NFL Throwback Thursday: Browns-Broncos among the classic rivalries during the 1980s

The NFL was coming into uncharted territory because the Nineteen Eighties started. Whereas skilled soccer had supplanted baseball as America’s No. 1 pastime, a number of of the league’s perennial powers — groups that had helped the league attain these new heights in recognition — had began to point out indicators of decline. The Steelers, Cowboys and Dolphins have been nonetheless aggressive, however the league wanted some new groups and people to emerge if it wished to maintain its place atop the skilled sports activities panorama. 

Not solely did new groups step up, the NFL additionally witnessed the delivery of a number of new rivalries, ones that, in lots of circumstances, helped decide who would contemplate themselves a dynasty by the tip of the last decade. The NFL additionally noticed the start of a 13-year run of dominance by the NFC, because the convention champion would go onto hoist the Lombardi Trophy annually from 1984-96. 

We’re having a look at professional soccer’s high 5 rivalries through the ’80s. And whereas Doc Brown’s DeLorean could be a greater approach to revisit the ’80s, we’ll do our greatest to recapture the rivalries that made professional soccer in that decade a “completely superior” time. However do not take my phrase for it. 

Honorable Point out: Seahawks vs. Raiders 

One of many AFC’s greatest rivalries through the Nineteen Eighties, Seattle gained 11 of its 21 matchups through the decade in opposition to the Raiders, who were able to defeat the Seahawks in the 1983 AFC Championship Game after being swept by Seattle through the common season. Marcus Allen’s 216 all-purpose yards spearheaded the Raiders’ offense, whereas Corridor of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes helped maintain Seattle’s Corridor of Fame receiver Steve Largent to simply 25 yards on two catches. Seattle would finish the Raiders’ title protection a 12 months later, because the Seahawks’ protection sacked Jim Plunkett six occasions in a 13-7 victory within the wild card spherical. 

Three years later, the 2 groups performed in one of the crucial notorious video games in “Monday Evening Soccer” historical past. With the pregame hype centered round Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth and Raiders operating again Bo Jackson, Jackson delivered with a sport for the ages, dashing for 221 yards and two touchdowns that included a 91-yard landing run. Jackson additionally scored on a 2-yard landing run as he plowed over “The Boz” into the tip zone. 

General head-to-head document through the decade: 49ers, 5-3
Playoff document through the decade: 49ers, 2-1
Longest successful streak: 3 (Vikings, 1985-87; 49ers, 1988-89)
Greatest sport: Oct. 30, 1988: 49ers 24, Vikings 21

After having their means with a lot of the NFC through the first half of the ’80s, the 49ers have been starting to come back again to the sphere by 1985. That season, the Vikings gained for the primary time that decade in opposition to the 49ers after dropping video games in opposition to San Francisco in 1983 and ’84. Two years later, Minnesota, led by Anthony Carter’s 227 receiving yards, shocked the heavily favorited 49ers within the divisional spherical of the playoffs. The loss almost led to the retirement of 49ers head coach Invoice Walsh, who known as the defeat probably the most troublesome one in all his profession. Throughout the sport, the 49ers benched Joe Montana in favor of Steve Younger, which led to a extremely publicized quarterback controversy that continued properly into the 1988 season. 

San Francisco was a pedestrian 5-3 when it entered the Week 9 matchup with the visiting Vikings. Walsh, who had nonetheless not settled on a beginning quarterback, determined to begin Younger, who had success in opposition to the Vikings after changing Montana within the playoffs. After a sluggish begin, Younger helped engineer three second-half scoring drives that included his game-winning, 49-yard landing run, thought of one of many biggest runs in NFL historical past. The win enabled the 49ers to acquire home-field benefit in opposition to the Vikings through the divisional spherical of the playoffs. This time, with Montana again underneath heart, the 49ers gained with ease, 34-9, en path to successful their first Super Bowl since January 1985. 

The following season, the 49ers once more made fast work of the Vikings within the divisional spherical of the playoffs, with Montana’s 4 landing passes spearheading San Francisco’s 41-13 win. The 49ers would go on to win their fourth Tremendous Bowl of the last decade, whereas the Vikings must wait eight years earlier than making it again to the divisional spherical of the playoffs. 

