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49ers Vs. Steelers: That 'Playoff' Feel

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The San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers square off in three hours at Candlestick in a game that should have a great, playoff-like atmosphere. Both teams are going to the playoffs, but both have a lot to play for in these closing weeks. The 49ers need a win to maintain their tiebreaker edge on the New Orleans Saints. The Steelers need a win to take a one game lead on the Baltimore Ravens and put themselves in a position for the number one overall seed in the AFC.

This game is a rarity in that it features two great records meeting up this late in the season. In this 42nd season of Monday Night Football, this is only the fourth time two teams with 10 or more wins and a .750 or better winning percentage have met on Monday Night Football. Fittingly enough, all three prior games included the San Francisco 49ers. Even better? The 49ers claimed all three games.

Date Team W-L (Win Pct.) Team W-L (Win Pct.) Outcome
12/14/1987 San Francisco 10-2 (.833) Chicago 10-2 (.833) SF def. Chicago, 41-0
12/03/1990 San Francisco 10-1 (.909) N.Y. Giants 10-1 (.909) SF def. N.Y. Giants, 7-3
12/15/1997 San Francisco 12-2 (.857) Denver 11-3 (.786) SF def. Denver, 34-17
12/19/2011 San Francisco 10-3 (.769) Pittsburgh 10-3 (.769) ?

It is also worth noting that this is the 34th Monday Night Football contest at Candlestick Park, which is more than any other stadium in the NFL. I've got to think the 49ers will be able to pad that number a little bit next season with the huge matchups on the schedule.

While this is not a do or die game like an actual playoff game, the 49ers will hopefully treat it as such in their bid for better playoff positioning. It should be an incredibly raucous crowd, although there will be a good number of Steelers fans mixed in. The Steelers have a fairly national fan base and when I was walking through Union Square earlier today I saw plenty of folks with their "Only Mildly Annoying Towels." Hopefully this will not be like the Cowboys game where a bunch of Cowboys fans (I'm sure they've been fans FOREVER!) flooded Candlestick. We'll get a good idea of it when they show crowd shots since Steelers fans love their yellow towels.