Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
New York Giants 15, San Francisco 49ers 13 (1/20/91)
No team has ever won the Super Bowl three consecutive times.
The 1968 Green Bay Packers stumbled to a 6-7-1 record, their first losing year since 1958.
The 1974 Miami Dolphins lost in the divisional round to the Oakland Raiders.
The 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers fell in the AFC Championship to the Oakland Raiders.
The 1994 Dallas Cowboys fell in the NFC Championship to the San Francisco 49ers.
The 1999 Denver Broncos stumbled to a 6-10 record after John Elway’s retirement and Terrell Davis’ injury.
The 2005 New England Patriots lost in the divisional round to the Denver Broncos.
The 1990 San Francisco 49ers…
The 49ers had the 1990 NFC Championship won. It had been hard-fought, and it took a physical toll on the team. Joe Montana took a vicious shot from Leonard Marshall, severely injuring him and essentially ending his career with San Francisco, but before he left, he hooked up with John Taylor for the only touchdown of the game.
The Giants kept driving, but they could never find the end zone. Matt Bahr had drilled four field goals, but the 49ers were clinging to a one-point lead as backup quarterback Steve Young tried to drain the clock. With 5:47 left on the clock, the 49ers began driving and were in control.
After taking three minutes off the clock, Young handed the ball to the sure-handed Roger Craig. Craig was hit immediately by Erik Howard, dropping the ball, which fell right into the arms of Lawrence Taylor. The 49ers never had a chance to recover the fumble.
It was the only turnover of the game.
The Giants drove the length of the field, and Bahr kicked his fifth and final field goal as time expired, sending the 49ers home.
Would Young have managed to lead the 49ers to victory in the Super Bowl in place of an injured Montana? We’ll never know. Could they have outlasted the Buffalo Bills, who lost to the Giants only on a missed field goal as time expired? It’s impossible to say.
It was the end of the dynasty. Montana only played one more half of football for San Francisco, and the 49ers actually missed the playoffs the next season. It was the last hurrah for players such as Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott, who would be gone the next time the 49ers returned to the Super Bowl.
All things end badly. Otherwise, they wouldn’t end. The end of the 49ers’ dynasty of the 1980s is the most painful loss in 49ers history.
Bryan Knowles is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the San Francisco 49ers. Follow him @BryKno on Twitter.