastal Division and defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24–14 in the Western Conference championship game. The Colts were led by head coach Don Shula and reserve quarterback Earl Morrall. This was the Colts' fourth championship game appearance since joining the NFL in 1953, with a 2–1 record in the title game.
Cleveland Browns (10–4) were the only team to defeat Baltimore during the regular season, and won the Century Division. The Browns defeated the Dallas Cowboys 31–20 in the Eastern Conference championship game. The Browns were led by head coach Blanton Collier, running back Leroy Kelly, and quarterback Bill Nelsen. This was the Browns' tenth NFL championship game appearance since joining the NFL in 1950, with a 4–5 record in the title game.
Cleveland won the regular season game 30–20 ten weeks earlier in Baltimore, but the Colts were six-point favorites for the championship game. The 1968 game was a rematch of the 1964 title game and at the same venue, but with far different results.
This was the sixth and final NFL championship game held at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Super Bowl XVIII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Los Angeles Raiders to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1983 season. The Raiders defeated the Redskins by the score of 38–9. The Raiders' 38 points scored and 29-point margin of victory broke Super Bowl records; it remains the most points scored by an AFC team in a Super Bowl. The game was played on January 22, 1984, at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the first time the Super Bowl was held in that city. This would be the AFC's last Super Bowl win until Super Bowl XXXII, won by the Denver Broncos.
The Redskins entered the game as the defending Super Bowl XVII champions, and finished the 1983 regular season with a league-best 14–2 record, and led the league in fewest rushing yards allowed, and set a then-NFL record in scoring with 541 points. The Raiders posted a 12-4 regular season record in 1983, their second in Los Angeles, having moved there from Oakland in May 1982.
As the favored team, the Redskins' 38–9 defeat at the hands of the black-jerseyed Raiders led Super Bowl XVIII to be known as "Black Sunday." The Raiders outgained the Redskins in total yards, 385 to 283. Los Angeles built a 21–3 halftime lead, aided by touchdowns on Derrick Jensen's blocked punt recovery, and Jack Squirek's 5-yard interception return on a screen pass with seven seconds left in the first half. Raiders running back Marcus Allen, who became the third Heisman Trophy winner to be named the Super Bowl MVP, carried the ball 20 times for a then-record total of 191 yards and two touchdowns, including a then-record 74-yard run in the third quarter. He also caught 2 passes for 18 yards.
The telecast of the game on CBS was seen by an estimated 77.62 million viewers. The broadcast was notable for airing the famous "1984" television commercial, introducing the Apple Macintosh. The NFL highlight film of this game was the final voiceover work for famous NFL narrator John Facenda.
The Raiders only allowed a combined total of 24 points in their playoff victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 38–10, and the Seattle Seahawks (who had beaten the Raiders twice during the regular season), 30–14. Allen had been particularly effective in the playoffs, gaining a total of 375 combined yards and scoring three touchdowns. The Raiders' defense limited Seahawks running back Curt Warner, who had led the AFC in rushing yards (1,449 yards), to just 26 yards on 11 carries.
Meanwhile, the Redskins crushed the Los Angeles Rams 51–7, and then narrowly defeated the San Francisco 49ers 24–21, with Mark Moseley kicking the game-winning field goal with just 40 seconds left. Mirroring the previous postseason, Riggins was a key contributor, rushing for a combined playoff total of 242 yards and five touchdowns in the two games. In doing so, Riggins extended his NFL record of consecutive playoff games with at least 100 rushing yards to six. Brown also was a key contributor in both playoff wins, recording a combined total of 11 receptions for 308 yards and a touchdown. Washington's defense was just as effective at stopping their postseason opponent's rushing attack as they had been during the regular season, limiting running backs Eric Dickerson and Wendell Tyler to a combined total of 60 rushing yards. Dickerson was the NFL's leading rusher with 1,808 yards and 18 touchdowns during the season, but could only gain 16 yards on 10 carries against the Redskins' defense.
The 1960 National Football League championship game was the 28th NFL title game. The game was played on Monday, December 26, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In addition to the landmark 1958 championship game, in which the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants in sudden death overtime, the 1960 game has also been called a key event in football history. The game marked the lone playoff defeat for Packers coach Vince Lombardi before his Packers team established a dynasty that won five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls, in a span of seven seasons. The victory was the third NFL title for the Philadelphia Eagles, and their final championship until the team won Super Bowl LII in 2018, ending a 57-season championship drought.
