Cowboys and 49ers Playoffs Rivalry Renewed

Cowboys 49ers Rivalry

The Cowboys and 49ers playoff rivalry is a well-documented one. Following two dominating Wild Card victories, both teams are firing on all cylinders. The Dallas Cowboys visit the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round on Sunday, renewing the historic playoff rivalry between these NFC blue-bloods.

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Cowboys, 49ers, Playoff Rivalry Set For Another Chapter

History of the Rivalry

Dallas has an all-time postseason edge over the 49ers 5-3. The rivalry has had some incredibly historical games with some of football’s biggest names leading the way for their respective squads. The postseason rivalry began in 1970 as the Cowboys won 17-10 setting up what would become one of the best rivalries in sports.

1972 NFC Divisional Round: “Captain Comeback”

In 1972 Roger Staubach completed a legendary comeback against the 49ers. Staubach was unable to start the game, sidelined since early on in the season with a separated shoulder. In the divisional round, the 49ers opened up the game by taking a 21-13 halftime lead. The Cowboys were hanging around but not in a position to win the game. San Francisco added to its lead with another touchdown swelling the lead to 28-13 in the fourth quarter.

Tom Landry made a bold decision to bring Staubach into the game. After a quick field goal, the lead was 28-16 with ten minutes left in regulation. The game dwindled into the closing minutes as Staubach threw a touchdown pass with 1:20 to play shrinking the lead to 28-23. The Cowboys pulled off the impossible recovering an onside kick to set up the game-winning drive. Staubach found Ron Sellers with 52 seconds to win the game 30-28. Dallas would go on to dominate the NFC until the 1980’s when Joe Montana and company completed a legendary comeback victory of their own.

1981 NFC Championship: The Catch

“The Catch,” is widely accepted as one of the most iconic plays in the history of football. This game featured Joe Montana and the 49ers against the Cowboys who had dominated the NFC. Dallas led practically the entire game, including a late 27-21 lead with 4:54 left in the game.

Montana and the 49ers had all three timeouts and the ball on their own 11-yard line with under five minutes to play. The 49ers would march down the field methodically to the Dallas six-yard line. Montana called “Change Left Slot Sprint Right Option,” and took the snap. The play was a designed pick or rub play that was botched from the start after Freddie Soloman lost his footing. With Ed “Too Tall,” Jones bearing down on Montana, Dwight Clarke flashed in the back of the endzone. Montana evaded Jones with a pump fake before finding Clarke’s outstretched fingers for the game-winner.

Dallas vs. San Francisco in the Early ’90s

Dallas and San Francisco could not avoid each other in the early ’90s. This rivalry spanned three consecutive seasons. The rivalry featured all-time greats like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin for the Cowboys, and Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the 49ers. The Cowboys would add to their postseason dominance by beating the 49ers in both 1992 and 1993. The 49ers would take back control of the NFC by beating Dallas in 1994.

This era was huge for both franchises as Dallas would go on to win the Superbowl in both 1992 and 1993 after sending their postseason rival packing. In 1994 the 49ers returned the favor and went on to win the Superbowl themselves. With hall-of-fame players littering the field, this was truly one of the greatest eras in the NFL.

2022 Wild Card Round

Over 20 years later the Cowboys and 49ers would finally meet in the playoffs again last season. The Cowboys were rolling in 2021 leading into the 2022 playoffs. Dallas considered themselves lucky to host the Wildcard round and San Francisco.

San Francisco was able to have their way with Dallas rushing for two touchdowns, one from Elijah Mitchell and another from Deebo Samuel. The 49ers jumped out to an early lead and carried that momentum into a 23-7 lead going into the fourth quarter. The cowboys found an offensive spark late before running out of gas and losing the game 23-17.

2023 Divisional Round

Dallas will have to capitalize on San Francisco’s rookie quarterback if they want to avoid another playoff loss. The Cowboys are long overdue for a deep playoff run and have the team to make that happen this postseason. San Francisco has a ridiculously talented football team but is led by a rookie. Brock Purdy aka Mr. Irrelevant has played great so far in his rookie campaign. If Dallas wants to advance to the NFC Championship Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs both need to come up big with quarterback pressure, sacks, and turnovers, and make life difficult for the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft.