1999 NFL Preview
Weekly lineup

 Monday, September 6
Six have tried, all have failed

 The Denver Broncos are the seventh team to attempt to win three consecutive Super Bowls. Here's a look at how the other six teams fared during their threepeat bids:

1966-67 Green Bay Packers
 Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi
Titles: Beat Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in Super Bowl I and Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II.

Key members: Quarterback Bart Starr (MVP of the first two Super Bowls), running backs Donny Anderson and Elijah Pitts, wide receivers Boyd Dowler and Max McGee, offensive linemen Forrest Gregg, Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston, defensive end Willie Davis, linebacker Ray Nitschke, cornerback Herb Adderley, safety Willie Wood and coach Vince Lombardi.

1968 season: Failed to make NFL playoffs, finishing 8-6 for third place in the Central Division of the Western Conference, four games behind Minnesota (12-2) and 1½ games back of Detroit (9-4-1).

Threepeat bid ruined when: Lombardi resigned following the 1968 season to become part-owner, executive vice president and head coach of the Washington Redskins. Phil Bengston succeeded Lombardi as Packers coach and lasted only three seasons, posting a mediocre 20-21-1 record. Green Bay's 1969 season came apart in early November when the Pack (5-2 at the time) lost three consecutive games, including back-to-back losses to divisional rivals Minnesota and Detroit. It's worth noting that Lombardi and the Packers did win three straight NFL titles (1965-67), but that run started a year before the Super Bowl began.

Super Bowl III winner: Joe Namath and the Jets stunned the mighty Baltimore Colts 16-7, ending the NFL's stranglehold on the game and forcing everyone to take the upstart AFL seriously.

1972-73 Miami Dolphins
 Larry Csonka
Larry Csonka
Titles: Beat Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII to clinch the NFL's only unbeaten season (17-0) and then beat Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII.

Key members: Quarterback Bob Griese, running backs Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris and Jim Kiick, wide receiver Paul Warfield, offensive linemen Larry Little, Bob Kuechenberg, Norm Evans and Jim Langer, tight end Marv Fleming, defensive linemen Vern Den Herder and Manny Fernandez, linebackers Nick Buoniconti, Bill Stanfill and Doug Swift, cornerbacks Tim Foley and Curtis Johnson, safeties Jake Scott and Dick Anderson and coach Don Shula.

1974 season: Miami won the AFC East with an 11-3 record, the second-best mark in the entire NFL behind only Oakland's 12-2 record. However, because of a pre-determined playoff format, the Dolphins and Raiders met in the first round of the playoffs. Hampered by injuries, Miami was eliminated with a 28-26 loss in Oakland.

Threepeat bid ruined when: Ken Stabler escaped the clutches of Den Herder and threw a wobbly 8-yard TD pass to Clarence Davis with just 26 seconds left to lift Oakland over Miami in that AFC divisional playoff game. It first appeared Stabler's pass had been intercepted, but Davis wrestled the ball away from three Miami defenders. The Dolphins defense was extremely banged up entering that game: Swift had a broken arm, Scott and Anderson had bad knees, Fernandez played with a separated shoulder and shredded cartilage in his left knee and Stanfill played with two neck harnesses.

Super Bowl IX winner: Pittsburgh defeated Minnesota 16-6, starting the Steelers' run of four Super Bowl titles in a six-year span.

1974-75 Pittsburgh Steelers
 Franco Harris
Franco Harris
Titles: Defeated Minnesota Vikings 16-6 in Super Bowl IX and Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in Super Bowl X.

Key members: Quarterback Terry Bradshaw, running backs Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, offensive linemen Mike Webster, Jon Kolb and Steve Furness, defensive linemen Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood and Dwight White, linebackers Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Andy Russell, cornerback Mel Blount, safeties Donnie Shell and Mike Wagner and coach Chuck Noll.

1976 season: The Steelers went 10-4 and won the AFC Central by a tiebreaker over Cincinnati. Pittsburgh defeated AFC East champion Baltimore 40-14 in the divisional playoffs, but the Steelers were eliminated the following week with a 24-7 loss at Oakland in the AFC Championship Game.

Threepeat bid ruined when: The Steelers got off to a dreadful 1-4 start to the '76 season, losing three of those games by a combined eight points. Although Pittsburgh rebounded to close the regular season with nine consecutive wins -- a stretch that included five shutouts and saw the Steel Curtain allow a total of only 28 points -- the Steelers couldn't wrestle home-field advantage away from rival Oakland (13-1). That edge proved key in helping the Raiders end a history of tough playoff losses to Pittsburgh.

