5 NFL teams that ended dynasties

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May 22nd, 2020

Nothing lasts forever, especially in the NFL, where underdogs have a sneaky habit of crushing champions.

Here are five teams that ended NFL dynasties.

The New York Giants end the Joe Montana era

After they destroyed the Denver Broncos, 55-10, to win their fourth Super Bowl, Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers were in prime position to repeat the feat ahead of the 1991 NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.

New York’s defense shut down the 49ers and kicked five field goals to win, 15-13.

Montana eventually lost his starting job to Steve Young and was traded to Kansas City two seasons later.

An expansion team shuts down Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys won their third Super Bowl in four years, and many believed the tandem of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin could pull off another ahead of the 1996 season.

Turmoil, injuries, and age wore on America’s Team on their way to an underwhelming 10-6 record and a wild-card berth.

Though they throttled the Vikings in their first playoff game, the Cowboys were no match for a Carolina Panthers squad that entered the league in the previous season. Carolina’s defense mauled the Cowboys, and it would be the beginning of a dark age that saw the Cowboys sink from champs to chumps.

John Elway denies Brett Favre

In 1997, the Green Bay Packers celebrated their first Super Bowl win in 30 years. The next year, they were primed to roll over the Denver Broncos, who were led by the always-a-bridesmaid-but-never-a-bride John Elway, in Super Bowl XXXI.

Though Elway was awful, the Packers defense was unable to contain eventual Super Bowl MVP Terrell Davis, who ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns in the Broncos 31-24 upset win.

Elway won his first Super Bowl, after three previous attempts, and Packers quarterback Brett Favre never again reached the big game. 

The Patriots cancel the 'Greatest Show on Turf'

In the early 2000s, the St. Louis Rams were the most explosive team in the NFL.

The Rams were all but sure to win their second Super Bowl against the lowly New England Patriots in 2002, but the Patriots shut down the Rams, and Adam Vinatieri made the game-winning field goal as time expired.

St. Louis imploded in the years to follow, ceding their mojo to the Patriots who began their remarkable run at the top of the NFL.

Eli Manning denies Patriots perfection

The Patriots were not going to be denied their fourth title in six years, especially not after an undefeated regular-season record, and not against a 12-point underdog, the Giants, in Super Bowl XLII.

New York was not only more than a match for the perfect Patriots, but an otherworldly performance from Eli Manning, which included David Tyree's famous helmet catch, resulted in a shocking win.

New England had to wait seven more years to win their fourth of six titles.

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