The NFL may lack a universal rivalry that excites the entire nation, such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics in the NBA or the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in Major League Baseball, but it does have the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.
Going back to the 1970s, these two franchises have met in the playoffs eight times, with the Cowboys holding a 5-3 edge, although San Francisco won the last two matchups, with the latest tilt coming a year ago in the Wild Card round.
Now, the two teams will face off once again, this time in the Divisional round at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday.
The rivalry has its share of memorable moments, especially when the 49ers have emerged victorious.
Who could forget “The Catch” by Dwight Clark in the 1981 NFC Championship Game that put them ahead 28-27 and propelled them to their first-ever appearance in the Super Bowl?
On this day in 1982:
— NFL Legacy (@NFLLegacy) January 10, 2019
At the time, they were led by a then-unproven third-year quarterback named Joe Montana who was only in his first year as a starter and hadn’t yet proven he could raise his game under high pressure.
But it was the first step towards Montana proving he had red and gold ice water flowing through his veins.
Then came the 1994 NFC title game, when the Niners avenged back-to-back losses the previous two years to Dallas by routing them, 38-28.
When in doubt, just throw it deep to @JerryRice 🐐
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) May 15, 2020
They went on to win their fifth Super Bowl, but it was the first for Steve Young, who had recently replaced Montana under center and had to deal with many naysayers who claimed he couldn’t win big games.
This time, both teams will feature star-studded casts on both sides of the ball, and a trip to the NFC Championship Game will be at stake.
It may not be the consensus best rivalry in the NFL, but it could very well be the stage for another unforgettable moment for either team, so get your snacks ready and brace yourselves for what could be a thrilling afternoon.