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On This Date in Sports January 28, 1990: Super Blowout

In Collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Super Bowl XXIV turns into a super blowout as the San Francisco 49ers crushed the Denver Broncos 55-10 at the Louisiana Superdome. The game is the biggest rout in Super Bowl history, as the 49ers become the team of the decade, by equaling the Steelers record of four Lombardi Trophies. In winning his third Super Bowl MVP, Joe Montana passes for 297 yards with five touchdowns. The Broncos meanwhile join the Vikings with four Super Bowl losses.

As the 1980s came to an end, the San Francisco 49ers were the NFL’s best. Having just dramatically won their third Lombardi Trophy, San Francisco had a new coach for the 1989 season as Bill Walsh retired and was replaced by George Seifert. Joe Montana won his first NFL MVP in 1989, leading the 49ers to a 14-2 record. On the way to New Orleans, the 49ers easily beat the Minnesota Vikings 41-13 and slammed the Los Angeles Rams 30-3 in the NFC Championship Game.

The Denver Broncos coached by Dan Reeves were becoming regulars to the big game themselves. After losing Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXII, they won the AFC Championship Game for the third time in four years. After posting an 11-5 record in the regular season and surviving a scare against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Round, winning 24-23.

The 49ers beating of the Broncos was down in an awe-inspiring symmetrical way, as they scored two touchdowns in each quarter, with the only flaw being a missed PAT. On their first possession, the Niners marched 66 yards, with Jerry Rice catching a 20-yard pass from Joe Montana. The Broncos answered with a 42-yard field goal by David Treadwell. Late in the quarter, San Francisco struck again, when Brent Jones caught a seven-yard touchdown pass, with Mike Cofer missing the extra point, is their only flaw.

In the second quarter, the Niners continued to pull away, as Tom Rathman completed a 69-yard drive with a one-yard power run. Scoring on their first possession of the second quarter, the Niners again scored on their last possession of the half, as Rice reeled in a 38-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 27-3.

Outclassed in every way possible, the Broncos stopped San Francisco on the first series in the third quarter. However, John Elway’s first pass of the second half was picked off by Mike Walter. The Niners would not take long to make Denver pay for the mistake as Rice had a 28-yard reception for this third score of the game. After a second Elway interception, San Francisco made it 41-3 when John Taylor caught, Montana’s fifth touchdown pass for 35 yards.

The Broncos managed to get some pride when John Elway had a three-yard run, but it was clear the game was already over. The Niners closed the third quarter on a long drive that saw Rathman score on the first play of the fourth quarter. Following a strip-sack of Elway, the Niners got the ball at the one, with Roger Craig crashing into the endzone, to give them 49ers the first 50-point Super Bowl performance. Joe Montana would sit most of the fourth quarter as Steve Young got his first taste of Super Bowl action with the Niners holding a 55-10 lead.

The game was ugly in every metric, score 55-10, first downs 28-12, yards 461-167, turnovers 4-0, and time of possession two-to-one in favor of the 49ers.