The American Football League was in its first season and held its inaugural title game less than a week later. First-year NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle convinced owners to move the league's headquarters from Philadelphia to New York City, and with Congressional passage of the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 received an antitrust exemption that allowed the league to negotiate a common broadcasting network representing all of its teams, helping cement football's ascendancy as a national sport.
This was the second and last NFL championship game played in Philadelphia, and the only one at Franklin Field. A dozen years earlier, the 1948 title game was held in the snow at Shibe Park and was also an Eagles' victory.
Ticket prices for the game were ten and eight dollars,
The game matched the leagues's conference champions, Philadelphia Eagles (10–2) of the East and Green Bay Packers (8–4) of the West. The Eagles were making their first appearance in a championship game since 1949, and the Packers their first since 1944. Two years earlier, both teams had finished last in their respective conferences.
Due to the lack of lights at Franklin Field, the kickoff time was moved up to 12 p.m. (noon) EST. The league was concerned about the possibility of sudden death overtime, as had occurred in 1958. The game was played on a Monday, similar to 1955, as the NFL did not want to play on Christmas.
Led by future hall of fame head coach Vince Lombardi, Green Bay won the Western Conference, a game ahead of the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. The two-time defending champion Baltimore Colts, led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, were 6–2 on November 13, but lost their last four and stumbled into fourth place with a .500 record. (Baltimore did not win another division/conference title until 1964.) Green Bay had won six league championships before, most recently in 1944, but the intervening years had been lean.
At the time, Lombardi was better known as an assistant coach (offense) for the New York Giants. Hired by the Packers in January 1959, he led them to a 7–5 record in his first season as a head coach, a vast improvement over the 1958 season (1–10–1), their worst ever. On the field, the Packers were led by quarterback Bart Starr, another future hall of famer, who was then lightly regarded, having thrown eight interceptions to go with his four touchdown passes in the 1960 season. Starr had shared playing time with Lamar McHan, who won all four games he started, while Starr was an even 4–4. In his four previous seasons in the league, Starr had more interceptions than touchdowns in each season and he finished the 1960 season with 1,358 passing yards, completing 98 of 172 passes for a completion percentage of 57.0. Other names that would shine during the dynasty the Packers built during the 1960s, such as halfback / placekicker Paul Hornung, linebacker Ray Nitschke, and fullback Jim Taylor; all early in their careers and future hall of famers.
The 1960 game represented a chance for Philadelphia to add to the two titles they had won in 1948 and 1949, but the team had declined to only two wins in 1958. Head coach Buck Shaw was in his third season with the Eagles, and in what turned out to be his final year as a head coach, and had turned around the team from a 2–9–1 record in 1958 to seven wins in 1959 to a conference championship and the league's best record in 1960. The Eagles were led on the field by quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, age 34, who was ranked second in the NFL with 2,471 passing yards and 24 passing touchdowns, behind Johnny Unitas of the Colts in both statistics, and was playing in his final game before he retired. Less than a month after the title game, he was named the head coach of the expansion Minnesota Vikings. Philadelphia had clinched the Eastern title early on December 4 at 9–1, and there was concern by Shaw that it could have an adverse effect on his team.
Super Bowl XI was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Oakland Raiders and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for its 1976 season. The Raiders defeated the Vikings by the score of 32–14 to win their first Super Bowl. The game was played on January 9, 1977, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. This remains the Super Bowl scheduled earliest during the calendar year.
This was the Raiders’ second Super Bowl appearance after losing Super Bowl II. They posted a 13–1 regular season record before defeating the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. The Vikings were making their fourth Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–2–1 regular season record and playoff victories over the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams. The Vikings became the first team to appear in four Super Bowls, a record they held until the Dallas Cowboys advanced to a Super Bowl for the fifth time in Super Bowl XIII. They had not won in their previous three attempts, losing Super Bowl IV to the Kansas City Chiefs in the final Super Bowl before the AFL–NFL merger and following that up with losses in Super Bowls VIII and IX.
Oakland gained a Super Bowl record 429 yards, including a Super Bowl record 288 yards in the first half, en route to winning Super Bowl XI. After a scoreless first quarter, Oakland scored on three consecutive possessions to take a 16–0 lead at halftime. The Raiders also had two fourth quarter interceptions, including cornerback Willie Brown’s 75-yard return for a touchdown. Oakland wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff, who had 4 catches for 79 yards that set up three Raider touchdowns, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Among the wide receivers who have won the Super Bowl MVP, Biletnikoff is the only one to not have gained 100 yards in his performance.
