San Francisco 49ers
In 1990, the two-time defending Super Bowl champion 49ers had the best record in football, at 14-2, but they lost by two points to the Giants in the NFC Championship game. In the regular season, the Niners looked destined for a third straight title, winning their first 10 games. Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana won 14 of the 15 games he started, threw for 26 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards, and won a 2nd straight league MVP. Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice became the first player in the Super Bowl era to lead the NFL in catches (100), receiving yards (1,502), and receiving touchdowns (13) in the same season. The 49ers ranked second in scoring defense (14.9) and were led by a pair of future Hall of Famers: linebacker Charles Haley, who had 16 sacks, and safety Ronnie Lott. The Niners rolled in the NFC Divisional Round, beating the Redskins, 28-10. But a 4th quarter injury to Joe Montana and a GW field goal by Matt Bahr led to a 15-13 victory for the Giants, and a trip to the Super Bowl.