Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports


Players ‘pumped’ for 49ers-Cowboys, but know nothing of the rivalry, says Kyle Shanahan

Jan 10, 2022 at 4:34 PM--


It's hard to believe it's been 27 years since the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys met in the playoffs. The rivalry between the two teams used to be among the NFL's best.

San Francisco and Dallas will finally meet again in the postseason on Sunday when the Cowboys host the 49ers in the Wild-Card round. For players, though, it's just another opponent. Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters on Monday and was asked if his players understand what this rivalry means to fans.

"Not at all," Shanahan responded before laughing. "I wish I could say, 'yes,' but some of these players were born in the 2000s. So, you'd like to think so, but every day, in the quarterback room, when I ask certain questions like in Wedding Crashers and stuff, and they don't even know that sometimes.

"I'm very surprised at the difference in some of this stuff, but our guys know how big of a deal the playoffs are, and our guys are pumped for this game, no matter who we're playing."

Shanahan, however, knows all about the rivalry. His father, Mike Shanahan, was a part of it, serving as the 49ers' offensive coordinator the last time the two teams met in the playoffs.

"I think that's as cool as it gets because that was the coolest part of my childhood, growing up, I feel like," Shanahan said. "My senior year in high school, my dad was with the Broncos, and they were able to beat the Packers in the Super Bowl, which was unbelievable. But before that, it was seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade, '92, '93, '94. Every single year, I thought we were the best team in the league.

"I think it was 14-2. Steve Young wins the championship, and we played Dallas, who I think was 10-6 or 11-5. And I remember being on that sideline just watching how good the Cowboys were, and it was unbelievable.

"And the next year, going to Dallas for the home-field advantage. You all know what happened there. That one wasn't even close. And then the third year, in free agency, they got Ken Norton. They added Deion [Sanders] in Week 3. And then to have that game at home where Eric Davis started it off, I think, with a pick-six. They had Deion following around Alvin Harper because he had hurt the Niners in those two years previously.

"Michael Irvin went off, but they limited Alvin Harper, which was good, and Eric Davis made those plays. They made a little comeback at the end. I think there was a fumble on the opening kickoff or something. But as you can tell, those games, I still remember them, and I've never watched them. Those are just a part of my childhood that was such cool football because everyone knew those three NFC championships those three years were the Super Bowl."

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