The excitement surrounding the 2014 Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos makes this the perfect opportunity to take a look back at all the previous Super Bowl champions the NFL has crowned over the years.
While the league has been doling out titles in some form since its inaugural season in 1920, it wasn’t until the Super Bowl was first contested in 1967 that these championships truly gained their luster.
From Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers up through Ray Lewis’ Baltimore Ravens, there have been plenty of worthwhile champions in the 47-year history of the Super Bowl—and there will inevitably be one more once the Broncos and Seahawks do battle.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at each big game in the Super Bowl's history, followed by a closer look at some of the greatest winners of all time.
|I||Jan. 15, 1967||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10|
|II||Jan. 14, 1968||Orange Bowl (Miami)||Green Bay 33, Oakland 14|
|III||Jan. 12, 1969||Orange Bowl (Miami)||New York Jets 16, Baltimore 7|
|IV||Jan. 11, 1970||Tulane Stadium (New Orleans)||Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7|
|V||Jan. 17, 1971||Orange Bowl (Miami)||Baltimore 16, Dallas 13|
|VI||Jan. 16, 1972||Tulane Stadium (New Orleans)||Dallas 24, Miami 3|
|VII||Jan. 14, 1973||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||Miami 14, Washington 7|
|VIII||Jan. 13, 1974||Rice Stadium (Houston)||Miami 24, Minnesota 7|
|IX||Jan. 12, 1975||Tulane Stadium (New Orleans)||Pittsburgh 16, Minnesota 6|
|X||Jan. 18, 1976||Orange Bowl (Miami)||Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17|
|XI||Jan. 9, 1977||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)||Oakland 32, Minnesota 14|
|XII||Jan. 15, 1978||Superdome (New Orleans)||Dallas 27, Denver 10|
|XIII||Jan. 21, 1979||Orange Bowl (Miami)||Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31|
|XIV||Jan. 20, 1980||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)||Pittsburgh 31, Los Angeles 19|
|XV||Jan. 25, 1981||Superdome (New Orleans)||Oakland 27, Philadelphia 10|
|XVI||Jan. 24, 1982||Silverdome (Pontiac, Mich.)||San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21|
|XVII||Jan. 30, 1983||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)||Washington 27, Miami 17|
|XVIII||Jan. 22, 1984||Tampa (Fla.) Stadium||Los Angeles 38, Washington 9|
|XIX||Jan. 20, 1985||Stanford (Calif.) Stadium||San Francisco 38, Miami 16|
|XX||Jan. 26, 1986||Superdome (New Orleans)||Chicago 46, New England 10|
|XXI||Jan. 25, 1987||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)||New York Giants 39, Denver 20|
|XXII||Jan. 31, 1988||Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego)||Washington 42, Denver 10|
|XXIII||Jan. 22, 1989||Joe Robbie Stadium (Miami)||San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16|
|XXIV||Jan. 28, 1990||Superdome (New Orleans)||San Francisco 55, Denver 10|
|XXV||Jan. 27, 1991||Tampa (Fla.) Stadium||New York Giants 20, Buffalo 19|
|XXVI||Jan. 26, 1992||Metrodome (Minneapolis)||Washington 37, Buffalo 24|
|XXVII||Jan. 31, 1993||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)||Dallas 52, Buffalo 17|
|XXVIII||Jan. 30, 1994||Georgia Dome (Atlanta)||Dallas 30, Buffalo 13|
|XXIX||Jan. 29, 1995||Joe Robbie Stadium (Miami)||San Francisco 49, San Diego 26|
|XXX||Jan. 28, 1996||Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, Ariz.)||Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 17|
|XXXI||Jan. 26, 1997||Superdome (New Orleans)||Green Bay 35, New England 21|
|XXXII||Jan. 25, 1998||Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego)||Denver 31, Green Bay 24|
|XXXIII||Jan. 31, 1999||Pro Player Stadium (Miami)||Denver 34, Atlanta 19|
|XXXIV||Jan. 30, 2000||Georgia Dome (Atlanta)||St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16|
|XXXV||Jan. 28, 2001||Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)||Baltimore 34, New York Giants 7|
|XXXVI||Feb. 3, 2002||Superdome (New Orleans)||New England 20, St. Louis 17|
|XXXVII||Jan. 26, 2003||Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego)||Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21|
|XXXVIII||Feb. 1, 2004||Reliant Stadium (Houston)||New England 32, Carolina 29|
|XXXIX||Feb. 6, 2005||Alltel Stadium (Jacksonville, Fla.)||New England 24, Philadelphia 21|
|XL||Feb. 5, 2006||Ford Field (Detroit)||Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10|
|XLI||Feb. 4, 2007||Dolphin Stadium (Miami)||Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17|
|XLII||Feb. 3, 2008||University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)||New York Giants 17, New England 14|
|XLIII||Feb. 1, 2009||Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)||Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Arizona Cardinals 23|
|XLIV||Feb. 7, 2010||Sun Life Stadium (Miami)||New Orleans Saints 31, Indianapolis Colts 17|
|XLV||Feb. 6, 2011||Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas)||Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25|
|XLVI||Feb. 5, 2012||Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)||New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17|
|XLVII||Feb. 3, 2013||Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans)||Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31|
*Stats courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise noted
1972 Miami Dolphins (14-0, 3-0)
The 2007 New England Patriots were so close to ousting the undefeated Dolphins on this list, but Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and the New York Giants found some improbable success and put the sole blemish on the Pats record in the Super Bowl.
