San Francisco 49ers: Top 3 Teams to Miss the Super Bowl
There have been plenty of great Super Bowl teams in San Francisco 49ers history, and they are most certainly cherished by the Niner faithful, but what about the talented teams that came up just a tad bit short of glory?
Those teams still deserve recognition and remembrance. So without further ado, we give you the top three 49ers teams to miss the Super Bowl.
Kyle Williams (No. 10) muffing a punt.
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If you look at most expert predictions for the 2011 season, nobody expected the 49ers to win their division much less host the NFC title game. After all, the team hadn't seen a winning season since 2002 and looked to be in a rebuilding stage under its rookie coach, Jim Harbaugh.
Still, the team took the league by the surprise by jumping into the playoffs with a 13-3 record. Although the team upset New Orleans Saints in the divisional round, they ended up being upset by the New York Giants in the title game. Were it not for a couple of muffed punts, the 49ers may have well gone on to the Super Bowl.
Still, the 49ers had a remarkable season, leading the league in turnover differential and nearly going the entire season without allowing a rushing touchdown. Cornerback Carlos Rogers had a career year with six interceptions, and linebacker NaVorro Bowman finished second in the league for most tackles.
Steve Young (No. 8) getting sacked.
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The 1992 49ers squad led the league in scoring with an average margin of victory of 12.2 points per game. They stormed into the playoffs with a 14-2 record, knocking out the Washington Redskins in the divisional round before hosting the Dallas Cowboys at home for the NFC title game.
What ensued was a turnover bonanza as two interceptions and a fumble all but ensured the 49ers' 30-20 loss to the flawless Cowboys. Dallas' Emmitt Smith ran roughshod over the 49ers defense, and Troy Aikman had a near-perfect game.
Although their Super Bowl aspirations ended in disappointment, 49ers quarterback Steve Young excelled in his first full season, playing all 16 games and leading the league in passing touchdowns, passer rating, completion percentage and yards per throwing attempt.
Young also set single-season career highs on the ground, rushing for 537 yards and averaging a ridiculous seven yards per attempt on the ground.
Anthony Carter (No. 81) lighting up the 49ers defense.
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In 1987, the 49ers finished the regular season with a 13-2 record and led the league in scoring, defeating opponents by an average of two touchdowns per game.
Yet this high-powered 49ers squad came out flat after a bye week against the Minnesota Vikings during the playoffs. The 9-7 Vikings stormed into Candlestick Park and gave the 49ers all sorts of fits.
Montana threw a pick-six and completed less than 50 percent of his passes, prompting then-coach Bill Walsh to bench Montana and insert backup Steve Young. Rice had a miserable day as well, catching only three receptions for 28 yards while the 49ers defense surrendered the most points in a game since the first week of that season.
Although the 49ers' loss went down as one of the biggest upsets in playoff history, their regular-season accomplishments couldn't be diminished. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice set single-season career highs for most touchdowns thrown and caught that year.
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What's great about the 1987 and 1992 squads was that their disappointment was short-lived. Many of the players stayed on board to enjoy the victorious spoils of the 1988, 1989 and 1994 squads that hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. But will this year's 49ers team be able to redeem last year's missed opportunity? A sixth Lombardi Trophy would certainly go a long way in erasing the painful memories of the NFC title game.