Super Bowl VI was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1971 season. The Cowboys defeated the Dolphins by the score of 24–3, to win their first Super Bowl. The game was played on January 16, 1972, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana, the second time the Super Bowl was played in that city. Despite the southerly location, it was unseasonably cold at the time, with the kickoff air temperature of 39 °F (4 °C) making this the coldest Super Bowl ever played.
Dallas, in its second Super Bowl appearance, entered the game with a reputation of not being able to win big playoff games such as Super Bowl V and the 1966 and 1967 NFL Championship Games prior to the 1970 AFL–NFL merger. They posted an 11–3 record during the 1971 regular season before defeating the Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs. The Dolphins were making their first Super Bowl appearance after building a 10–3–1 regular season record, including eight consecutive wins, and posting postseason victories over the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Colts.
The Cowboys dominated Super Bowl VI, setting Super Bowl records for the most rushing yards (252), the most first downs (23), and the least points allowed (3). They remain the only team ever to prevent their opponent from scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl. The game was close in the first half, with the Cowboys only leading 10–3 at halftime. But Dallas opened the third quarter with a 71-yard, 8-play touchdown drive, and then Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley's 41-yard interception return in the fourth quarter set up another score. Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, who completed 12 out of 18 passes for 119 yards, threw 2 touchdown passes, and rushed 5 times for 18 yards, was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.
This was the last Super Bowl to be blacked out in the TV market in which the game was played. Under the NFL's unconditional blackout rules at the time, the Super Bowl could not be broadcast locally even if the local team did not advance to the Super Bowl, and it was a sellout. The following year, the league changed their rules to allow games to be broadcast in the local market if sold out 72 hours in advance. It was the last Super Bowl played with the hashmarks (also called the inbound lines) set at 40 feet apart (20 yards from the sidelines, and the last NFL game overall); the next season, they were brought in to 181⁄2 feet, the width of the goalposts, where they remain.
The NFL awarded Super Bowl VI to New Orleans on March 23, 1971 at the owners meetings held in Palm Beach, Florida.
Super Bowl VII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1972 season. The Dolphins defeated the Redskins by the score of 14–7, and became the first and still the only team in NFL history to complete a perfect undefeated season. They also remain the only Super Bowl team to be shut out in the second half and still win. The game was played on January 14, 1973, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, the second time the Super Bowl was played in that city. At kickoff the temperature was 84 °F (29 °C), making the game the warmest Super Bowl ever.
This was the Dolphins' second Super Bowl appearance after losing Super Bowl VI. They posted an undefeated 14–0 regular season record before defeating the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. The Redskins were making their first Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–3 regular season record and playoff victories over the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. Despite being undefeated, the Dolphins were actually one point underdogs, largely based on the weakness of their regular season schedule.
Super Bowl VII was largely dominated by the Dolphins, and remains the lowest-scoring Super Bowl to date with a total of only 21 points (3 touchdown and 3 extra points). The only drama was during the final minutes of the game, in what was later known as "Garo's Gaffe". Miami attempted to cap off their 17–0 perfect season with a 17–0 perfect score shutout with a 42-yard field goal by Garo Yepremian, but instead the game and the season was jeopardized when his kick was blocked. Instead of falling on the loose ball, the Dolphins kicker picked it up, attempted a forward pass, but batted it in the air, and Redskins' cornerback Mike Bass (who was Garo's former teammate on the Detroit Lions years earlier) caught it and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. This remains the longest period in a Super Bowl for one team to be shut out, as Washington was held scoreless until 2:07 remained in the fourth quarter.[note 1] Because of Garo's Gaffe, what was a Miami-dominated game became close, and the Dolphins ended up having to stop Washington's final drive for the tying touchdown as time expired.
Dolphins safety Jake Scott was named Most Valuable Player. He recorded two interceptions for 63 return yards, including a 55-yard return from the end zone during the 4th quarter. Scott became the second defensive player in Super Bowl history (after linebacker Chuck Howley in Super Bowl V) to earn a Super Bowl MVP award.
The Dolphins went undefeated during the season, despite losing their starting quarterback. In the fifth game of the regular season, starter Bob Griese suffered a fractured right leg and dislocated ankle. In his place, 38-year-old Earl Morrall, a 17-year veteran, led Miami to victory in their nine remaining regular season games, and was the 1972 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Morrall had previously played for Dolphins head coach Don Shula when they were both with the Baltimore Colts, where Morrall backed up quarterback Johnny Unitas and started in Super Bowl III.