4. Giants vs. Washington 

General head-to-head document through the decade: Washington, 11-10
Playoff document through the decade: Giants, 1-0 
Longest successful streak: 6 (WFT, 1981-84) 
Greatest sport: Oct. 27, 1986: Giants 27, Washington 20 

The one divisional rivalry that made the lower, the Giants and Redskins gained a mixed six division titles and three Tremendous Bowls through the Nineteen Eighties. Washington, led by Corridor of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, dominated the sequence early on, going 8-1 in opposition to the Giants at first of the last decade whereas successful two NFC titles in addition to the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl within the course of. 

Issues started to shift the Giants’ means in 1984, throughout Invoice Parcells’ second season as New York’s head coach. After struggling a 16-point loss to Washington earlier within the season, the Giants ended their six-game dropping streak in opposition to Washington by posting a 37-13 win at dwelling in Week 9. The win helped the Giants sew up a playoff spot, the place they defeated Eric Dickerson  and the Rams within the divisional spherical (incomes Parcells his first playoff win as a head coach). The next season, Lawrence Taylor inadvertently ended Joe Theismann’s profession when his hit on Theismann broke the QB’s leg. The damage opened the door for Jay Schroeder, who would spend the following three years as Washington’s starter earlier than being changed by Tremendous Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams. 

After dropping a troublesome street sport in opposition to Seattle, the 5-2 Giants welcomed 6-1 Washington to the Meadowlands for a pivotal Week 8 showdown that was seen all through the nation on “Monday Evening Soccer.” After leaping out to a 20-3 lead, the Giants watched as Washington scored 17 unanswered factors, with six of these factors approaching a 42-yard landing go from Schroeder to Gary Clark, who completed the sport with 241 yards on 11 receptions. Undaunted, the Giants responded by scoring the game-winning landing, a 13-yard run by operating again Joe Morris, who completed the sport with 181 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. The win, together with the Giants’ 24-14 win over Washington in Week 15, gave New York home-field benefit for its showdown in opposition to Washington within the NFC title sport. Aided by a blustery wind that gave Washington way more points than it did the Giants, Taylor and the remainder of New York’s protection shut out Washington en path to the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl title. 

3. Bears vs. Washington

General head-to-head document through the decade: Tied, 4-4
Playoff document through the decade: Washington, 2-1
Greatest sport: 1987 divisional spherical: Washington 21, Bears 17

Led by Walter Payton’s 104 dashing yards (in addition to his second-quarter landing go), the Bears dethroned the defending two-time NFC champions within the divisional spherical of the 1984 playoffs. A 12 months later, the Bears went 15-1 through the common season, together with a 45-10 thrashing of Washington, which missed the playoffs regardless of successful 10 video games through the common season. The Bears went on to win their first Lombardi Trophy, defeating the Giants and Rams within the NFC playoffs earlier than dismantling the Patriots in Tremendous Bowl XX 46-10. 

After Washington ended the Bears’ title protection within the 1986 playoffs, the 2 groups squared off once more within the postseason within the divisional spherical of the 1987 playoffs. With the windchill at -20 levels, neither staff might get its passing sport going, with Jim McMahon and Doug Williams combining to throw for simply 370 internet yards with two touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Regardless of the climate, the Bears did have success early on, with Payton (105 complete yards on 19 touches) serving to Chicago soar out to a 14-0 lead. 

Washington, nevertheless, fought again to tie the rating heading into halftime. With it nonetheless tied within the third quarter, Joe Gibbs determined to place future Corridor of Fame cornerback Darrell Inexperienced again as a punt returner. The consequence was a 50-yard return for a landing by Inexperienced, who managed to get into the tip zone regardless of struggling a rib damage on the play. Whereas Inexperienced would miss the rest of the sport, Washington held on for a four-point victory in what could be the ultimate sport of Payton’s Corridor of Fame profession. Washington would then defeat the Vikings within the NFC title sport earlier than steamrolling John Elway and the Broncos in Tremendous Bowl XXII 42-10. 

