Sometimes bad results in the conference title games lead to ugly Super
Bowls. Here are some speculations about better matchups that we could have
gotten over the years:
1976: Raiders v. Rams
Raiders outclass old, worn out Viking squad by moving the ball easily in the
air and on the ground. The Rams, who lost to the Vikes 24-13 in a screwy
game decided by blocked kicks, would have put up more of a fight. The Rams
defense was extremely stingy against the run and pass, and their offense was
very effective at running the ball. Raiders win, but by a much closer
1977: Raiders v. Cowboys
One of the greatest disappointments of 70s football was that the NFL fan
never got to see the great Doomsday-era Cowboys square off against Madden's
great Raiders in the SB. In 'real life', the talent-laden Cowboys roll over
under-talented cinderella Denver team. They whipped them on both sides of
the ball. The Raiders, losers of a very close AFC title game in Denver in
which they were the victim of a bad goal-line fumble call, would have been
much more formidable opposition. Snake vs. Staubach? It woulda been fun!
1980: Cowboys v. Raiders
This time, it was Cowboys NFC title game ineptness that prevented a matchup
with the Raiders, leading to a lopsided game in which Vermeil's team was
beaten soundly every which way. As in '77, it is hard to see the loaded
Cowboys team of '80 going down so easily...
1983: Raiders v. 49ers
Yeah, the Redskins would have been ranked #1 in any football poll all season
long....right up until the time the Raiders returned that blocked punt for a
td and started the SB rout, that is. Bottom line here is that it's hard to
visuallize any Walsh/Montana team -even this injury plagued version that was
robbed in the NFC title game by a bad pass interference call - getting
creamed this bad by anyone, even the deserving Raiders....
1985: Dolphins v. Bears
Dolphins upset loss at home to Pats in AFC title game deprived us of seeing
whether they could duplicate their 38-24 win over the Bears during the reg.
season. Marino would have given them a chance, even against this awesomely
*** Bears team...
1987: Browns v. Redskins
In the late 80s, the under-sized and too slow Broncs simply couldn't match
up physically or athletically with the NFC winners in any of the three SBs
they played in during that time. The Browns, victimized by the famous
goal-line fumble in the last minute of their AFC title loss to Denver, were
a big physical team that the Redskins would have had more difficulty
1994: 49ers v. Steelers
Yeah, this *** Niners team would have been a substantial favorite even
against Pitt, but the Steelers - title game chokers against San Diego in one
of the most shocking conference playoff losses of the decade - probably
wouldn't have let the Niners score on the *very first* snap from scrimmage!
1998: Vikings v. Denver
Vikes were the best team all year right up to the point where their field
goal kicker decided to miss his *first kick of the year* with 4 minutes to
go in the NFC title game, a kick that would have salted the game away. The
talented Vikes would have been a far more formidable opponent than the
cinderella Falcons were in the SB...