A look back at the last time NFL championship teams won the Super Bowl

Joe Montana ruined Cincinnati's title hopes in 1989.

Joe Montana ruined Cincinnati’s title hopes in 1989.
Picture: Getty Images

As we know all too well, the long-suffering Bengals never quite made it to the top. They appeared in two Super Bowls, in 1982 and 1989, and lost both to the Joe Montana-era 49ers during their aforementioned hot streak. For the purposes of this article, we’ll go with their last appearance, having beaten the Bills in the AFC Championship under QB Boomer Esiason, who won the NFL MVP award that season. Eddie Brown and Ickey Woods led the team in receiving and rushing yards, respectively, during the 1988 season. The Bengals had a narrow lead going into the fourth quarter of that Super Bowl, but two late touchdowns of San Francisco sealed their fate (and Montana had the famous line “Isn’t it John Candy?”). This was the first Super Bowl in which instant replay was used to reverse a field call.

In early 1989, George HW Bush was sworn in as President of the United States, along with the execution of Ted Bundy. The Cold War was still going on and the Berlin Wall was still standing. The Tiananmen Square Massacre will occur a few months later. A few months earlier, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were born. Notre Dame had just won its 11th national championship, a feat it has not been able to repeat to this day.

If we’re lucky enough to get more games like the ones we’ve seen this weekend on Sunday, this could become one of the greatest playoff series in NFL history. The Bengals will face the Chiefs in the AFC Championship, and the 49ers will face the Rams in the NFC.

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