The Dolphins' undefeated, untied regular season was the third in NFL history, and the first of the post-merger era. The previous two teams to do it, the 1934 and 1942 Chicago Bears, both lost those years' NFL Championship Games. The Cleveland Browns also completed a perfect season in 1948, including a Championship victory, when they were part of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), but this feat is only recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame (the NFL does not officially recognize any AAFC records).
Following the death of Vince Lombardi 17 days prior to the start of the 1970 season, Washington finished 6-8 under interim coach Bill Austin. Shortly after the conclusion of the 1970 season, the Redskins hired George Allen as their head coach, hoping he could turn the team's fortunes around. Allen's philosophy was that veteran players win games, so immediately after taking over the team, he traded away most of the younger team members and draft choices for older, more established players. His motto was "The future is now." Washington quickly became the oldest team in the NFL and earned the nickname "The Over the Hill Gang." The average age of starters was 31 years old. However, Allen's strategy turned the Redskins around as the team improved to a 9–4–1 record in 1971, and finished the 1972 season with an NFC-best 11–3 record.
Washington was led by 33-year-old quarterback Billy Kilmer, who completed 120 out of 225 passes for 1,648 yards and a league leading 19 touchdowns during the regular season, with only 11 interceptions, giving him an NFL best 84.8 passer rating.
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Super Bowl IX was an American football game played between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1974 season. The game was played on January 12, 1975, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana, the last professional American football game played at that venue (the game was originally planned to be held at the Louisiana Superdome, but that stadium was not completed yet). The Steelers defeated the Vikings by the score of 16–6 to win their first Super Bowl championship.
This game matched two of the NFL's best defenses and two future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw and the Steel Curtain defense, the Steelers advanced to their first Super Bowl after posting a 10–3–1 regular season record and playoff victories over the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders. The Vikings were led by quarterback Fran Tarkenton and the Purple People Eaters defense; they advanced to their second consecutive Super Bowl and third overall after finishing the regular season with a 10–4 record and defeating the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs.
The first half of Super Bowl IX was a defensive struggle, with the lone score being the first safety in Super Bowl history when Tarkenton was downed in his own end zone. The Steelers then recovered a fumble on the second half kickoff, and scored on fullback Franco Harris's 9-yard run. The Vikings cut the score, 9–6, early in the fourth quarter by recovering a blocked punt in Pittsburgh's end zone for a touchdown, but the Steelers then drove 66 yards on their ensuing possession to score on Larry Brown's 4-yard touchdown reception to put the game out of reach.
In total, the Steelers limited the Vikings to Super Bowl record lows of nine first downs, 119 total offensive yards, 17 rushing yards, and no offensive scores (Minnesota's only score came on a blocked punt, and they did not even score on the extra point attempt). The Steelers accomplished this despite losing starting linebackers Andy Russell and Jack Lambert, who were injured and replaced by Ed Bradley and Loren Toews for most of the second half. On the other hand, Pittsburgh had 333 yards of total offense. Harris, who ran for a Super Bowl record 158 yards (more than the entire Minnesota offense) and a touchdown, was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.
For the first time in four years, the Miami Dolphins were not able to advance to the Super Bowl. While the Steelers defeated the Buffalo Bills 32–14 in the first round, the favored Dolphins lost to the Oakland Raiders 28–26, giving up Raiders running back Clarence Davis' 8-yard touchdown reception with 26 seconds remaining in the game with a play now known as the Sea of Hands. The key play in the game occurred when the Dolphins were in control and were leading the Raiders 19–14 midway through the fourth quarter. Cliff Branch hauled in a 72-yard touchdown pass from Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler when third-year Dolphin defensive back Henry Stuckey, the man assigned to cover Branch on the play, fell down, and the resultant wide open Branch caught the bomb and sprinted to the end zone. After George Blanda kicked the PAT, the Raiders led 21-19. Dolphin fans were furious because fan favorite Lloyd Mumphord was replaced with Stuckey. Mumphord and head coach Don Shula were involved in a feud at the time, and it is thought that Stuckey was given the starting job for this game because of Shula's and Mumphord's differences of opinion. Afterwards, Stuckey was released in the offseason. Many believed that had Mumphord been in the game, there would have been no "Sea of Hands" play.
