I know this is before many of you Zoners were probably born but the very first year I began following the Niners was 1970. I was 11 years old. The team had just won their first division championship and then beat the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings on the road in icy conditions in the first playoff game. They then faced Dallas in the very first NFC Championship Game (held at Kezar Stadium...the last NFL game ever played there).
The game last night reminded me very much of that Dallas game. Dallas seemingly got every break that day, including a critical non-call on an obvious pass interference penalty on a 4th down which essentially ended the game and another non PI call in the end zone that would have given the Niners a first down at the one yard line. Even aside from those plays, there were several others that didn't go their way, including a play where a wide-open 49er RB lost a sure TD pass in the sun. The final score was 17-10. Up until that point, Dallas was a team that "couldn't win the big one"....but they just seemed destined or fated to win that day...
That one hurt so badly because the Niners were truly a great team that year. They were the best team in the league that year on offense, led by QB John Brodie and WR Gene Washington. Their defense had 2 HOFers on it (CB Jimmy Johnson and LB Dave Wilcox) and a seriously talented DL led by Cedric Hardman (a rookie sack artist very much like Aldon Smith), Tommy Hart, and Earl Edwards. If they had won that Dallas game, they would have won it all because the Colts (the champ that year) were flawed, especially on offense. It just wasn't in the cards though.
For all of the success that this franchise has had over the years, it has also had more than its share of heart-wrenching, luckless defeats as well.
The 49ers lost a playoff game at Kezar in 1957 after leading at halftime 24-7. If they had won that day (and they were loaded that year with exceptional talent), they would have played for the NFL Championship.
...and please....no one can tell me that 1990 Giants team was better than the Niners that year. The play on which Joe Montana was hurt in that game was a cheap shot by a Giant DLman (a type of tackle that used to be called "spearing"). Had Joe had perhaps a half second longer to throw, he would have hit a wide open Jerry Rice down the near sideline and the Niners probably score....or come close anyway....and game over. Roger Craig (God bless him) rarely
fumbled in those days, particularly in the playoffs)... Just wasn't meant to be.
The '91 team won 6 straight games to end the season with Steve Bono at QB (because both Young and Montana were hurt), and were widely thought of as the best team in the league at the end of the year....but they didn't even make the playoffs because they lost a game in Atlanta early in the season on a joke of a Hail Mary pass play in which 3 Atlanta receivers were 3-5 yards offside when the ball was snapped and there was no call.
The '83, '87, '92 and '98 teams have already been mentioned and those playoff losses were particularly painful.
Let's just hope that this loss just makes this team very pissed off
....and gives them the juice necessary to take out the whole league next season...
[ Edited by nw9erfan on Jan 23, 2012 at 10:02 PM ]