Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

49ers begin their playoff run against an old rival

Jan 12, 2022 at 11:43 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys will begin a new chapter of their historic playoff rivalry. The two teams will meet at AT&T Stadium on January 16.

The 49ers and Cowboys could arguably be considered one of the greatest rivalries of all time. It includes over 31 NFL Hall of Famers that either played, coached, or worked in the front office during the time of the rivalry.

Out of the seven times the two teams have met, the winner went on to win the Super Bowl five times. On December 23, 1972, the Cowboys scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of the Divisional round matchup for a 30-28 comeback victory over the 49ers.

Unlike "rivalries" like the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots in the 2000s, the 49ers and Cowboys rivalry was intense and wasn't played up to the team's star quarterbacks. Instead, a solid run game and team defense made the difference in each matchup.

In the 1981 NFC Championship game, 49ers quarterbacks Joe Montana may have thrown for 286 yards and three touchdowns, including "The Catch" by the late, great Dwight Clark, to catapult the 49ers to a 28-27 victory over "America's Team" and the team's Superbowl XVI victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, but he also threw three interceptions and almost gave the game to Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White threw for 176 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Running back Tony Dorsett was the team's workhorse with 22 carries for 91 rushing yards and one touchdown.

In the 1990s, the Dallas Cowboys won Super bowl XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX while beating the 49ers two times in the conference championship games in 1993 and 1994. The 49ers defense did not have an answer for Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith in both games. Smith rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown in a 30-20 victory against the 49ers, and then defeated the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII.

When the two teams met again the following year in the NFC Championship Game, Smith rushed for 88 yards and one touchdown. He had 85 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

With the 49ers not having an answer for the Cowboys' suffocating defense and "The Great Wall of Dallas" offensive line, they lost 38-21 and watched Dallas go on to beat the Bills 30-13 in the Super Bowl.

To make it worse, Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson called the Randy Galloway Sports Show three days before the game and guaranteed a victory over the 49ers.

"We will win the game," Johnson said. "And you can put it in three-inch headlines. We will win the game."

To make matters even worse than that, while Dallas was celebrating on the sidelines, wide receiver Alvin Harper would hype up cornerback Larry Brown and have him say he "owned" Jerry Rice.

With the 49ers dynasty on the line going into the 1994 NFL season, and tired of being embarrassed by the Cowboys, Carmen Policy and Eddie DeBartolo Jr. made a big splash in the NFL Draft by using their two first-round picks on fullback William "Bar None" Floyd and defensive tackle Bryant Young, and a sixth-round pick on linebacker Lee Woodall.

The 49ers signed key free agents, which included stealing linebacker Ken Norton Jr. from the Cowboys and cornerback Deion Sanders, who went on to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The 49ers also made key signings with former Super Bowl MVP defensive end Richard Dent, linebacker Gary Plummer, linebacker/defensive end Ricky Jackson, and wide receiver Ed McCaffrey.

With the key additions on defense, the 49ers still had a rough time beating the Cowboys in the 1994 NFC Championship Game, 38-28, on their way to a 49-26 rout of the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIV.

Sunday's Wild-Card game could be the start of a new rivalry between the two franchises, with the loser watching the winner moving on to play for a chance at the Super Bowl.

Since the last time the two teams met, Dallas has not had any luck in the playoffs after winning Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have a 4-10 record, and San Francisco would make five NFC Conference Championship Games while winning two. However, the 49ers lost both of their last two Super Bowl appearances.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Cowboys currently lead the playoff series over the 49ers 5-2.
  • Written by:
    Sports has been my first love since I was 12 years old. At one point I wanted to play football professionally. I started to take photography as a hobby in my teenage years but this was when I followed sports. I started to listen to sports radio, I found my true calling and it was to be a sports talk show host. Though I follow football and basketball, I started to have a new love of cultures around the world. After graduating from San Antonio College in 2018, I worked for the Castroville News Bulletin before going to A&M San Antonio to get my communications degree. Since I have written for the Ranger of San Antonio College, the News Bulletin and the Mesquite of Texas A&M San Antonio, I met many people and went to a lot of events. My major milestone was being in the press box of the San Antonio Commanders game for the Mesquite and being apart of a press conference with the Medina County Sheriff and other local news outlets. When I am not doing anything, I like to watch old cartoons on the DC Universe, play video games such as Mega Man and the Mass Effect series. I have also created Youtube channel called "Anger Management" with my friend Aaron Donnell.

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