WHEN THIS season began, the Dolphins and the 49ers had the most regular-season victories in the NFL since the 1970 merger. The two teams had made the playoffs a combined 42 times, and in January '85 they squared off in Super Bowl XIX. (The Niners won 38--16.) Even after what has arguably been the low point in the history of each franchise, Miami and San Francisco still rank first and fourth, respectively, in victories. (All figures in the chart are since the merger.)

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