The Steelers defeated the Buffalo Bills 32–14 at home in the divisional round, then won the AFC Championship Game over the host Raiders, 24–13.
Meanwhile, Minnesota allowed only a combined 24 points in their playoff wins against the St. Louis Cardinals, 30–14, and their narrow defeat of the Los Angeles Rams, 14–10, after their defense stopped an attempted comeback touchdown drive from the Rams on the Vikings' own 2-yard line.
Super Bowl XV was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Oakland Raiders and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Philadelphia Eagles to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1980 season. The Raiders defeated the Eagles by the score of 27–10, becoming the first wild card playoff team to win a Super Bowl.
The game was played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 25, 1981, five days after the Iran hostage crisis ended. The game was thus held under patriotic fervor, as the pregame ceremonies honored the end of the crisis.
The Raiders were making their third Super Bowl appearance after posting an 11–5 regular season record, but losing a tiebreaker to the AFC West division winner San Diego Chargers. Oakland then advanced to the Super Bowl with playoff victories over the Houston Oilers, Cleveland Browns, and San Diego. The Eagles were making their first Super Bowl appearance after posting a 12–4 regular season record and postseason victories over the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys.
Aided by two touchdown passes from quarterback Jim Plunkett, the Raiders jumped out to a 14–0 lead in the first quarter of Super Bowl XV, from which the Eagles never recovered. Oakland linebacker Rod Martin also intercepted Philadelphia quarterback Ron Jaworski three times for a Super Bowl record. Plunkett was named the Super Bowl MVP after completing 13 of 21 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 9 yards. Plunkett was also the second Heisman Trophy winner to be named Super Bowl MVP after Roger Staubach in Super Bowl VI.
The NFL awarded Super Bowl XV to New Orleans on March 13, 1979 at the owners meetings in Honolulu.
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Super Bowl V, the fifth edition of the Super Bowl and first modern-era National Football League (NFL) championship game, was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Baltimore Colts and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys to decide the NFL champion for the 1970 season. The Colts defeated the Cowboys by the score of 16–13. The game was played on January 17, 1971, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, the first Super Bowl game played on artificial turf, on first-generation Poly-Turf.
This was the first Super Bowl played after the completion of the AFL–NFL merger. Beginning with this game and continuing to the present day, the Super Bowl has served as the NFL's league championship game, with the winner of the AFC Championship Game and the winner of the NFC Championship Game facing off in the culmination of the NFL playoffs. As per the merger agreement, all 26 AFL and NFL teams were divided into two conferences with thirteen teams in each. Along with the Colts, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to join the ten AFL teams to form the AFC; the remaining 13 NFL teams formed the NFC. This explains why the Colts represented the NFL in Super Bowl III, but the AFC for Super Bowl V. Baltimore advanced to Super Bowl V after posting an 11–2–1 regular season record. Meanwhile, the Cowboys were making their first Super Bowl appearance after posting a 10–4 regular season record.
The game is sometimes called the "Blunder Bowl" or "Stupor Bowl" because it was filled with poor play, a missed PAT, penalties, turnovers, and officiating miscues. The two teams combined for a Super Bowl record eleven turnovers, with five in the fourth quarter. The Colts' seven turnovers remain the most committed by a Super Bowl champion. Dallas also set a Super Bowl record with ten penalties, costing them 133 yards. It was finally settled when Colts rookie kicker Jim O'Brien made a 32-yard field goal with five seconds left in regulation time. In order to win the game, Baltimore had to overcome a 13–6 deficit after three quarters, and losing their starting quarterback Johnny Unitas in the second quarter. It is the only Super Bowl in which the Most Valuable Player Award was given to a member of the losing team: Cowboys' linebacker Chuck Howley, the first non-quarterback to win the award, after making two interceptions (sacks and tackles were not yet recorded).
The NFL awarded hosting rights for Super Bowl V to the city of Miami ten months earlier on March 17, 1970, at the owners' meeting held in Honolulu.1
The 1982 regular season was shortened by a lockout, but that did not stop the Washington Redskins from rolling to an 8-1 record. The franchise looked poised to make it to their second Super Bowl appearance. The Dallas Cowboys would met them in the NFC Championship and the Redskins clung to a seven point lead in the fourth quarter. The game was finally sealed by a Darryl Grant pick six, sending Washington to Super Bowl they would go on to win.