This ‘Phins team may not have had the same firepower as that New England squad, but it still boasted nine Pro Bowl talents and six Hall of Famers. It is worth noting that Miami had the fortune of playing the league’s easiest schedule in 1972, and it is still ranked as easiest journey of all 80 Super Bowl participants as of 2006.
Regardless, Mercury Morris and Co. are deserving of mention as one of the all-time greats for their still-standing feat of being the only team to go undefeated in the regular season and playoffs in Super Bowl history.
Quarterback Bob Griese attempted just 11 passes, completing eight for 88 yards with a touchdown and an interception, per NFL.com. Miami rushed the ball 37 times for 184 yards, doing just enough to knock off the Washington Redskins, 14-7, to cap off its incredible run.
1978 Pittsburgh Steelers (14-2, 3-0)
If you couldn’t tell by the table above, head coach Chuck Noll’s “Steel Curtain” Steelers absolutely dominated the mid-to-late 1970s.
The 1978 Super Bowl team was arguably the best of the bunch, as it boasted 10 future Hall of Famers and secured the fourth championship in six years for this immensely successful franchise.
Pittsburgh’s defense ranked atop the league in points allowed that year, giving up just 12.2 per game that season. To put that in perspective, Seattle’s elite defense allowed 14.4 per game in 2013.
With Franco Harris pounding the rock and Terry Bradshaw having one of his finest seasons, the Steelers were unstoppable all the way through the Super Bowl.
Bradshaw went 17-of-30 passing for 318 yards, tossing four touchdowns to one interception, per NFL.com. Hall of Fame receiver Lynn Swann helped with much of that damage with seven catches for 124 yards and a score, while Harris added 68 yards and a TD on the ground.
While the Dallas Cowboys managed 330 total yards, the Steelers were efficient on third downs and vanquished the Cowboys, 35-31, forging their legacy as one of the NFL’s great dynasties.
1985 Chicago Bears (15-1, 3-0)
This Bears team is absolutely legendary. Not only did it routinely crush opponents on defense—giving up just 12.4 points per game all season long and cruising through three postseason games with a combined score of 91-10—but it also had fun doing it.
Best remembered for the “Super Bowl Shuffle” video that was filmed the day after Chicago’s first and only loss of the season, this confident group dominated in ’85, and no other team had a fighting chance.
There was no shortage of exciting talent on the roster, with Richard Dent recording 17 sacks, William “The Fridge” Perry scoring four touchdowns on the year and Walter “Sweetness” Payton going for more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage for the third consecutive season.
With head coach Mike Ditka calling the shots, the Bears held the New England Patriots to just 123 net yards on 54 offensive plays, per NFL.com. Chicago picked off the Pats twice and stifled them all day long. In total, New England managed just 12 first downs and converted one of 10 third downs on the day.
The Bears' 46-10 shellacking of New England in the big game solidified them as a group that will always be remembered with reverence in Super Bowl lore.
1992 Dallas Cowboys (13-3, 3-0)
The Cowboys were starting to define themselves as “America’s Team” back in 1992, the season that they won their first of three Super Bowls in four years.
The sheer amount of talent on that roster is a large reason why it was tough to root against these guys and even tougher to play against them. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Jay Novacek are just a few of the players who made up a star-studded lineup.
The team averaged 25.6 points, the second most in the league that year, in addition to boasting a defense that gave up the least amount of yards per game in the league. That balance translated to immense success on the field, with a point differential of plus-166.
Give the Cowboys additional credit for knocking off the 14-2 San Francisco 49ers, a true powerhouse at the time, in the NFC Championship to advance to the Super Bowl and kick-start their dynasty with a 52-17 win over the Buffalo Bills, in which Dallas forced several turnovers and moved the ball efficiently all game long.
The Cowboys sealed the victory in dominant fashion with 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points.
1989 San Francisco 49ers (14-2, 3-0)
The ’89 Niners were one of the most dominant teams the NFL has ever had the fortune to put on the field. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice were in their primes at the time, which allowed this team to average a whopping 27.6 points per game.
Where would you rank the 1989 49ers?
The defense wasn’t shabby either, with Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley wreaking havoc on the opposition. They helped keep foes to just 15.8 points and allowed the fourth-fewest yards per game in the league.
While legendary head coach Bill Walsh had retired and made way for George Seifert to come in and succeed in his first year, it likely didn’t matter who was calling the plays for this historically skilled group. They were destined for Super Bowl greatness, and no one was going to stop them.
That much was evident when the 49ers outscored opponents 126-26 in the postseason. Facing off against the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, Montana and Rice put their chemistry on full display, connecting seven times for 148 yards and three touchdowns in effortless fashion, per NFL.com. Montana was flawless, and the defense held John Elway to 10-of-26 passing for 108 yards and two interceptions.
Montana went on to win MVP honors, as San Francisco celebrated a 55-10 victory.