Super Bowl XI winner: The Raiders went on to defeat the Vikings 32-14, handing Minnesota its fourth Super Bowl loss in four tries.

1978-79 Pittsburgh Steelers
 Terry Bradshaw
Terry Bradshaw
Titles: Defeated Dallas Cowboys 35-31 in Super Bowl XIII and Los Angeles Rams 31-19 in Super Bowl IV

Key members: The cast of characters is nearly identical to the title teams from 1974-75. Linebacker Andy Russell was replaced by newcomer Robin Cole, and tight end Bennie Cunningham and cornerback Dwayne Woodruff came aboard, but that was about it.

1980 season: The Steelers went 9-7 and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1971. They finished third in the AFC Central, two games back of both champion Cleveland and wild-card winner Houston.

Threepeat bid ruined when: The Steelers' core group of stars all got old at the same time. Greene and Greenwood retired after the 1981 season, Ham and Swann quit in 1982, Bradshaw and Blount hung it up in 1983 and Lambert finished his career in 1984. After four Super Bowl wins in six seasons and seven division titles in the 1970s, the clock had run out on these Steelers.

Super Bowl XV winner: The Raiders defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10.

1988-89 San Francisco 49ers
 Joe Montana
Joe Montana
Titles: Beat Cincinnati Bengals 20-16 in Super Bowl XXIII and Denver Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV.

Key members: Quarterback Joe Montana, running backs Roger Craig and Tom Rathman, wide receivers Jerry Rice and John Taylor, tight end Brent Jones, offensive linemen Harris Barton, Guy McIntyre and Jesse Sapolu, defensive linemen Pierce Holt and Michael Carter, linebackers Charles Haley and Bill Romanowski, cornerback Eric Wright, safety Ronnie Lott and coaches Bill Walsh (1988) and George Seifert (1989).

1990 season: San Francisco had the best record (14-2) in the NFL, won the NFC West by six games and secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. After opening the playoffs with a 28-10 victory over Washington, the Niners were stunned by the Giants 15-13 in the NFC Championship Game.

Threepeat bid ruined when: Giants defensive tackle Erik Howard forced Craig to fumble, and Lawrence Taylor recovered with 2:36 remaining in the NFC title game and San Francisco holding a 13-12 lead. The fumble set up Matt Bahr's field goal as time expired -- Bahr's fifth field goal of the day, and it gave the Giants the victory in a game in which they did not score a touchdown. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Montana had been injured when he was hit hard by Leonard Marshall. That brutal hit led to future back and elbow problems for Montana, whose career as a Niner would end in 1992. Still, the Niners' run remains the closest any team has come to the elusive threepeat.

Super Bowl XXV winner: The Giants edged the Buffalo Bills 20-19 when Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal with seconds remaining.

1992-93 Dallas Cowboys
 Michael Irvin
Michael Irvin
Titles: Beat Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII and again beat Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII.

Key members: Quarterback Troy Aikman, running backs Emmitt Smith and Daryl Johnston, wide receivers Michael Irvin and Alvin Harper, offensive linemen Nate Newton, Erik Williams, Mark Stepnoski, Mark Tuinei and Kevin Gogan, tight end Jay Novacek, defensive linemen Leon Lett, Jim Jeffcoat, Russell Maryland and Tony Casillas, linebacker Ken Norton Jr., cornerback Kevin Smith, safeties Bill Bates and Darren Woodson and coach Jimmy Johnson.

1994 season: Dallas went 12-4 and won the NFC East for the third consecutive season. The Cowboys demolished Green Bay 35-9 in the NFC divisional playoffs, advancing to face the Niners in the conference title game for the third straight year. Unlike the previous two years, however, San Francisco was too much for Dallas, earning a 38-28 victory.

Threepeat bid ruined when: Jimmy Johnson resigned as coach following the Cowboys' Super Bowl win in January 1994. Barry Switzer replaced him and got Dallas to the NFC title game -- and Switzer would win a Super Bowl after the '95 season -- but he wasn't anywhere near the coach Johnson was. In the loss to the Niners, the 'Boys fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter and never got back within a touchdown.

Super Bowl XXIX winner: San Francisco overwhelmed San Diego 49-26, becoming the first franchise to win five Super Bowls.


Garber: Threepeat quite a feat

Focal Point: Who will ruin threepeat?

A second shot at three in a row