The 1982 Washington Redskins season was the team's 50th in the National Football League, and 45th in Washington, D.C.. Although the Redskins lost all their preseason games, they were to advance from an 8–8 record the previous season to become the only team in NFL History to win the Super Bowl after not winning a pre-season game. Only the 1990 Buffalo Bills and the 2000 New York Giants have since made it to the Super Bowl after a winless pre-season.
The 1982 NFL season was shortened from sixteen games per team to nine because of a players’ strike. The NFL adopted a special 16-team playoff tournament; eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8, and division standings were ignored. Washington had the best record in the NFC, and were the number one seed in the conference for the playoff tournament.
The Redskins marched through the NFC playoffs, beating each of their opponents by an average of 19 points. In a rematch of Washington's only prior Super Bowl appearance ten years prior, the Redskins – in a game famous for Washington's "70 Chip’ play on fourth-and-1 – went on to beat the Miami Dolphins 27–17 to win Super Bowl XVII. It was the Redskins’ first ever Super Bowl victory, and their first NFL Championship in forty years. Combining the post-season and their first Super Bowl victory, the Redskins finished the season with an overall record of 12–1.
12:04 Septien 27-yard Field Goal
16:26 Joe Theismann Escapes rush and delivers strike
19:46 Theismann 19-yard TD Pass
37:17 Moseley misses field goal
40:01 Tony Dorsett stopped on 3rd and 1
43:45 Cowboys Botch Punt, Redskins recover
47:30 Riggins 1-yard TD Run
1:11:51 Drew Pearson 6-yard TD Catch
1:17:41 Riggins 4-yard TD Run
1:25:58 Butch Johnson 23-yard TD catch
1:37:55 Septien Missed Field Goal
1:47:15 Moseley 29-yard Field Goal
1:48:51 Darryl Gant Pick Six
1:56:57 Redskins Stop Cowboys on 4th Down
2:06:26 Redskins Celebration
Super Bowl XIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1978 season. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys by the score of 35–31. The game was played on January 21, 1979, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, the fifth and last time that the Super Bowl was played in that stadium.
This was the first Super Bowl that featured a rematch of a previous one (the Steelers had previously beaten the Cowboys, 21–17, in Super Bowl X), and both teams were attempting to be the first club to ever win a third Super Bowl. Dallas was also the defending Super Bowl XII champion, and finished the 1978 regular season with a 12–4 record, and posted playoff victories over the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams. Pittsburgh entered the game after posting a 14–2 regular season record and playoff wins over the Denver Broncos and the Houston Oilers.
Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who was named Super Bowl MVP, completed 17 out of 30 passes for Super Bowl records of 318 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes. Bradshaw eclipsed Bart Starr's Super Bowl record for passing yards in the first half with 253 yards in the air as the Steelers led 21–14 at intermission. His 75-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter also tied Johnny Unitas in Super Bowl V for the longest pass in a Super Bowl. The Cowboys were able to stay close, only trailing 21–17 at the end of the third quarter, but Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns in a span of 19 seconds in the fourth period. Dallas also could not overcome turnovers, drops, and a controversial penalty during the second half. The Cowboys were eventually able to score two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game, but still ended up being the first defending champion to lose in the Super Bowl and the first losing Super Bowl team to score 30 points or more.
The NFL awarded Super Bowl XIII to Miami on June 14, 1977 at the owners meetings held in New York.
For the 1978–79 season, the NFL extended its schedule from 14 regular season games to 16 (which remains in place today, although the playoffs have since been expanded), and increased the playoffs from an 8-team tournament to 10, creating two extra playoff games. The three division winners from each conference would be ranked first through third and be given a week off, and two wild card teams from each conference, seeded fourth and fifth, would play a playoff game with the winner going on to play the first seeded team (or, if they were in the same division, the second seed).
In Super Bowls past the designated home team wore their colored jerseys, while the "visiting" team wore white. This was a rule implemented by the NFL and the teams had no choice in this matter. Super Bowl XIII was the first time the "home team" had the choice of which uniform to wear. Subsequently the Cowboys chose to wear their white jerseys, and Pittsburgh were forced to wear their colored since they were the designated visiting team. Home team designation have been kept the same since the beginning, thus the NFC being designated the home team in the odd years, while the AFC being designated the home team in the even years.
Dallas marched through the playoffs, defeating the Atlanta Falcons, 27–20, and the Los Angeles Rams, 28–0. Meanwhile, the Steelers easily demolished the Denver Broncos, 33–10, and the Houston Oilers, 34–5.