2. Broncos vs. Browns 

General head-to-head document through the decade: Broncos, 8-1
Playoff document through the decade: Broncos, 3-0  
Longest successful streak: 7 (Broncos, 1980-88)
Greatest sport: 1986 AFC Championship Sport: Broncos 23, Browns 20 

Elway’s Broncos are one of many greatest explanation why the Browns are nonetheless ready for his or her first Tremendous Bowl look. Thrice over a four-year span, the Browns superior to inside a sport of the Tremendous Bowl, solely to be turned again by the Broncos, who would go on to lose every of their Tremendous Bowl matchups throughout that span by a mixed rating of 136-40. The Broncos of that period epitomized the expertise disparity that existed between the 2 conferences throughout this time in NFL historical past, because the Raiders (1980 and ’83) have been the one AFC staff that gained a Tremendous Bowl through the decade. 

Cleveland’s greatest likelihood to beat the Broncos got here of their first playoff assembly with Denver. With the rating tied at 13, Bernie Kosar’s 48-yard landing go to Brian Brennan gave the Browns a late lead over the visiting Broncos within the 1986 AFC Championship Sport. The Browns gave the impression to be on their approach to a showdown with the Giants in Tremendous Bowl XXI after pinning the Broncos’ offense on their very own 2-yard line with underneath six minutes remaining. However regardless of the circumstances that included a raucous Cleveland Municipal Stadium crowd, Elway calmly moved the Broncos’ offense down the sphere, throwing the game-tying landing go to Mark Jackson with 37 seconds left. The Broncos would go on to win the sport in time beyond regulation to punch their first ticket to the Tremendous Bowl since January 1978. 

The next season, it will be the Browns who have been threatening to attain within the closing minutes of the AFC title sport. Trailing by 5 factors and simply 8 yards away from the tip zone, Browns operating again Ernest Byner, who had loved a profession sport up till this level, fumbled just short of the goal line, because the Broncos escaped with a 38-33 win. The Broncos have since added three Lombardi Trophies to their trophy case, whereas the Browns have but to make a return journey to the AFC title sport since dropping to the Broncos for a 3rd time in January 1990. 

1. Giants vs. 49ers 

General head-to-head document through the decade: 49ers, 8-3
Playoff document through the decade: 2-2
Longest successful streak: 5 (49ers, 1980-84)
Greatest video games: Dec. 1, 1986: Giants 21, 49ers 17;  Sept. 11, 1988: 49ers 20, Giants 17 

Much like their rivalry with the Redskins, the Giants took their lumps in opposition to the 49ers through the early a part of the last decade earlier than getting issues circled shortly after Parcells grew to become head coach in 1983. After dropping playoff video games in San Francisco in 1981 and ’84, the Giants held the defending champion 49ers to a mere three factors of their divisional spherical playoff victory over San Francisco in 1985.

In Week 13 of the 1986 season, the 49ers jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead over the visiting Giants on “Monday Evening Soccer.” Undaunted, the Giants responded by scoring the sport’s closing 21 factors, with operating again Ottis Anderson scoring the game-winning landing. On month later, within the divisional spherical spherical of the ’86 playoffs, Jim Burt’s devastating hit on Montana not solely knocked Montana out of the sport, it set the tempo for New York’s 49-3 blowout win over the 49ers. 

Each groups have been vying for NFC supremacy when the 49ers headed to the Meadowlands for a Week 2 matchup with the Giants in 1988. With Younger making his first begin as a 49er, San Francisco’s offense managed to attain simply 10 factors through the sport’s first half-hour. With the 49ers trailing 17-13 with 58 seconds left, and Montana within the sport in aid of Younger, Walsh known as “76 All Go,” a play the coach put in in observe earlier within the week particularly for the Giants. The play labored to perfection, as Montana lofted the ball down the close to sideline to Jerry Rice, who beat two Giants defenders on his approach to a 78-yard landing. The win helped set in movement the 49ers’ second wave of Tremendous Bowl success, as San Francisco closed out the last decade with victories in Tremendous Bowls XXIII and XXIV. Eighties/ | NFL Throwback Thursday: Browns-Broncos among the many traditional rivalries through the Nineteen Eighties


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