SANTA CLARA -- It's been 24 years since the 49ers routed the Broncos 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV, and a rematch could be coming in two weeks at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Peyton Manning led the Broncos to a 26-16 home win over the New England Patriots in Sunday's AFC Championship game. That game completed some 30 minutes before kickoff of the NFC Championship game between the 49ers and host Seahawks.
The 49ers are looking to become only the eighth Super Bowl runner-up to return to that championship stage, having lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII last year in New Orleans.
Only the 1971 Dallas Cowboys and 1972 Miami Dolphins won Super Bowls after losing the previous season's.
Of the five other runner-ups who returned to the Super Bowl, all lost: the 1974 Minnesota Vikings, 1987 Denver Broncos and 1991-93 Buffalo Bills.
The 49ers and Broncos last met in a meaningful game on Halloween 2010, when the 49ers won 24-16 in London. The 49ers lead the all-time series 7-6.
Manning shredded the 49ers' defense in a 2012 exhibition, going 10-of-12 for 122 yards and two touchdowns in an eventual 29-24 win by the 49ers. In regular-season action, Manning faced the 49ers three times with the Colts, losing in 2001 before winning in 2005 and 2009 while throwing two touchdown passes and three interceptions in those three games combined.