The San Francisco 49ers arrived in New Orleans this weeks as heavy favorites, but also with history on their side. The 49ers have been in New Orleans for the Super Bowl once before, way back in 1990, and they lit the Superdome up on the night. This Sunday, they can only hope that Super Bowl XLVII turns out just like Super Bowl XXIV.
Just like this year's 49ers will, the 49ers walked into the Superdome 23 years ago as heavy favorites. By the time the game kicked, Vegas had San Francisco as 12-point favorites.
But 12 points wasn't nearly enough.
The 49ers came out and laid a beat down on the Denver Broncos from the very start. They forced a three and out on the Broncos' opening drive then went 66 yards the other way for a touchdown. Denver tried to make a game of it by responding with a field goal and a stop, but a fumble on the Broncos' next drive turned into another 49ers touchdown and San Francisco was off.
Unable to stop Joe Montana, and lacking an answer for fullback Tom Rathman, the 49ers went on a 13-play touchdown drive to stretch their lead to 20-3. A 38-yard touchdown pass from Montana to Jerry Rice then added to the 49ers' lead and sent them into the locker room at halftime up 27-3 and well on their way to a Super Bowl victory.
The second half went just like the first for the 49ers. Mike Walter intercepted John Elway on the first play of the third quarter, setting up another Montana to Rice touchdown. The following Broncos' drive ended in another Elway interception and led to another Montana touchdown pass, making it 41-3 San Francisco.
Denver did eventually find the endzone for the first and only time when on an Elway touchdown run, but Rathman scored for the second time on the night on San Francisco's next drive to make it a 38-point game again. But the 49ers weren't done.
Don Griffin continued Elway's nightmare, sacking the Denver quarterback and forcing a fumble that Danny Stubbs returned to the one-yard line. From there, Roger Craig only had to plunge into the endzone to cap the 49ers' 55-10 demolition of the Broncos, which remains the biggest margin of victory in Super Bowl history.
Montana took home Super Bowl MVP honors for the third time in New Orleans after completing 22 of 29 passes for 297 yards. He set a Super Bowl record with five touchdown passes, three of which were to Rice, who also set a Super Bowl record for touchdown receptions.
Every single statistic showed just how dominant the 49ers were on the night. Beyond the already impressive score, San Francisco out-gained Denver 461-167, had the ball for 39:31, picked up 28 first downs to the Broncos' 12 and won the turnover battle 3-0.
Now the 49ers are back in New Orleans. Asking them to match what Montana and Co. did back in 1990 might be a little much considering it remains the most dominating Super Bowl performance in history, but a win and a Colin Kaepernick MVP will do. Really, anything that keeps New Orleans the 49ers' town will be just fine in San Francisco.