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Two 49ers rivalries from the 1980s listed in CBS Sports’ top-5 list

Jul 1, 2020 at 8:09 AM--

Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports decided to look back at the 1980s and identify his top-five rivalries of that decade. There are several to choose from, which might make such a subjective list challenging to create. The San Francisco 49ers were represented within the ranking, not once, but twice.

Sitting at No. 5 was the rivalry between the 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings. DeArdo lists the best game of the decade between the two teams as the October 30, 1988 matchup that saw the 49ers beat the Vikings 24-21.

San Francisco owned a 5-3 regular-season record against Minnesota during the 80s, winning during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. The Vikings went on to win three straight (1985, 1986, 1987) before that 1988 game. That includes a 36-24 victory in the playoffs during the 1987 season.

"The loss nearly led to the retirement of 49ers head coach Bill Walsh," writes DeArdo, "who called the defeat the most difficult one of his career. During the game, the 49ers benched Joe Montana in favor of Steve Young, which led to a highly publicized quarterback controversy that continued well into the 1988 season."

The 49ers followed the 1988 regular-season win with two Divisional Round playoff wins, both of which were precursors to Super Bowl championships.

Click here to view the results from the entire history between the 49ers and Vikings.

Then you have the 49ers and Giants, which came in at No. 1 on DeArdo's list. San Francisco owned an 8-3 regular-season record against New York but was 2-2 against the East Coast squad in postseason play.

The CBS Sports writer lists two games as the best between the set of franchises. The first was a 21-17 Giants win on December 1, 1986, and the second was a 20-17 49ers win on September 11, 1988.

That 1986 meeting in Week 13 saw the Giants score 21 unanswered points after the 49ers jumped to a 17-0 lead.

"One month later, in the divisional round of the '86 playoffs, Jim Burt's devastating hit on Joe Montana not only knocked Montana out of the game. It set the tempo for New York's 49-3 blowout win over the 49ers," wrote DeArdo.

Starting in 1984, the 49ers and Giants met each season — whether it was during the regular season or playoffs — for the remainder of the decade. San Francisco lost three straight, including two playoff games, in 1985 and 1986. The 49ers finished the decade strong with three consecutive wins against the Giants, including the second game from DeArdo's best head-to-head matchups between the two clubs.

"With Steve Young making his first start as a 49er, San Francisco's offense managed to score just 10 points during the game's first 30 minutes," wrote DeArdo. "With the 49ers trailing 17-13 with 58 seconds left, and Joe Montana in the game in relief of Young, head coach Bill Walsh called '76 All Go,' a play Walsh installed in practice earlier in the week specifically for the Giants. The play worked to perfection, as Montana lofted the ball down the near sideline to Jerry Rice, who beat two Giants defenders on his way to a 78-yard touchdown. The win helped set in motion the 49ers' second wave of Super Bowl success, as San Francisco closed out the decade with victories in Super Bowls XXIII and XXIV."

Click here to view the results from the entire history between the 49ers and Giants.

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