San Francisco 49ers: 1988
The 49ers were coming off one of their most disappointing playoff defeats in franchise history. After going 13-2 in 1987, they were stunned in their opener against the Minnesota Vikings. That loss seemed to extend its impact into 1988, creating all sorts of uncharacteristic performances from a team typically known for its precision and effectiveness.
Head coach Bill Walsh didn’t make things much easier with his fueling of the ongoing quarterback controversy between starter Joe Montana and backup Steve Young. Things reached a boiling point when the team lost its fourth game in six weeks in which the offense managed just three points and committed two costly turnovers.
Walsh was compelled by his staff to end the controversy and make a decision at quarterback. He decided to stick with Montana. The 49ers responded with four-straight wins and locked up a division title. From there they seemed to have found their groove, blowing out the Vikings and Bears en route to the Super Bowl. Montana then rewarded Walsh’s decision by delivering the greatest game-winning drive in playoff history that point, going 92 yards to win 23-16.